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History of B.C.

Extinction of the Dinosaurs

Extinction of the Dinosaurs

The opening of the Atlantic Ocean continued to occur further south, while the continents continued to break apart. The earth was beginning to resemble our world at the present time. The dinosaurs developed into the most advanced plant-eaters and the largest meat-eaters. It was also during this period that the first marsupial mammals appear in North and South America. Towards the end of the Cretaceous, the first flowering plants came to exist, which then led to insects having to evolve to be able to pollinate.

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The Cretaceous period ended with the extinction of all dinosaurs, around 65 million years ago. After ruling the land of Earth for 160 million years, the dinosaurs didn't immediately disappear. However, it may have taken eight million years for them to be completely wiped out. Scientists have narrowed the cause of the mass extinction to three possibilities, which evidence is balanced between.

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The first includes a huge meteorite crashing into Earth, sending dust particles into the atmosphere, which in turn blocked out the sun and created months, even years, of cold periods. Without the sunlight, vegetation would have died, killing the omnivores in turn. Without omnivores to feed off of, the carnivores died also.

The second theory is that the dinosaurs were victims of a gradual decrease in temperature, which led to cold period also. These cold periods favored mammals, which had developed hair or fur on their bodies that kept them warm.

The third theory comes from observations in rocks of late Cretaceous age in India. These rocks suggest that there were enormous volcanic eruptions that spewed forth millions of cubic kilometers of lava onto the Earth's surface. This change in climate would have been enough to force various animal groups into extinction.


History of B.C.

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