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Palaeontology

Dino-killing asteroid also created the Amazon

April 5, 2021 | Comment icon 8 comments



Life would be very different today if this event had not occurred. Image Credit: NASA
A new study has shown that the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs also gave birth to the Amazon rainforest.
The space rock that smashed into the Earth at the end of the Cretaceous some 66 million years ago was undeniably devastating, but without it, life on our planet may have turned out very differently.

Now a new study by Carlos Jaramillo of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and colleagues, has revealed that one of the most important ecosystems that we see today owes its existence to the aftermath of the event that wiped out the majority of life on Earth.

The Amazon rainforest - which covers over 5.5 million square kilometers - had been a very different place before the asteroid struck.

"If you returned to the day before the meteorite fall, the forest would have an open canopy with a lot of ferns, many conifers and dinosaurs," said Jaramillo.
"The forest we have today is the product of one event 66 million years ago."

There are several possible reasons for this change - one being the demise of the large plant-eating dinosaurs that once feasted upon and trampled down the lower levels of the forest.

The ash that fell may have also acted as a kind of fertilizer, helping certain types of plants to thrive.

"We love the way it ended up, this incredibly diverse, really structurally complex forest, but right now, we are living through a mass extinction caused by humans and, again, whole ecosystems are being set on a different path," said Bonnie Jacobs from the Southern Methodist University in Texas.

"In the case of the rainforest, we might like the final product, but all those animals that were alive in the Cretaceous did not."

Source: New Scientist | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jethrofloyd 10 months ago
And rainforests gave birth to apes and humans.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Eldorado 10 months ago
And humans gave birth to the Kardashians.
Comment icon #3 Posted by jethrofloyd 10 months ago
In that case, it would have been better if asteroid had never hit Earth! Kardashians would never exist. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 10 months ago
And the Kardashians gave birth to that chick that put Gorilla Glue in her hair This is a bad trajectory, I don't wanna talk about this anymore 
Comment icon #5 Posted by mesuma 10 months ago
Had she never seen Police Academy?
Comment icon #6 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 10 months ago
Apparently not! 
Comment icon #7 Posted by rashore 10 months ago
Smithsonian article on this: https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/releases/how-chicxulub-impactor-gave-rise-modern-rainforests
Comment icon #8 Posted by Montello 10 months ago
dinosaurs were killed by a change in temperature some say the disease killed them,


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