Saturday, May 1, 2010

Deep review concludes that an asteroid impact most likely did wipe out the dinosaurs

asteroid impact dinosaur extinction

Although any T. Rex–enthralled kid will tell you that a gigantic asteroid wiped the dinosaurs off the planet, scientists have always regarded this impact theory as a hypothesis subject to revision based on further evidence gathered from around the globe. Other possible causes, such as volcanism and smaller, multiple asteroid strikes, never actually went away, and over the years researchers raised important points that did not fully jibe with a history-changing celestial impact near the Yucatan peninsula one awful day some 65.5 million years ago.

A group of 41 researchers have pored over the evidence and decided that—in accordance with the original postulate put forth 30 years ago by a team led by father and son researchers Luis and Walter Alvarez—it was, indeed, a massive asteroid that slammed into Earth, creating Chicxulub Crater on Mexico's Gulf Coast, that killed off many of the species on the planet, including the non-avian dinosaurs.

The review, published online March 4 in Science, evaluated the whole picture, according to Kirk Johnson of the Research and Collections Division at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and co-author of the paper. And that meant assessing the other theories that have been put forth about what spelled death for the dinosaurs.

Full article here

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