Scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have presented a new study, which notes that the asteroid not only destroyed the dinosaurs, but also gave life to the forests of the Amazon. They have three explanations for how this could have happened.
A new study found that the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs also influenced the creation of rainforests on Earth. Scientists have used fossil pollen and leaves from Colombia to study how this impact has changed the rainforests of South America. They concluded that the impact that happened 66 million years ago dramatically changed the type of vegetation from which these forests were formed.
“Our team examined over 50,000 fossil pollen records and over 6,000 leaf fossils before and after the impact. We found that cone-shaped plants – conifers and ferns – were common in the area. But only until the moment when the Earth was hit by a huge asteroid, ”the scientists noted.
But after the devastating impact, plant diversity declined by about 45%. When the forests were restored, they were already dominated by angiospheres.
Trilobite gills were attached to their limbs
As a result of this transition, the structure of the rainforest has also changed. In the late Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs were still alive, the trees that made up the forests were spread widely. The tops did not overlap, leaving open areas in the sun near the soil. But after the impact, the forests formed a thick canopy that allowed much less light to hit the ground.
And scientists have three explanations for these changes. The researchers speculate that the dinosaurs may have kept the forest from growing too dense. A second explanation is that falling ash from exposure to enriched soils throughout the tropic has benefited faster-growing flowering plants. The third explanation is that the extinction of conifers created an opportunity for flowering plants.