While it is largely acknowledged by scientists, that a large asteroid strike about 66 million years ago is responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs so we human beings could have oil, a team of researchers from Japan's Tohoku University have determined that there was only a 13% chance of the asteroid causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, and an 87% chance that they should have survived the global catastrophe.
The researchers say that if the asteroid had struck virtually anywhere else on Earth other than where the 10 km (6.2 mile) wide rock smashed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico—the dinosaurs would have survived, but probably would not have oil to warm their houses.
You can tell which parts I am adding, right?
|Earth (flattened out) 66 million years ago. That red dot is Utah, but where Mexico is... that's where the Yucatan asteroid strike was.|
In the Yucatan strike, vaporized rock and soot was ejected into the atmosphere in huge amounts, blocking out sunlight, causing a nuclear winter effect, disrupting photosynthesis and triggering the collapse of the food chain.
The Tohoku University researchers have theorized that the severity of the climate changes would vary depending on where the asteroid hit.
For example, if it hit in an area where there is a larger amount of sedimentary organic material, it would have thrown up more soot into the stratosphere, cooling the Earth quicker than if it hit in places with lower hydrocarbon concentrations.
Based on the hydrocarbon-rich rock at the impact site, the test showed that soot thrown into the atmosphere would cool the Earth by eight to 11° C (14 to 20° F) on average, with a drop as drastic as 17° C (31° F) over land and five to 7° C (9 to 13 F) in the seawater, to a depth of 50 m (164 ft).
Also, rainfall over land would have dropped by 70 to 85 percent.
Add it up, and goodbye all life on Earth (maybe).
The Tohoku team then looked at how widespread these hydrocarbon-rich areas would have been at the time. The researchers found that they were mostly marine coastal margins, concentrated along shorelines where algae could deposit more organic matter into the sediment. These areas, the team found, covered just 13 percent of the Earth's surface.
As such, if the asteroid had struck any place other than the 13 percent where there's a hydrocarbon-rich area... IE that 87 percent of the planet, the dinosaurs would more than likely had survived.
The researchers aren't saying that it still wouldn't have been a catastrophic event - it would have been... and yes, many species of life at that time would still have found the news levels of temperature unacceptable for survival...
Who's to say if all of the prey of the carnivores dies, then what's a poor meat eater to do? Die.
The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Andrew "wishes he was a paleontologist" Joseph
PS: At one point in my life - probably like most kids - I wanted to hunt for dinosaurs. But at some point in time in late high school and university, I forgot... and I lost out.
I still buy books on dinosaurs (and space)...