Dinosaur extinction asteroid killed nearly every species of mammal, claim scientists

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Flying dinosaurs flee a meteor strike

Extinction: More mammals were made extinct than we thought

Fossil hunting scientists at the University of Bath found that over 90% of mammal species were eradicated by the asteroid. New data shows the asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years not only led to the extinction of the dinosaurs but also killed nearly every species of mammal.

Dr Nick Longrich said: “our analysis shows that the mammals were hit harder than most groups of animals, such as lizards, turtles, [and] crocodilians”.

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Despite being initially worse off, small, highly adaptable furry mammals “no bigger than cats” were able to adapt more quickly to the new environmental conditions than their scaly counterparts.

Within 300,000 years, the number of species on the planet was double the amount that existed before the mass extinction.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs escaping the heat and fire of a big meteorite crash.
Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs escaping the heat and fire of a big meteorite crash.

Previous estimates did not take into account the rarer mammal species that were wiped out by the asteroid. Fossils of rare species are less common, making the fossil record biased in favour of the species that survived.

Dr Longrich adds: “as bad as things looked before, including more data shows the extinction was more severe than previously believed.”

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