A new study has revealed shocking details about the extinction of dinosaurs, and it doesn’t point to an asteroid.
The reason behind the extinction of dinosaurs has always been attributed to a massive asteroid attack about 66 million years ago. But is it the whole truth? This latest study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) contradicts the long-believed asteroid theory! It suggests dinosaurs were already on their way even before that fateful event of an asteroid impact. In fact, the asteroid’s impact only accelerated the process that was already underway. Proof? Fossil eggs from China suggest that dinosaur numbers and diversity were already declining.
According to the ancient theory behind the extinction of dinosaurs, all non-avian dinosaurs were killed by the explosion itself or by the acid rain and darkness, which lasted for decades. The impact of the giant asteroid had released an energy equivalent to 10 billion atomic bombs. The disappearance of Earth’s non-avian dinosaurs gave way to the emergence of mammals as the dominant animal group on Earth, the report suggested. However, the debate is still ongoing, whether or not the biodiversity of non-avian dinosaurs declined before the end of the Cretaceous mass extinction remains controversial.
Dinosaur Egg Fossils That Tell a Story
Researchers collected more than 1,000 dinosaur eggshell samples from a 150-m-thick stratigraphically continuous fossil-rich array in central China’s Shanyang Basin, one of the most abundant dinosaur regions of the late Cretaceous series. The researchers analyzed more than 5,500 rock samples using computer modeling to accurately date them.
The study revealed a decline in dinosaur diversity in the region, and about 1,000 dinosaur egg fossils came from three main species: Macroolithus yaotunensis, Elongatoolithus elongatus and Stromatoolithus pinglingensis. The fossils also showed that large, long-necked dinosaurs lived in the same era about 66.4 and 68.2 million years ago.
Therefore, the low number of dinosaur species over the past few million years is expected to be the result of global climate fluctuations and massive volcanic eruptions. “The catastrophic events in the late Cretaceous, such as the Deccan Traps and bolide impact, likely had an effect on an already fragile ecosystem and led to the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs,” the study said.