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Palaeontology

Mass extinction triggered age of the dinosaurs

By T.K. Randall
April 16, 2018 · Comment icon 19 comments

An extinction event helped the dinosaurs to thrive. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Gerhard Boeggemann
A new study has revealed that a devastating event may have been responsible for the dinosaurs' dominance.
The extinction of the dinosaurs during a mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous has been common knowledge for years, but what is not quite so well understand is the series of events that brought about their dominance of our planet in the first place.

Now in a new paper, scientists have outlined how the key expansion of the dinosaurs may have been triggered by a mass extinction event that devastated life on Earth around 232 million years ago.

Known as the Carnian Pluvial Episode, the event saw massive volcanic eruptions bring about prolonged periods of global warming while deadly acid rain fell from the ash-choked skies.
When the dust finally settled, the way was clear for the dinosaurs to dominate the Earth.

"The discovery of the existence of a link between the first diversification of dinosaurs and a global mass extinction is important," said Professor Mike Benton from the University of Bristol.

"The extinction didn't just clear the way for the age of the dinosaurs, but also for the origins of many modern groups, including lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and mammals - key land animals today."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (19)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by jaylemurph 6 years ago
Look up Ediacaran Biota ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ediacaran_biota ) and then get freaked out by the fact Lovecraft seems to have been on to something nobody found out about til a few decades after he died. --Jaylemurph
Comment icon #11 Posted by Not A Rockstar 6 years ago
No surprise to me, I think of some of our great sci fi writers as the prophets of our times   Ray Bradbury used to transfix me with some of his tales.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Carnoferox 6 years ago
You referring to Postosuchus? If so, it was indeed a terrifying creature.
Comment icon #13 Posted by UFO_Monster 6 years ago
Extinctions typically lead to a massive loss of life, and opens the door for new species anyway. Doesn't really surprise me.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Tatetopa 6 years ago
One of my all time favorites is Tullimonstrum from Pennsylvanian era.  A perfect candidate for the Loch Ness monster if they were about 20 times bigger: worm like body, weird neck/proboscis, aquatic, no need to surface to breathe. Read a couple of accounts of knights killing wurms, sounds like a big tulimomstrum.  Just a little too little and too early.  Now surmised to be a lamprey kin.  And me a little too late.  Somebody wrote a book about it already.  Well, still the state fossil of Pennsylvania, not bad for a 300 year old jawless fish.  
Comment icon #15 Posted by Carnoferox 6 years ago
The vertebrate identity for Tullimonstrum has recently been questioned (see Sallan et al. 2017), so its affinities remain enigmatic as ever. It's just another one of the many Paleozoic oddities.
Comment icon #16 Posted by MissJatti 6 years ago
Dinosaurus had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Seeing that an asteroid "just missed" the Earth with very little advanced warning, we may be on borrowed time.  So as Waspie's new picture tag says - Don't Worry.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Essan 6 years ago
Aye, but for an accident of circumstance, life on Earth could have evolved into perfectly normal creatures, rather than the utterly bizzare and unique monstrosities we have with 4 limbs and mouths in the heads! 
Comment icon #19 Posted by Tatetopa 6 years ago
Sorry 300 million year old I meant to say.  


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