Dinosaurs died out due to incubation period
By T.K. Randall
January 3, 2017 · 14 comments
It took some dinosaurs up to six months to hatch. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Xenophon
A new theory has suggested that the dinosaurs became extinct because they couldn't hatch quickly enough.
The asteroid that struck the Earth at the end of the Cretaceous was unquestionably devastating, but while birds and mammals seemed to flourish after the disaster, the dinosaurs, which had ruled the planet for millions of years, struggled to survive and ultimately went extinct.
Now a new theory has suggested that this may have been because, unlike mammals, the dinosaurs had a particularly long incubation period that made it difficult for them to recover quickly enough.
The idea follows on from a new discovery by scientists at Florida State University and the University of Calgary who found that it is possible to calculate how long a dinosaur took to hatch by analyzing marks on the teeth of embryos and babies.
Using this new technique, the researchers were able to determine that the hatching process may have taken up to six months - an eternity compared to the incubation period of small mammals.
"Some of the greatest riddles about dinosaurs pertain to their embryology, virtually nothing is known," said biological scientist Professor Gregory Erickson.
"We suspect our findings have implications for understanding why dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, whereas amphibians, birds, mammals and other reptiles made it through and prospered."
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