We all know that the domain of dinosaurs, one of the most intriguing species that hosts our planet, came to an end with a massive impact of asteroids about 65 million years ago. The event triggered a series of changes that eliminated almost 75% of life on the planet.
Although several studies explained how dinosaurs lived and prospered before entering death, the origin of different species of dinosaurs has always been a mystery, mainly due to insufficient scientific evidence. We know that the first dinosaurs came to be about 245 million years ago, but how did these inhabitants of the earth diversify and wander the world in the following years?
The answer could be linked to another massive extinction event, which disrupted life on the planet, and cleared the way for dinosaurs to thrive, suggests an international team of scientists.
Nearly 232 million years ago, massive volcanic eruptions occurred in western Canada, which caused bursts of global warming, acid rain and annihilated a large part of life on land and in the oceans. Now, scientists say that this particular event, known as Carnian's Pluvial Episode, allowed dinosaurs, which were rare before then, to diversify and ascend to the top.
"The discovery of the existence of a link between the first diversification" The extinction not only cleared the way for the age of the dinosaurs, but also for the origins of many modern groups, including the dinosaurs and the global mass extinction " said study co-author Mike Benton in a statement: lizards, crocodiles, turtles and mammals: key land animals today. "
Benton and his team postulated this theory after studying the dinosaur footprints taken from the rock sequences of the Dolomite mountain range in northern Italy. The group did not find small impressions in some samples, but then the number exploded in others. By citing the sequences of rocks in question, they could determine that the explosion period coincided perfectly with the Carnian Storm Episode, when climate change was too drastic for other animal species.
"We detected evidence of climate change in the Dolomites," said Piero Gianolla, another author of the study, in the statement: "There were four pulses of warming and climatic disturbance, all within a million years or so. have led to repeated extinctions. "
Having said that, it is also worth noting that Dolomite was not the only place to support this theory. The group, led by Massimo Bernardi of the School of Earth Sciences in Bristol, UK, also found evidence of population explosion almost simultaneously in Argentina and Brazil, countries where the first large dinosaur skeletons were found.
"We were excited for" We were studying the footprints in the Dolomites for some time, and it's amazing how clear it was the change from 'not dinosaurs'. "All dinosaurs".
The study, entitled "Dinosaur diversification linked to the Carnian pluvial episode", was published on April 16 in the journal Nature Communications.