What killed the dinosaurs? Baylor geology researcher part of new study
We’ve all heard that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs. A new study says that’s almost right — but not the complete story.
The research, conducted by an international team that included Baylor geology professor Daniel Peppe, says that the asteroid strike was part of a “perfect storm” of events that proved to be the dinos’ undoing.
Specifically, the scientists say that fossil records indicate the dinosaurs’ food chain had already been weakened by changes in the climate and environment such as increased volcanic activity, changing sea levels and varying temperatures. The asteroid was the straw that broke the raptor’s back, so to speak; had it struck at a different time, dinosaurs might have had a better chance of survival.
“There have been debates within the scientific community as to the cause of the extinction of dinosaurs,” says Dr. Peppe, assistant professor of geology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “Our study synthesized a huge body of literature on the different explanations. Our findings suggest that other factors such as sea level, changes in temperature and lack of species diversity made dinosaurs susceptible to extinction, but were not the cause. The asteroid strike ultimately decimated the dinosaur population and caused their extinction.”
The study, published in the August 2014 issue of the journal Biological Reviews, was immediately covered by media outlets ranging from National Geographic, Nature and Smithsonian to TIME, Forbes and the BBC.
Sic ’em, Dr. Peppe!