Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

How birds managed to survive the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

How birds managed to survive the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

Ferns grow after a forest fire in the Pacific Northwest. This was identified by seeing the sturdier and longer legs of the ground-dwelling birds.

He said: "The recovery of canopy-forming trees such as palms and pines happened much later, which coincides with the evolution and explosion of diversity of tree-dwelling birds".

"To date, there's really been no good empirical estimates on what temperature is doing following the impact, in terms of hundreds of thousands of years", says Page Quinton, a geologist at the State University of NY at Potsdam.

"We concluded that the temporary elimination of forests in the aftermath of the asteroid impact explains why arboreal birds failed to survive across this extinction event", said Field. Any birds that roosted or perched in trees would've been homeless.

'The ancestors of modern tree-dwelling birds did not move into the trees until the forests had recovered from the extinction-causing asteroid'. Acid rain would have been triggered by the vapor, which would be rich in sulfates. They analyzed huge new bird family trees, newly-discovered bird fossils, and analyzed the pollen from the rock layer that made an appearance immediately after the impact occurred.

They can be compared to today's tinamous, small-bodied, flying and ground-dwelling relatives of ostriches and emus that live in Central and South America. "From that and other related evidence we can infer that the bird ancestors that survived the asteroid impact were also likely to be ground birds".

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After looking at the evolutionary relationships between the more than 10,000 bird species living today, the team realized it suggested the initial survivors had been ground dwelling, hinting that there had been global deforestation in their shared past.

Fossils also provided details on the legs of the surviving birds, which are long and strong, like the ones found on flightless birds that walk the ground today: emus and kiwis. No one factor caused the end-Cretaceous extinction and similarly no one factor caused the extinctions within [the birds].

A new study published Thursday in the journal Science has produced hard data to support that global warming hypothesis, and it may have unnerving implications for the world we live in today.

"Only a handful of ancestral bird lineages succeeded in surviving the mass extinction event 66 million years ago, and all of today's awesome living bird diversity can be traced to these ancient survivors", he said.

Studying entire paleoecosystems demonstrates how life in the world has actually developed through all the trials and adversities of the past, Dunn stated in an e-mail. It's associated with the mass extinction event that famously destroyed all dinosaurs, apart from some birds. "But we know very little about how or why birds managed to sneak across".

Dunn included that "By studying this occasion, we find out about exactly what took place to biodiversity in the past following damage of Earth's environments and for how long it considered biodiversity to recuperate". "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".

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