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Dinosaurs took over amid ice, not warmth, says a new study of ancient mass extinction


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Many of us know the conventional theory of how the dinosaurs died 66 million years ago: in Earth's fiery collision with a meteorite, and a following global winter as dust and debris choked the atmosphere. But there was a previous extinction, far more mysterious and less discussed: the one 202 million years ago, which killed off the big reptiles who up until then ruled the planet, and apparently cleared the way for dinosaurs to take over. What caused the so-called Triassic-Jurassic Extinction, and why did dinosaurs thrive when other creatures died?

We know that the world was generally hot and steamy during the Triassic Period, which preceded the extinction, and during the following Jurassic, which kicked off the age of dinosaurs. However, a new study turns the idea of heat-loving dinosaurs on its head: It presents the first physical evidence that Triassic dinosaur species—then a minor group largely relegated to the polar regions—regularly endured freezing conditions there. The telltale indicators: dinosaur footprints along with odd rock fragments that only could have been deposited by ice. The study's authors say that during the extinction, cold snaps already happening at the poles spread to lower latitudes, killing off the coldblooded reptiles. Dinosaurs, already adapted, survived the evolutionary bottleneck and spread out. The rest is ancient history.

https://phys.org/news/2022-07-dinosaurs-ice-warmth-ancient-mass.html

Arctic ice and the ecological rise of the dinosaurs

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abo6342

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