A new research brings a shocking finding about the asteroid impact which led to the extinction of dinosaurs. It seems that the giant reptiles could have still been around if the asteroid had hit Earth in a different place. The statistic chances that the mass extinction should have happened were of only 13 percent, and yet the impact took place in the wrong spot.
The location of the impact was unlucky
Around 65 million years ago, an asteroid measuring 5.6 miles in diameter struck Earth. The impact took place in the Yucatan Peninsula, in a spot which gave the name of the impact – Chicxulub. Although the object had an impressive size, the chances that it should lead to a mass extinction were quite scarce.
However, the Yucatan Peninsula was an area rich in sulfates and hydrocarbon. When the impact occurred, all these materials reached huge temperatures. This caused them to be released in the atmosphere as aerosols and soot, which blocked the sunlight. Then, Earth started getting colder, plants started withering, and oceans dried out.
The timing was also bad
After the impact, the overall temperature on the planet dropped by 18 degrees Fahrenheit. This greatly disturbed the balance of the ecosystem, which ended in the extinction of 75 percent of the species living on Earth.
Researchers explored different possible outcomes, and decided that the location of the impact was extremely important. Only 13 percent of the entire surface of our planet contains sulfate and hydrocarbon deposits, and the impact happened to take place in such a location.
Also, not only the location was a bad choice. The impact also took place at a bad time. About one million years before the event, herbivorous dinosaurs suffered a sudden decrease in diversity. This made them more vulnerable and easier to wipe out. However, when life began thriving again, it evolve into beautifully diverse and complex species.