I think we can all agree that Dinosaurs never got a fair shake. We would be riding on giant lizards and keeping T-Rexes as pets if it wasn’t for a giant meteorite. As it turns out, the dinosaurs were far more unlucky than we ever gave them credit for.
Recent research coming out of the University of Washington found evidence of a second mass extinction event that took place before the meteorite hit. The precursor to the meteorite wasn’t an outright cataclysm, but it helped set up the right conditions which led to the eventual extinction of dinosaurs.
Thomas Tobin of the University of Washington in Seattle has found evidence for a second extinction event. The cause was massive volcanic eruptions that hit India about 150,000 years before the meteorite hit. The eruptions were so numerous that it caused the temperature in the environment to rapidly shoot up. Scientists suggest that the rise in temperature was too much for our scaly friends to take which led to their downfall. Add on to that a massive impact from a meteorite and you have a recipe for disaster.
So what evidence does Tobin have for these claims? It’s all in the geographic record as he has found two layers of rocks. The first layer was made by the dust and rock settling after the massive impact from the meteorite that hit the earth about 65 million years ago. A little below that is another rock layer that contains evidence that volcanic eruptions were frequent and massive.
Tobin’s research, unfortunately, only confirms what happened to water dwelling creatures. He says that the volcanic eruptions would have heated the water to a temperature that would kill most sea life. The impact from the meteorite wiped out those creatures that made their homes in shallow water above the ocean.
With this new evidence in hand, scientists can now see just how lucky we really are. There were multiple events throughout the history of the dinosaurs that seems to have led to their extinction. It wasn’t just one impact and they’re all dead. It almost seems like the earth itself wanted to be rid of them because it knew this would happen:
[h/t: New Scientist]