Life Finds a Way: How Climate Change Helped Dinosaurs Succeed | Scientific and technical news

According to new research, climate change played a key role in the rise of the first dinosaurs.

The ancestors of the diplodocus and the recognizably long-necked brachiosaurus were particularly beneficiaries of the changing environmental conditions during the late Triassic and early Jurassic, around 201 million years ago.

While the transition between the two eras saw a mass extinction event that wiped out many large creatures, some took advantage of warming temperatures on the planet and expanded into new territories.

Findings from an international team of paleontologists, including the universities of Birmingham and Bristol in the UK, suggest that it was the climate – not competition with other animals – that allowed these dinosaurs to thrive.

“Climate change seems to have played a very important role in the evolution of the first dinosaurs,” said co-author Professor Richard Butler, from the University of Birmingham.

He said the next step is to use the same techniques to understand the role of climate in the rest of dinosaur time on Earth.

What were these techniques?

Computer models of prehistoric global weather conditions, such as temperature and precipitation, were compared with information about the locations of various dinosaurs at the time.

He showed that the long-necked ancestors, known as sauropods, and other similar creatures, with their small heads and long tails, were the runaway success of an otherwise turbulent period of evolution.

Read more:
Largest terrestrial predatory dino ever discovered
Scientists solve mystery of extinction meteorite

Huge dinosaur skeleton found in garden

Dr Emma Dunne explained: “What we are seeing in the data suggests that rather than dinosaurs being overtaken by other large vertebrates, it is variations in climatic conditions that restrict their diversity.

“But once those conditions changed across the Triassic-Jurassic border, they were able to thrive.

“The results were somewhat surprising, as it turns out that the sauropods were really tough from the start.

“Later in their evolution, they continue to stay in warmer areas and avoid polar regions.”

The research, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the European Research Council, has been published in Current Biology.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl