A giant asteroid was to blame for the demise of the dinosaur, and not a volcanic eruption, scientists have finally agreed.
A panel of 41 scientists from across the world reviewed 20 years' worth of research to try to confirm the cause of the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which created a "hellish environment" around 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all species on the planet.
Scientific opinion was split over whether the extinction was caused by an asteroid or by volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps in what is now India, where there were a series of super volcanic eruptions that lasted around 1.5 million years.
The new study, conducted by scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and published in the journal Science, found that a 15-kilometre (9 miles) wide asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico was the culprit, Reuters informs.
According to Sky News Online, the 15-kilometre wide asteroid is believed to have hit the planet with a force one billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
The asteroid - about the size of the Isle of Wight - would have blasted material at high speed into the atmosphere. That set off a chain of events that caused a global winter, wiping out much of life on Earth in a matter of days, the review says.
According to Dr Joanna Morgan, co-author of the review from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, "We now have great confidence that an asteroid was the cause of the KT extinction. This triggered large-scale fires, earthquakes measuring more than 10 on the Richter scale, and continental landslides, which created tsunamis."
"However, the final nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs happened when blasted material was ejected at high velocity into the atmosphere. This shrouded the planet in darkness and caused a global winter, killing off many species that couldn't adapt to this hellish environment," she said, Oneindia reports.
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