Researchers have a new guess about the cause of dinosaurs dying. The dinosaurs’ lives suddenly came to an end – this has long been considered unequivocal in science.
There is also knowledge about the cause of their death. An asteroid impact on Earth is deemed to be likely.
Researchers have a new guess as to what caused the dinosaurs to die. Wasn’t it an asteroid?
Researchers have a new guess as to what causes dinosaurs to die. The dinosaurs were washed out 66 million years ago. Science is sure: A massive impact by an asteroid, which the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan still indicates, is to blame.
But a new study by researchers Amir Siraj and Abraham Loeb from Harvard University, the results of which were written in the scientific journal “Scientific Reports”, shows that the real reason could be elsewhere: a long-period comet could have wiped out the life of the dinosaurs.
But a sufficiently large comet only hits Earth every 3.8 billion years. Jupiter can significantly increase the probability of a comet hit. “It hurls the comets flying in from the Oort cloud in trajectories that bring them very close to the sun,” explains Siray. The confluence of heat and strong tidal forces can cause these chunks of ice and rock to break.
A model simulation carried out by the researchers revealed that large, long-period comets in the sun’s vicinity are particularly at risk. Because their consistency often resembles icy lumps of debris that are only held together by gravity. About 20 per cent of these vast chunks break into several pieces, some of which can come very close to Earth.
The time of impact matches the time of the dinosaur’s death.
There could be a Chicxulub-like impact every 250 to 730 million years. Loeb says: “Our study thus provides the basis for an explanation of the Chicxulub event.”
“Because if you break such a comet near the sun, the type of impact that killed the dinosaurs can come out,” writes Scientific Reports. However, this new knowledge about dinosaur death does not seem confident either.