New postulation on the issue of what happened to the dinosaurs has arrived, with one scientist saying the asteroid believed to have wiped them out wouldn't have had the same effect had it hit a few million years earlier or later. The result may have been a dinosaur survival, and a 2014 in which the biggest mammal on Earth is a rat.
According to Edinburgh University paleontologist Steve Brusatte, the supposed extinction asteroid hit at a time when the dinosaur ecosystem was a little out of balance. An evolutionary shortage of smaller, plant-eating dinos was pressuring the larger meat-eaters at the time of the impact, destabilising the population. The asteroid pushed them over the edge.
Brusatte explains: "The asteroid almost certainly did it but it just so happened to hit at a bad time when dinosaur ecosystems had been weakened by a loss of diversity. If the asteroid had hit a few million years earlier, or a few million years later, then dinosaurs probably wouldn't have gone extinct."
And we might not exist. Think about that the next time your internet's going a bit slow and you throw your mouse on the floor in fury. You could be a brontosaurus getting frustrated by a coconut. [Guardian]