Asteroid terminated dinosaur era in a matter of days

The cataclysmic extinction of that time was not caused by massive volcanic activity, as another theory has suggested, according to the new analysis, published today in the journal Science.

A panel of 41 experts from Europe, the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Japan analyzed new data from ocean drilling and continental sites and reviewed the research of palaeontologists, geochemists, climate modelers, geophysicists and sedimentologists who have been collecting evidence over the last 20 years to determine the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which happened around 65 million years ago.
"They find that alternative hypotheses are inadequate to explain the abrupt mass extinction and that the impact hypothesis has grown stronger than ever," the University of Texas at Austin said in a news statement.

"Today's review of the evidence shows that the extinction was caused by a massive asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub (pronounced chick- shoo-loob) in Mexico," said Imperial College London, in a separate statement.

Scientists from both institutions participated in the study.

The KT extinction wiped out more than half of all species on the planet, including the dinosaurs, birdlike pterosaurs and large marine reptiles, clearing the way for mammals to become the dominant species on Earth, Imperial College added in its release.


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