How the Dinosaurs Actually Went Extinct | Summary and Q&A

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August 16, 2014
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How the Dinosaurs Actually Went Extinct

TL;DR

The extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago was likely caused by a combination of factors, including a massive asteroid impact, volcanic activity, and changes in the Earth's crust.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What evidence supports the theory of an asteroid impact causing the extinction of dinosaurs?

The discovery of high levels of iridium in clay deposits, shocked quartz, and tektites provide evidence of a massive impact. Additionally, the presence of a giant crater off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula supports the theory.

Q: Were there other factors involved in the dinosaur extinction?

Yes, in addition to the asteroid impact, volcanic activity and changes in the Earth's crust played a role. The Deccan Traps volcanic eruptions in India caused climate changes and contributed to the extinction.

Q: How did changes in climate affect the dinosaurs?

The abrupt cooling of the climate, likely caused by volcanic activity, made it difficult for dinosaurs to adapt. Their large size and competition for resources may have also contributed to their downfall.

Q: How did changes in the Earth's crust affect marine life?

The stagnation of rifts in the Earth's crust led to marine regression, causing the disappearance of inland seas and significant changes in ocean depth and temperature. This, along with oxygen-poor dead zones, resulted in the extinction of marine life.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • A giant asteroid impact 66 million years ago caused significant damage to the Earth, leading to the extinction of 50% of species, including the dinosaurs.

  • The impact created a cloud of ash and dust that blocked the sun for decades, resulting in a cold climate and acid rain.

  • The theory of an asteroid impact is supported by the discovery of iridium-rich clay deposits, shocked quartz, and tektites.

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