Thursday, September 23

A reptile survived the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs | Digital Trends Spanish

The fall of the meteorite that extinguished the dinosaurs and other large vertebrates had a survivor that is still present today. A new study has revealed that snakes already existed more than 66 million years ago.

The study published in Nature by a group of scientists explains that snakes are one of the few animals that survived the mass extinction, which took 76 percent of the existing species. The cataclysm created new spaces for the snakes, which had a free way to expand to other places and continents.

Not only that, but that expansion was also reflected in the appearance of new subspecies or lineages, beyond the six that survived the event. This is what scientists call creative destruction, a concept that can be read contradictory but that postulates that the destruction of one thing can lead to the creation of another.

(Getty Images)

One of the study authors explained to the site Reverse that a massive elimination of species generates something like a reset, a reboot. And that allows evolution “to move towards new paths and allow strange species to appear, such as human beings.”

The researchers also reveal that, prior to the meteorite, it was difficult for snakes to move outside their natural habitat because that meant competing with other more dominant species. And that is valid not only for snakes, but for many other species and even to explain that “current biodiversity is a consequence of the fall of a meteorite.”

Snakes help measure radiation levels in Fukushima
Hanna Gerke.

For now, it is difficult to know exactly how snakes expanded and diversified after the cataclysm, especially since there are not many fossils of prehistoric snakes.

Despite this, hypotheses suggest that this species survived extinction because in general they remained in their burrows for a long time and because they had the ability to hunt at night, which may have facilitated their existence in a dark and hostile environment such as the of a planet after a meteorite fall.

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