The explosion it caused was bigger than that of a million atomic bombs and ended about three quarters of all life on the planet.
And while fossil animals like dinosaurs and birds often get more love than fossil plants, Dunn says that plants are critical to understanding life on earth. A new study, which the journal Current Biology recently published, might have some answers to that mystery.
El Kef is far from the Chicxulub crater, but still contains remnants of matter from the asteroid impact. Intense heat set off wildfires that turned forests into ash fields. Acid rain killed off even more vegetation. This did not allow photosynthesis activity of the plants to help them survive or bloom back again. This lasted years, which kept the worldwide environment from cooling.
Not just did the forest canopies collapse, they would not have the ability to grow back. The ones that lived in the trees had no chance to survive with everything being on fire and no place to nest.
Researchers from the United States, England and Sweden studied the fossil record from North America to New Zealand, looking closely at charcoal remains of trees, fossilized pollen and fern spores, and bird fossils. The mix of samples offered a larger photo of exactly what the world resembled throughout the consequences of the effect.
One of the nine human skeletons found on the floor level of house 40. Still, or years, experts have tried to find out why only certain birds survived the extinction event while all the others perished. Smaller species reportedly lived off seeds, grains, and insects that were left post-impact.
Nearly 150 million years ago, birds started to evolve from smaller dinosaurs that looked like Velociraptors.
Fossil records reveal that birds surviving the end of the Cretaceous period had long sturdy legs for living on the ground. Being little, flying and residing on the ground were most likely all functions that would have preferred survival throughout the mass termination occasion, Field stated.
"Today, birds are the most diverse and globally widespread group of terrestrial vertebrate animals-there are almost 11,000 living species", says Field.
Today's "amazing living bird diversity can be traced to these ancient survivors". That's because ferns don't sprout from seeds, but from spores, which are much smaller-just a single cell. Ferns are usually among the quickest plants to return after natural disasters.
The K-Pg boundary is a thin layer of sediment that's dated to around 66 million years ago.
Studying whole paleoecosystems shows how life on Earth has evolved through all the trials and tribulations of the past, Dunn said in an email.
Other researchers argue that it's also the huge volcanic eruptions that also impacted the extinction of the dinosaurs, and MacLeod wants to analyze if the temperatures also rose during that time, changing the global climate. "It's probable that, if this kind of deforestation continues unabated, it will leave an indelible signature on the evolution of birdlife". "The lesson is here for us with regard to future warming, and what burning fossil fuels at the rate we're doing is doing to the atmosphere".