Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Volcanic Eruptions Aided The Rise of the Dinosaurs

From about 200 million years ago dinosaurs were the prominent vetebrates on our planet.  They held onto this prominence for around 135 million years before they became extinct.  But how did the dinosaurs manage to outcompete other species like this?

A recent study suggests that a huge amount of volcanic activity was one of the reasons for the rise of the dinosaurs. It is believed that these volcanic eruptions disrupted the climate enough to cause a mass extinction of species that knocked out the dinosaurs main competitors. The lava flows from the eruptions at the end of the Triassic period coincided with the extinction of 50% of the four-limbed creatures called tetrapods, 50% of the world's plants and 20% of marine species.

However, it is not known how the dinosaurs survived these extremely challenging conditions, when other species failed to.  Maybe it was because their biggest competitors, the crurotarsans, which had competed vigorously with the dinosaurs during the Triassic had disappeared or mabe it was pure chance. 

So read on to find out more about how volcanic eruptions may have aided the rise of the dinosaurs

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