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How Did the Dinosaurs Really Die?


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How Did the Dinosaurs Really Die?

A New Understanding of How the Dinosaurs Died

You may think the dinosaur extinction was a simple thing. Meteor goes boom, dinosaurs die. Simple as that. And yet, more complicated mechanisms were at work – the impact alone didn’t kill of three quarters of the dinosaurs by itself. Rather, some environmental impacts that the meteor brought forth upon its collision were the driving factor of the extinction. Now, 66 million years later, there are some new theories that threaten to alter our understanding of this long-ago event.

Dust and Dinosaurs?

One relatively uncontested fact about the dinosaur extinction is that it was caused by a global winter, shutting off photosynthesis for around 2 years and contributing to a temperature drop of around 27 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the more contested question is what caused the global winter. For a while, studies were more focused on the impact of sulfur and soot in their search for the culprits of the cooling. However, this new study posits that granite dust particles also caused a large part of the global winter. These particles would have remained in the atmosphere for around 15 years, stopping sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface and assisting in causng the global winter. The asteroid may have been a deadly one, but what really killed 75% of all species was the prevention of photosynthesis and the resultant food web collapse.

More Than an Asteroid?

The traditional view of the dinosaur extinction is that it all happened because of the asteroid. The dinosaurs were just walking around happy one day and the next they were all dead. However, new research suggests that the dinosaurs might not have been having such a swell time even before the asteroid wiped them out. It all started at a place called the Deccan Traps, in India. Doesn’t sound like the kind of place to start doomsday, right? Well, it did. Huge volcanic eruptions at that site released enough sulfur and fluorine to create a global winter 200,000 years before the asteroid. While some dinosaurs managed to survive it, it seems like the Chicxulub asteroid may only have been accessory to murder rather than the murderer itself.

All of this goes to show how we don’t actually understand some events as well as some might think. These theories show a completely different side to the dinosaur extinction, and more groundbreaking realizations may be yet to come.

Works Cited

Hunt, Katie. “Asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs halted a key process for life on Earth, scientists
say.” CNN, 31 Oct. 2023,
asteroid-dust-dinosaur-extinction-photosynthesis-scn/index.html. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023.
Kuta, Sarah. “Dust May Have Triggered the Global Winter That Killed the Dinosaurs.” Smithsonian
Magazine, 31 Oct. 2023,
dust-may-have-triggered-the-global-winter-that-killed-the-dinosaurs-180983165/. Accessed 29
Dec. 2023.
Lagatta, Eric. “Dinosaur extinction: New study suggests they were killed off by more than an
asteroid.” USA Today, 28 Nov. 2023,
dinosaurs-extinction-study-asteroid-meteorite-volcanic-eruptions/71728789007/. Accessed 10 Jan.

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