New Study On Dinosaur Extinction

November 29, 2023

… our work helps explain this significant extinction event that led to the rise of mammals and the evolution of our species.

McGill University geologist Don Baker, co-author of a new study that suggests major volcanic eruptions may have triggered a change in climate that contributed to dinosaur extinction. The recent findings challenge the traditional idea that a meteorite crashing into Earth solely caused the extinction of dinosaurs.

Why It Matters: Dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, but recent findings suggest the cause of dinosaurs’ extinction could be from More than a meteorite …(McGill University). A new study involving researchers from around the world “demonstrates that climatic conditions were almost certainly unstable, with repeated volcanic winters that could have lasted decades, prior to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This instability would have made life difficult for all plants and animals and set the stage for the dinosaur extinction event,” explains Baker.

Researchers came to their conclusion after analyzing the amount of sulfur and fluorine sent into the atmosphere from volcanic eruptions about 200,000 years prior to dinosaur extinction; they did so by using a new technique to estimate the amount of sulfur and fluorine in ancient rock samples from the time. USA Today explains, “They found that enough sulfur was released to trigger a steep enough drop in global temperatures to trigger a ‘volcanic winter.'”

Read More:

Dinosaur extinction: New study suggests they were killed off by more than an asteroid (USA Today)

More than a meteorite: New clues about the demise of dinosaurs (McGill University)

Recurring volcanic winters during the latest Cretaceous: Sulfur and fluorine budgets of Deccan Traps lavas (Science Advances)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas