Tags: dinosaur | decline

Dinosaur Decline Likely Began Before Asteroid Wiped Them Out

Image: Dinosaur Decline Likely Began Before Asteroid Wiped Them Out
(Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016 09:22 AM

The worldwide population of dinosaurs began declining long before an asteroid wiped them out completely 66 million years ago, according new scientific research.

The dwindling number of dinosaurs may have left them especially ill-equipped to recover from the asteroid catastrophe, which is believed to have blacked out the sun and led to worldwide cooling, making plant resources scare, The Telegraph reported.

The study, published in the most recent issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used a statistical method to map the extinction and emergence of species over time.

“Our results highlight that dinosaurs showed a marked reduction in their ability to replace extinct species with new ones, making them vulnerable to extinction and unable to respond quickly to and recover from the final catastrophic event,” the report stated.

Manabu Sakamoto, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Reading in England, and Chris Venditti, professor of evolutionary biology at the university, authored the study along with Michael Benton of the University of Bristol.

The decline of dinosaurs began 40 million years before the catastrophic asteroid landed where Chicxulub, Mexico, is today, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"There is no doubt that the Chicxulub impact was the final nail in the dinosaurs' coffin — with the exception of birds," the authors told the Times in an email.

"However, we can speculate that if the trajectory of dinosaurs continued as it was at that time, dinosaurs would eventually have become impoverished in terms of species numbers — and may have gone extinct all together."

Factors in the decline could have included global cooling, prolonged volcanic activity and the breaking apart of the continents, the Times noted.

While the possibility of an ongoing decline has been debated, the new report contradicts recent thinking that the dinosaurs remained vital until their catastrophic demise, The Atlantic reported.

The study could have wide-reaching implications for the world today.

“We are putting a lot of pressure on modern species, and extinctions are happening at an unprecedented rate. If some kind of catastrophe occurs, it might be even more damaging than what we’re observing right now,” Sakomoto said.

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The worldwide population of dinosaurs began declining long before an asteroid wiped them out completely 66 million years ago, according new scientific research.
dinosaur, decline
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2016-22-19
Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016 09:22 AM
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