It was around 66 million years ago that a doomsday asteroid hit Earth in its full fury, resulting in the extinction of dinosaurs. At that time, dinosaurs were the most dominant species on the planet, but the sudden impact of the giant space rock resulted in a mass extinction event. And now, a new study has suggested that dinosaurs could have dominated earth even now if such an asteroid event was absent in history.
The Journey of Dinosaurs
According to experts, dinosaurs emerged during the Triassic period some 230 million years ago, and soon they emerged as the most dominant species on Earth. Dinosaurs that lived before 66 million years include giant predators like Tyrannosaurus Rex, herbivore giants, and even flying reptiles.
Previously, several scientists had suggested that dinosaurs were on the verge of extinction when the asteroid hit Earth. However, the new research carried out by scientists at the University of Bath has apparently put this theory to bed, and they claim that dinosaurs might be remaining as a dominant species on the planet if that asteroid missed the target.
"What we found is that the dinosaurs were still dominant, they were still widespread and still doing really well. If the asteroid impact had never happened then they might not have died out and they would have continued after the Cretaceous," said Joe Bonsor, a PhD student at London's Natural History Museum and the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and the first author of the study in a recent statement.
How Did Dinosaurs Become Dominant on Earth?
According to researchers, dinosaurs roamed on Earth for more than 150 million years, and in this course of time, they evolved to take many shapes and forms. Some dinosaurs were very tiny, while some others measured nearly 100 feet in length.
The new study report suggests that diversity in species helped dinosaurs to maintain their dominance on the blue planet. According to researchers at the University of Bath, dinosaur species were flourishing during the time of the asteroid hit. The research team revealed that plant-eating animals such as hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and ankylosaurs were dominant in North America, while carnivorous abelisaurs thrived largely in South America.
"We've shown that there is no strong evidence for them dying out and that the only way to know for sure is to fill in the gaps in the fossil record," added Bonsor.
Earlier, another study report had suggested that dinosaurs would not have gone extinct if the doomsday asteroid was at least 30 seconds late. Some other scientists believe that human evolution would not have been possible if dinosaurs continued to remain as the dominant species on planet Earth.