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Did dinosaurs die off due to global warming or climate change?

7 Answers
The theory we were taught in school is that dinosaurs died off because of an asteroid impacting the earth.
C

The generally accepted theory is that the extinction of the dinasaurs (the last great one, as noted by Matter91 was caused by climate change caused by an asteroid impact 67 million years ago. This was also a time of great volcanic activity, which would have contributed to the climate change.

The giant asteroid hit on the Yucatan peninsula creating a gigantic shockwave, fireball, and a massive amount of ejecta into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight for a long time, cooling the planet. Dinosaurs, being cold blooded, or mostly (depending on some theories), had a hard time surviving. Small warm blooded animals, like birds (or whatever stage they were in at the time) and mammals coped better in colder conditions with less plant life available.

The evidence of the asteroid impact is actually a lot better with satellite imagery, showing the crater, which is mostly in the Gulf of Mexico, and partly on the peninsula. There's a series of interconnected caves, filled with salty Gulf water, and a float of fresh water on top that continue the circle of the crater. The other bit of information is that there is a layer of minerals high in Iridium, which is uncommon on Earth, but noticibly higher in meteors, at a certain depth in the planet. You can go anywhere on Earth and do a core sample and a carbon dating to see that there's an Iridium layer that's about 67 million years old. There's also a lot of volcanic ash around the same time, supporting the "High Volcanic Activity" that contributed to the climate change.

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M

Actually there were several major dinosaur extinctions, not just one, however the one you are thinking of is the one that killed off the last dinosaurs.

Your school should be teaching that there were many extinctions prior to the last one.

If we are to look at the last dinosaur extinction (the K - T extinction) it was very likely due to the asteroid hitting the earth in the area now known as the Gulf of Mexico. This hit caused many problems for not only dinosaurs but many other species of life. First of all it sent up a huge toxic cloud, and triggered forest fires. The ashes and dust clouds blocked out the sun which would have killed off many plants, as such the plant eating dinosaurs died, and then the meat eaters too.
Very likely not all were killed but of those that remained their populations were weak, and inbreeding soon meant that there survival was doomed.

It is widely believed that some theropod dinosaurs evolved into birds.

Climate changes probably lead to many of the other earlier extinction events.

An interesting note - we are now living in what is called the holocene extinction event, a time when species are going extinct faster than ever before - the reason for so many extinctions now is humans.

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C

As most people believe that an asteroid hit the earth, i think it would have caused both. There would have been many pollutants released from the impact heading into the athmosphere, whilst thick smoke and derby would have blocked the sky completely, resulting in extremely low light conditions for months. This would kill off all plants and trees as there is no sunlight, meaning no carbon dioxide being converted into oxygen, so it would have a huge impact on climate change and also food too. There might have been effects caused such as acid rain as well.

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S

I think dinosaurs died off for a lot of reasons. Predators and prey adapted and evolved. They needed to change with the times. An asteroid hitting the earth would have killed a lot of them. However I think evolution is the main killer of dinosaurs. If an animal is a big strong killing machine it can still be killed by animal packs or from hunger. Some animals changed into new ones and the old ones could no longer survive.

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B

The most accepted theory of what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is that an asteroid hit the earth in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula. The subsequent debris that was thrust into the atmosphere caused a significant climate change that resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Thanks for asking.

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S

On the History Channel there was a story on how a large asteroid hit the Earth in southern Mexico. So if their theory is correct then the dinosaurs died due to an impact event. There was a big explosion when the asteroid hit the atmosphere and when it hit the ocean it sent huge waves of water.

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P

I don't believe this, if an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs then people and all other animals shouldn't exist today either.

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