Dinosaurs survived in a “land of fire” during mass extinctions

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Dinosaurs survived in a ‘land of fire’ during the mass extinctions and volcanic activity of the early Jurassic period 183 million years ago, reveal traces found in southern Africa

  • Traces were found in the remains of lava flows in what is now South Africa
  • During the early Jurassic period there was lava flowing and oceans damaged
  • Life recovered and prospered during the gaps where volcanic activity was lighter

Dinosaurs survived in a ‘land of fire’ during mass extinctions and volcanic activity 183 million years ago, reveal the footprints found in southern Africa.

Experts from the University of Cape Town studied the fossil footprints left by ancient creatures that walked in what is now South Africa.

At that time, the world was being shaken by a series of ‘mass extinction events’, including volcanic eruptions that were changing the air and the oceans.

Despite this devastation, the researchers discovered that there were gaps in which life was recovering and the animals crossed the super continent known as Gondwanna.

This was often with lava flowing around them and volcanoes still erupting around them, letting them walk in a “land of fire.”

Experts from the University of Cape Town studied the fossil footprints left by ancient creatures who walked in what is now South Africa.

Experts from the University of Cape Town studied the fossil footprints left by ancient creatures who walked in what is now South Africa.

The fossil footprints were discovered on a farm in central South Africa and were preserved in sandstones with a thick pile of basaltic lava flows.

Professor Emese Bordy, from the University of Cape Town, said they offered a rare insight into ancient life in a “stressful and hospitable environment.”

It was during periods between massive volcanic activity that the movement of animals across the earth’s surface could be captured as fossil tracks.

Ancient footprints give scientists an idea of ​​the type of animal life of the Early Jurassic that existed in these intermittent periods.

They also bring together different disciplines of earth sciences that can help visualize what the ancient world was like.

Different groups worked together to discover not only how ancient animals moved through the dangerous and volatile landscape, but also to reconstruct what the environment would have been like for animals.

The fossil footprints tell a story of our deep past about how continental ecosystems could coexist with truly giant volcanic events.

They can only be studied from the geological record, because they have no modern equivalents, “although they can occur in the future of the Earth,” Bordy said.

Geologists, volcanologists and paleontologists worked with others to study the rocks, gather evidence about their properties and examine ancient lava flows.

Professor Bordy said: “Our observations show that when large layers of lava flowed through the landscape, the environment became a land of fire.”

However, during the quieter periods, life could return to normal with running currents, sun, plants and animals grazing and hunting.

“What emerges is an image not only of the devastation caused by volcanic eruptions, but also of a functional ecosystem that lasted despite environmental threats.”

They also discovered new species of dinosaurs in the tracks: one that ate meat and walked on two legs and another herbivorous on four legs.

It was during periods between massive volcanic activity that the movement of animals across the earth's surface could be captured as fossil tracks.

It was during periods between massive volcanic activity that the movement of animals across the earth's surface could be captured as fossil tracks.

It was during periods between massive volcanic activity that the movement of animals across the earth’s surface could be captured as fossil tracks.

Some of the pathways studied by the researchers also appear to be from synapses, a group of reptiles that are believed to be the ancestors of mammals.

“To identify the creators of clues, we carefully compare the morphology of the clues, for example, the shape, size and angles between the foot prints, with other clues known throughout the world,” said Bordy.

“Some had common characteristics in the footprints of the theropods, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs and some showed characteristics that are only known in the footprints of the ornitisquios, a group of herbivorous dinosaurs.”

They compared their observations with previous reports and developed a list of characteristics that define the new ichnospecies they discovered.

“Located in their old environmental environment, these Early Jurassic roads show that part of animal life was resilient even when the environment changed and was hit by catastrophic events,” Bordy said.

The research has been published in the magazine. MORE ONE.

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.

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