A new paleontological perspective assumes that dinosaurs would still exist if an asteroid had not hit Earth 66 million years ago. This is the new perspective published by researchers from the Bath University and the Natural History Museum.
This work, published this Wednesday in the scientific journal Royal Society Open Science, reached this conclusion through an analysis of statistical models on the diversity of dinosaurs in that period Upper Cretaceous. It was then concluded that they were not a species in decline; on the contrary, they spread over all continents and were extinguished by the impact of the asteroid, not by evolution.
Had this astral accident not occurred, the dinosaurs would have remained the dominant terrestrial animal species on the planet.
“Previous studies by others have used various methods to conclude that dinosaurs would have become extinct anyway, as they were in decline towards the end of the Cretaceous period. However, we show that expanding the data set for include more recent dinosaur family trees and a broader set of dinosaur types, the results do not really point to this conclusion; in fact, only half of them do so, “reported the doctor Joseph A. Bonsor, member of the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, in Great Britain, lead author of the publication, accompanied by Paul Barrett, Thomas Raven and Natalie Cooper.
Explaining their method of work, Bonsor said the research team collected a set of different family trees of dinosaurs and used statistical models to assess whether each of the major groups of dinosaurs could still produce new species at that time.
In against paleobiologists who believe that dinosaurs were declining in the terrestrial ecosystem, “some groups such as hadrosaurs and ceratopsians were thriving”, emphasize the scholars.
In terms of dinosaurs it is extremely difficult to advance because you can only work with certain fossil bones, many of them must be excavated from the rocks and finding and rescuing them is a work of years. Therefore, the researchers used statistical methods to overcome these sampling gaps, Observing the Speciation Rates of Dinosaur Families rather than simply counting the number of species that belong to the family.
“The main point of our article is that it is not as simple as looking at some trees and making a decision: the inevitable large biases in the fossil record and a lack of data can often show a decline in species, but this may not be a reflection of reality at that time, ”Bonsor explained.
For its part, the Europa Press agency maintains that “although mammals existed at the time of the asteroid impact, the extinction of the dinosaurs caused the niches to be unoccupied and the mammals to fill them and then they will rule the planet ”.
MM / DS