News of the WeekEvolution

Did an Impact Trigger the Dinosaurs' Rise?

Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1215-1216
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5571.1215a

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A huge asteroid or comet ended the 135-million-year reign of the dinosaurs when it hit Earth 65 million years ago. Now on page 1305, a group of researchers suggests that an impact also triggered the final rise of dinosaurs to dominance 200 million years ago. Proving that an impact is a two-edged sword will depend on demonstrating that a large body hit Earth at the very geologic instant that the dinosaurs' reptilian competitors abruptly died away and meat-eating dinosaurs came into their own.