Dinosaurs Could Still Be Alive If Killer Asteroid Hit 30 Seconds Later, Scientists Claim

Posted: May 15 2017, 2:38pm CDT | by , Updated: May 15 2017, 2:46pm CDT , in Latest Science News

Dinosaurs Could Still be Alive if Killer Asteroid Hit 30 Seconds Later, Scientists Claim
Courtesy of Barcroft Productions/BBC

Researchers estimate that if the asteroid travelling at 40,000mph had arrived a few seconds sooner or later, it could have landed in deep into the Atlantic or Pacific water

It has been a widely accepted theory that a massive asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago and wiped out almost 75 percent of life on the planet, including dinosaurs.

Now, scientists claim that if that nine-mile wide killer asteroid struck 30 seconds sooner or later, it would have caused far less damage and the dinosaurs would probably have survived. This means that dinosaurs could still be alive and coexisting with humans, leaving us as an inferior species on Earth.

A BBC documentary titled “The Day The Dinosaurs Died” shows that the result might have been very different with even a slight change in the time of impact. Had the asteroid crashed seconds earlier or later it would have hit the ocean, leading to far less devastation.

“This is where we get to the great irony of the story – because in the end it wasn’t the size of asteroid, the scale of blast or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct – it was where the impact happened.” Ben Garrod, who presents the documentary said in a statement.

“An impact in the nearby Atlantic or Pacific oceans would have meant much less vaporized rock – including the deadly gypsum. The cloud would have been less dense and sunlight could still have reached the planet’s surface, meaning what happened next might have been avoided.

“In this cold, dark world food ran out of the oceans within a week and shortly after on land. With nothing to eat anywhere on the planet, the mighty dinosaurs stood little chance of survival.”

In reality, the asteroid hit a site at the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and produced a crater around 100–200 kilometers across. Researchers have worked out that such an asteroid would have weighted at least 34 billion tons and some 10 miles wide.

The dinosaurs were not directly killed off by the asteroid. The impact of the asteroid threw enough dust into the air that it blocked the sunlight across the globe. As a result, the planet cooled dramatically and the event led to the extinction of many species. The impact of asteroid was so powerful that it was equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima A-bombs.

After the asteroid impact, tiny droplets of sulfuric acid reached high up in the air. Researchers who drilled into the crater found high levels of sulphur in the site.

The asteriod was travelling at 40,000 mph. If that asteroid landed deep into the ocean, it would have vaporized instantly and the outcome would have been less damaging.

“That asteroid struck Earth in a very unfortunate place,” said Sean Gulick, professor of geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin, who was involved in the drilling process of the Chicxulub impact crater in 2016.

“That would be enough to cool the planet for a decade and wipe out most life.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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