An asteroid that killed dinosaurs was “good for bacteria,” says a study
An asteroid that killed dinosaurs and almost destroyed all life on Earth was good for bacteria and made it bloom, according to a study
- An asteroid impact 66 million years ago was enough to ‘stop photosynthesis’
- He killed the dinosaurs and annihilated about 75 percent of all species on Earth
- The researchers found evidence of bacteria at the site of impact shortly after it hit
According to the study, the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and almost annihilated all life on Earth was good for bacteria and made it flourish.
A team of researchers from the University of Curtin in Australia studied the rocks and soil inside the Chicxulub crater left by the asteroid dinosaur killer.
Residues of plants, fungi and microbes were found in the crater samples, probably transported in the waves of a giant tsunami after impact.
Evidence of blue-green algae was found on the dead layer of plans and fungi and probably formed a few years after the initial accident.
This shows the resistance of microorganisms to recover after “abnormally hostile conditions,” according to lead author Bettina Schaefer.
Investigators say the impact caused a tsunami and threw debris into the atmosphere, all on the first day. The tsunami placed a bed of plants, fungi and microbes in the crater that developed green-blue algae on top of
The impact of the giant space rock, about 66 million years ago, was intense enough to cause photosynthesis to close around the world.
It moved 24 times faster than a bullet when it hit Earth and the shock wave that resulted from the impact crushed trees and caused large forest fires.
Almost 75 percent of all species became extinct as a result of the collision.
At the point of impact, in the middle of the crater, the area was sterile: it was found almost 20 miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico and nothing could have survived.
Before this study, scientists had seen signs of early life in the crater, but the numbers were small, which means that a detailed image could not be captured.
Ms. Schaefer studied the preserved fats left by blue-green algae when they die, instead of looking for solid fossil records.
Fats were found at the top of a layer of fossilized plants dragged into the crater by a tsunami, but under another layer of debris from the atmosphere.
The team says that this means that the bacteria began to populate the crater after the impact of the tsunami, but before the atmosphere had been completely cleared of the impact debris.
“When the asteroid impact dust settled and sunlight returned to ideal levels, there was a rapid resurgence of land plants, dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria and all forms of anaerobic photosynthetic sulfur bacteria,” he said.
Soon after, more organisms moved over blue-green algae, creating a richer environment, the team said.
This is an illustration of an asteroid that approaches Earth, similar to the one that killed dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.
It is an example of how fast life can return after a catastrophic event.
Research suggests that phytoplankton communities in the post-impact crater basin continued to produce and evolve at a “fast” pace, according to John Curtin, founding director of the Curtin School of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
“The development and productivity of phytoplankton was accompanied by important transitions in the supply of nutrients and oxygen that shaped the recovery of microbial life.”
“So many things happened in such a short period of time, it really was as if a post-apocalyptic microbial chaos was happening in the Chicxulub crater,” Curtin said.
The research has been published in the magazine. geology.
WHY DID DINOSAURS BE EXTINGUISHED?
Dinosaurs ruled and dominated the Earth about 66 million years ago, before they suddenly died out.
The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event is the name given to this mass extinction.
It was believed for many years that the changing climate destroyed the food chain of huge reptiles.
In the 1980s, paleontologists discovered a layer of iridium.
This is an element that is rare on Earth but is found in large quantities in space.
When this was dated, it coincided precisely with when the dinosaurs disappeared from the fossil record.
A decade later, scientists discovered the huge Chicxulub crater at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, dating from the period in question.
The scientific consensus now says that these two factors are linked and that both were probably caused by a huge asteroid that crashed into the Earth.
With the projected size and the impact speed, the collision would have caused a huge shock wave and probably triggered a seismic activity.
The consequences would have created ash columns that probably covered the entire planet and made dinosaur survival impossible.
Other animals and plant species had a shorter period of time between generations that allowed them to survive.
There are several other theories about what caused the disappearance of the famous animals.
One of the first theories was that small mammals ate dinosaur eggs and another proposes that toxic angiosperms (flowering plants) killed them.