Let’s be honest, dinosaurs are cool! Anyone who has seen Jurassic Park will understand how awesome dinosaurs can be. And, the best thing about them is that they aren’t a made-up concept – dinosaurs really did rule the world! It seems incredible to think that the world we inhabit now used to be inhabited by all manner of dinosaurs back in the day. This was before they all died out and led to the next phase of evolution.
So how did the dinosaurs die? We know for a fact that they died out around sixty-six million years ago! It was at this time that some major event happened that led to the deaths of these jaw-dropping prehistoric beasts. So, what was it? What could be large, powerful, and destructive enough to wipe out creatures are powerful and terrifying as dinosaurs? Let’s look a little closer.
Setting the scene
Dawn breaks on the final day of the Mesozoic era. Sunlight creeps over the top of the trees, as creatures throughout the land begin to stir. The sun floods the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with daylight, illuminating the forests and swamps, as the warm oceans of the Gulf of Mexico spill over with life. But, little do the lifeforms know, this will be their final day on the planet! Far away, above the Earth, in the deep black of space, a gigantic asteroid is hurtling toward the Earth at a rate of around 40,000 mph!
This asteroid is the size of a mountain, and it streaks through the sky, burning more brightly and brilliantly than the Sun. As it edges ever closer, the lifeforms on Earth whir into life and go about their daily ritual. The fish swim, the birds fly, and the dinosaurs, Kings of the Earth, stomp across the warm dirt. And then, all of a sudden, the asteroid slammed into the Earth, causing an explosion of unprecedented power. This is thought to have been the moment that it al ended for dinosaurs, as they were all wiped out in one very destructive fell swoop.
So how did it work?
Scientists have assessed what took place back then, and how it was possible that so much life was wiped out on Earth in one go. If you want to be able to relive the events and get an idea of what the carnage was like back then, you can actually use an impact calculator. This was developed by University College London and sees users enter the size and speed of the asteroid in order to see the point of impact, and how the asteroid operated over the distance. In reality, anyone within 1,000 kilometers of the impact would have been killed almost instantly!
What happened after?
So, you might be thinking, well, what if any lifeforms were able to survive this cataclysmic event. Okay, well, that wouldn’t happen – but, let’s say it did happen, they wouldn’t be around very long afterward. Following the asteroid collision with Earth, the explosion would have caused an enormous tsunami and earthquake, the likes of which we can only imagine. This would have taken care of any of the dinosaurs that had survived – in other words, they never stood a chance.
We know the dinosaurs were wiped out millions of years ago, and evolution brought humans to the Earth eventually. However, many of us are unclear about how dinosaurs were actually wiped out. Well, the general consensus is that a giant asteroid collided with Earth, and caused their demise. This was followed by a tsunami just to ensure nothing had survived! What else could wipe out these majestic beasts?!