Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

30 seconds was all it took to doom the dinosaurs

30 seconds was all it took to doom the dinosaurs

Scientists have said that if the deadly impact which contributed to the downfall of the dinosaurs had hit Earth 30 seconds earlier or later, then it would have hit ocean, causing much less chaos.

The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event will be the focus of a new BBC show called The Day The Dinosaurs Died.

Garrod spent time on the rig as scientists drilled into and examined the Chicxulub crater underneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Scientists who drilled into the crater found the rock was rich in sulfur compounds.

This blocked out the sun and cooled the planet dramatically - below freezing for a decade - wiping out most life.

According to scientists, whatever dinosaurs weren't immediately killed by the blast of the asteroid died within a week because food in water and on land ran out.

However, had the giant asteroid struck moments earlier or later it might have splashed into deeper waters in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. Alice also treks by horseback across the remote plains of Patagonia, to see if the effects of the asteroid impact could have wiped out dinosaurs across the world - nearly immediately.

Morgan added: "The samples suggest more than 100bn tons of sulfates were thrown into the atmosphere, plus soot from the fires that followed". But the size of the asteroid can not account for wiping out the dinosaurs.

If the asteroid that ultimately wiped out dinosaurs had hit the earth seconds earlier or later they may have survived - and left little opportunity for mammal and human life to thrive.

Spiclypeus skull in the Natural History Museum of Vienna Austria
Spiclypeus skull in the Natural History Museum of Vienna Austria

'Chances are if it wasn't for that asteroid we wouldn't be here today'.

The results of this major study will be revealed in a new BBC documentary called The Night the Dinosaurs Died which will be screened in the United Kingdom tomorrow and is presented by Professors Alice Roberts and Ben Garod.

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago.

The documentary also speculates that the original impact caused immediate death for dinosaurs roaming as far away as New Jersey.

"That asteroid struck Earth in a very unfortunate place", Gulick told The Sunday Times.

As an effect the global surface air temperature decreased by at least 26C, with three to 16 years of subfreezing temperatures and a recovery time longer than 30 years, a recent research paper from Julia Brugger, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, concludes. Such frigid temperatures were enough to wipe out the most life that survived the original impact and its resulting tsunamis, toxic fumes and molten rock that rained from the sky.

But this dark day for the dinosaurs provided an opportunity for mammals and ultimately humans to evolve. Professor Alice Roberts, said half a million years after dinosaurs became extinct, Earth was filled with different kinds of mammals.

Despite all that we know about the dinosaurs, there's still a lot to learn, and today we're discovering more about their disappearance from our fair planet. The asteroid strike made a hole that was 20 miles deep and 120 miles wide.

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