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Palaeontology

Dino-killing asteroid hit worst possible place

By T.K. Randall
November 9, 2017 · Comment icon 7 comments

If the asteroid had hit elsewhere the dinosaurs may not have been wiped out. Image Credit: NASA
The dinosaurs may not have gone extinct if the asteroid had hit almost anywhere other than where it did.
A new study has revealed just how painfully unlucky the dinosaurs actually were on the basis that the massive asteroid that hit what is now Mexico's Yucatan peninsula 65 million years ago may not have wiped them out if the region hadn't been so rich in hydrocarbons.

In total only 13% of the Earth's surface would have had the potential to cause such a devastating mass extinction in the event of a large asteroid strike.

If it had hit anywhere in the other 87% the dinosaurs might never have died out at all.
The research, which was carried out by Kunio Kaiho and Naga Oshima at Tohoku University in Japan, involved calculating via a simulation how much soot and sulphate would be blasted in to the Earth's atmosphere by an impact at various different locations with varying amount of hydrocarbons.

"This is a fascinating paper that... argues that even given the large size of the impactor, the mass extinction itself was of low probability," said NASA's Paul Chodas.

"We have often remarked on how unlucky this massive impact was for the dinosaurs, and how lucky it was for us, as the top of the mammal family, but now we have a measure of just how unlucky the dinosaurs were and how lucky we were!"

Source: The Guardian | Comments (7)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Parsec 7 years ago
Unlucky dinosaurs or lucky mammals?  After all without their demise we'd probably never took over.   
Comment icon #2 Posted by RAyMO 7 years ago
Perhaps it wasn't a randomly placed strike - perhaps it was a well planned mammalian terraforming  event.
Comment icon #3 Posted by TripGun 7 years ago
A perfectly placed planet percussion purposes premeditated planning.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Maybe we should use up all our oil before another asteroid of that magnitude hits the Saudi or other oil areas.  Then all the asteroid would have left to hit would be the nuclear power plants.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Saitung 7 years ago
I wish I could "like" this TWICE!!!! LOL
Comment icon #6 Posted by MysteryMike 7 years ago
Wasn't there an recent study saying the dinosaurs were already dying out and the asteroid only sped things up, otherwise if missed would of just prolonged the inevitable.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Will Due 7 years ago
An asteroid did not kill off the dinosaurs. They ate themselves to death.       


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