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The cold helped the dinosaurs take over the world

The cold helped the dinosaurs take over the world

As you know, there was a time when dinosaurs dominated the Earth. There was also a time before that, when they didn’t have them.

During the Triassic period, from 250 million to just over 200 million years ago, there was an empire of reptiles on the planet, and the dinosaurs at that time seem to have been referred primarily to the polar regions.

There it can—albeit not to the same degree as it does today—get cold, according to a new study from the Columbia School of Climate. Evidence is dinosaur footprints next to strange rock fragments that occur only as a result of ice, which was discovered in the Junggar desert region in northwest China.

“Be ready”

It was much warmer over the rest of the Earth at this time, but when the cold spread about 200 million years ago, scientists think the hail may have killed the cold-blooded reptile, which was large and with bare skin.

On the other hand, the dinosaurs in the north and south have already adapted to climate change.

Paul Olsen, lead author of the study, says in press release.

Researchers do not know what caused the changes that led to the mass extinction within a short geologic time period of about one million years. There may have been a massive volcanic eruption that spewed out a lot of particles into the atmosphere and cooled the entire planet. Apparently, three-quarters of all living species in the sea and on land have disappeared.

Not just tropical

However, warm-blooded dinosaurs with a high metabolism were able to adapt.

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says Stephen Brusatte, Professor of Paleontology and Evolution at the University of Edinburgh.

“Dinosaurs that lived in higher latitudes happened to have winter coats, while many of their Triassic competitors died out.”

The mass extinction marked the beginning of the era of the dinosaurs. After a time period of one million years, the warmer and more humid Jurassic climate began.

the study It is a collaboration between universities in several parts of the world, and is presented in Science Advances.

What is today northwest China was during the Triassic period a polar region, on the supercontinent Pangea. Photo: Paul Olsen/Columbia Climate School

During the Triassic period, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were five times higher than they are today, so temperatures were much higher. There didn’t seem to be any ice cover in the polar regions of the then giant continent Pangea. On the contrary, the pillars were also covered with forests. But especially at higher elevations it can get cold, especially in the winter.

The new study is the first evidence that in some places soil freezes seasonally, and some dinosaur species appear to have adapted to it.