Tag Archives: extinction

Welp, the Dinosaurs are Extinct Because of a Lucky Shot

Well, what a lucky shot for humanity. Scientists are now saying that if the asteroid that killed all of the dinosaurs went another direction, then we would be living in a nightmare.

Over 65 million years ago, an asteroid hit the rocky terrain of the Yucatan Peninsula. This impact raised the soot from the ground and this dust blocked off the sun. This event eliminated future plant growth and eventually caused, due to the lack of food, the extinction of dinosaurs.

A map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, the presumed impact point of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs; photo from free-stock-illustration.com
A map of the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, the presumed impact point of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs; photo from free-stock-illustration.com

Even through the asteroid left a scar on the Earth with a diameter of 5.6 miles, the odds of a mass extinction caused by an asteroid of that size is only 13%. According to new research from Japanese scientists Kunio Kaiho and Naga Oshima released in the journal Scientific Reports,  the dinosaurs “were unlucky.”

Even though an asteroid of that same size hitting the earth is very rare, the same event hitting an area rich with hydrocarbon and sulfate is just a one-in-a-million strike.

After the impact, the materials warmed up and they formed into poisonous clouds that caused widespread cooling and droughts, the scientists reported in their study.

“The amount of hydrocarbon and sulfur in rocks varies widely, depending on location,” the scientists found. They came to the conclusion that 87% of the Earth’s surface didn’t have enough of these deposits.

Because of the soot blocking out the sunlight, the average temperature on Earth dropped by 10 degrees Celsius (18 F). The soot also destroyed plant life and drove the existing ecosystem to a total collapse. In total, about 75% of animals and almost all dinosaurs were extinct.

“The site of the asteroid impact, therefore, changed the history of life on Earth,” both scientists wrote.

The presumed site of the impact is off the Gulf of Mexico, on the Yucatan which is a partly submerged carter about 180 kilometers wide and 20 kilometers deep.

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Tree Species near Extinction

Scientists say that years of attacks from beetles are pushing five of the most prominent species of ash tree to the brink of extinction.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature says that tens of millions of trees in the U.S. and Canada have succumbed to the beetles.

The trees classified as “critically endangered” are the green, black, white, pumpkin, and blue ash. The Carolina Ash is also listed as “endangered.”

The beetle in question is an emerald ash borer which was introduced to North America accidentally in the late 1990’s from northeastern Asia. Government officials have tried to slow its spread with insecticides and biological control. These beetles can live for one to two years and before they reach maturity, they most likely have killed one ash tree.

A closeup of the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle – Photo from MPR News

Without any efforts, the ash tree would die out quickly and the cost to replace them would be in the billions. The beetle will eventually make its way to central Europe by 2031. The recent news of this has raised the questions of “specicide” or volunteer extinction of the ash borer in North America.

Whatever the answer is to the question, it’s going to be very costly and needs to be solved fast. If it is not solved, we are not going to have any ash trees left.