Study settles debate over what wiped out the dinosaurs?
A new study looking at the demise of the dinosaurs may have settled the debate over what caused the mass extinction event millions of years ago. The puzzling mystery has long perplexed scientists and, over the years, two competing camps have emerged. One school of thought suggested that an asteroid strike was responsible for wiping out the iconic creatures, while another hypothesis argued that volcanic activity was to blame. Meanwhile, some pragmatic observers went so far as to propose that perhaps the two events worked in tandem to create the circumstances necessary for such an Earth-shattering event.
The answer to the vexing question may finally have been determined thanks to research which reportedly looked at complex ecological models simulating conditions on the planet following either an asteroid strike or "massive volcanism" as well as both events simultaneously. The study found that the only scenario which could account for such widespread extinction is an asteroid strike as it would have left nearly the entire planet uninhabitable for dinosaurs by way of an "impact winter" lasting for decades, while "effects of the intense volcanic eruptions were not strong enough to substantially disrupt global ecosystems."
Therefore, lead scientist Dr. Alessandro Chiarenza declared,"our study confirms, for the first time quantitatively, that the only plausible explanation for the extinction is the impact winter that eradicated dinosaur habitats worldwide." As for the possibility that a combination of the two suspected culprits could have caused the mass extinction, the researchers actually determined that volcanic activity on the planet probably played a hand in reviving Earth's ecosystem since such events increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses, they said, would have warmed the planet and helped to eventually bring an end to the wintry conditions created by the asteroid impact.