Dinosaurs did NOT go out with a bang! Ancient creatures were already in decline when the asteroid hit 66 million years ago – and went extinct ‘with a whimper’, study claims 

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  • Scientists studied eggs and eggshells of more than 1,000 dinosaurs in China
  • 1,000 specimens representing just three species of dinosaur
  • This suggests dinosaur diversity was declining even before the asteroid hit

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They are often depicted as going out with a ‘bang’ after a massive asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago.

But a new study suggests dinosaurs went out with a ‘whisper’.

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Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied the eggs and eggshells of more than 1,000 fossil dinosaurs, and claimed that the animals were already in decline when the asteroid struck – possibly as a result of climate change.

‘Our results support a long-term decline in global dinosaur biodiversity about 66 million years ago, possibly setting the stage for the end-Cretaceous nonavian dinosaur mass extinction,’ the team wrote in their study. PNAS,

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They are often depicted as going out with a ‘bang’ after a massive asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago. But a new study suggests dinosaurs turned out to be more of a ‘whisper’ than a bang

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied more than 1,000 fossil dinosaur eggs and eggshells, and claimed that the animals were already in decline when the asteroid struck.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied more than 1,000 fossil dinosaur eggs and eggshells, and claimed that the animals were already in decline when the asteroid struck.

Dinosaurs ruled and ruled the earth until about 66 million years ago.

A six-mile-wide asteroid named Chicxulub slammed into what is now Mexico, triggering a mass extinction that killed more than 75 percent of Earth’s species.

While previous studies have shown that a wide range of dinosaurs were on Earth just before the arrival of the asteroid, it is still unclear whether they were in their prime, or were already in decline.

Most of the data on the last days of dinosaurs comes from North America, but for this study, the researchers turned to records in China.

The team studied more than 1,000 fossil dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the Shenyang Basin in central China.  These fossils came from rock sequences, which the researchers were able to age using computer modeling

The team studied more than 1,000 fossil dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the Shenyang Basin in central China. These fossils came from rock sequences, which the researchers were able to age using computer modeling

Their findings indicate that dinosaur diversity declined over a two-million-year period, with 1,000 egg fossils belonging to just three species – Macrolithus yaotunensis, Elongtulithus elongatus, and Stromatolithus pinglingensis.

Their findings indicate that dinosaur diversity declined over a two-million-year period, with 1,000 egg fossils belonging to just three species – Macrolithus yaotunensis, Elongtulithus elongatus, and Stromatolithus pinglingensis.

The team studied more than 1,000 fossil dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the Shenyang Basin in central China.

These fossils came from rock sequences, which the researchers were able to age using computer modeling.

This allowed them to create a timeline of about two million years at the end of the Cretaceous—the period just before the extinction—that could be compared to data from around the world.

Their findings indicate that dinosaur diversity declined over a two-million-year period, with more than 1,000 egg fossils belonging to only three species – Macrolithus yaotunensis, Elongatolithus elongatus, and Stromatolithus pinglingensis.

Although the reason for this decline to the asteroid is unclear, researchers have several theories.

Although the reason for this decline to the asteroid is unclear, researchers have several theories.

The team studied more than 1,000 fossilized dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the Shenyang Basin in central China

The team studied more than 1,000 fossilized dinosaur eggs and eggshells from the Shenyang Basin in central China

Bones of some other dinosaurs have been found in this area, which suggests that tyrannosaurs and sauropods also lived in this area between 66.4 and 68.2 million years ago.

“The low dinosaur numbers in the Shenyang Basin and central China are far from the world depicted in Jurassic Park,” the team said in a statement.

Although the reason for this decline to the asteroid is unclear, researchers have several theories.

‘Worldwide, the long-term decline in dinosaur diversity by the end of the Cretaceous period and the continued low numbers of dinosaur lineages over the past few million years may have resulted from known global climate fluctuations and large-scale volcanic eruptions, i.e. the Deccan Traps. in India,’ he suggests.

‘These factors may have led to ecosystem-wide instability, thus leaving non-avian dinosaurs more vulnerable to mass extinctions, coinciding with the asteroid impact.’

How did the dinosaurs become extinct about 66 million years ago?

Dinosaurs ruled and dominated the Earth about 66 million years ago, before suddenly becoming extinct.

The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event is the name given to this mass extinction.

For many years it was believed that the changing climate destroyed the food chain of the giant reptiles.

In the 1980s, paleontologists discovered a layer of iridium.

It is an element that is rare on Earth but is found in huge quantities in space.

When it was dated, it coincided with the exact time the dinosaurs disappeared from the fossil record.

A decade later, scientists uncovered the massive Chicxulub crater at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, dating to that period.

Scientific consensus now says that these two factors are linked and that they were both probably caused by the crash of a giant asteroid on Earth.

With the estimated size and impact velocity, the collision could have triggered a massive shock-wave and potentially seismic activity.

The result would have created piles of ash that probably covered the entire planet and made it impossible for the dinosaurs to survive.

Other animal and plant species had shorter time-spans between generations which allowed them to survive.

There are many other theories about the cause of the famous animals’ demise.

One early theory was that small mammals ate dinosaur eggs, and another proposes that poisonous angiosperms (flowering plants) killed them.

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Credit: www.dailymail.co.uk /

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