Sunday, August 7

Dinosaurs reigned in the cold in the Triassic | Digital Trends Spanish


Theories about the extinction of the dinosaurs say that after the huge meteorite that killed them, the cooling of the planet and the Ice Age ended with these giant reptiles. Nevertheless, a Columbia University study He maintains that in the Triassic period the dinosaurs reigned over long icy stretches of territory.

The telltale indicators: dinosaur footprints along with strange rock fragments that could only have been deposited by ice. The study authors say that during the extinction, cold snaps already occurring at the poles spread to lower latitudes, killing cold-blooded reptiles. The dinosaurs, already adapted, survived the evolutionary bottleneck and spread.

“Dinosaurs were there during the Triassic under the radar all along,” said Paul Olsen, a geologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and lead author of the study. “The key to his eventual dominance was very simple. They were basically cold-adapted animals. When it was cold everywhere, they were ready and other animals were not.”

During the Triassic, the period when the supercontinent Pangaea began to break apart, there were many volcanic eruptions, which would have caused atmospheric carbon dioxide to skyrocket beyond its already high levels, causing deadly temperature spikes on land and turning the waters oceans too acidic for many creatures to survive.

There is also good evidence that, unlike cold-blooded reptiles, many dinosaurs possessed warm-blooded systems and high metabolisms. Both of these qualities would have helped dinosaurs in cold conditions.

“Severe winter episodes during volcanic eruptions may have brought freezing temperatures to the tropics, which is where many of the extinctions of large, naked, featherless vertebrates appear to have occurred,” said Kent. “While our fine-feathered friends acclimatized to cooler temperatures at higher latitudes, they did just fine.”

The findings challenge conventional images of dinosaurs, but some prominent specialists say they are convinced. “There’s a stereotype that dinosaurs always lived in lush rainforests, but this new research shows that higher latitudes would have been frozen and even covered in ice for parts of the year,” said Stephen Brusatte, professor of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh. “Dinosaurs living at high latitudes already had winter coats [mientras que] many of its Triassic competitors became extinct.

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