LONDON: Scientists have solved the mystery behind how deep-sea creatures survived the catastrophic asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Like own, giant marine reptiles, invertebrates and microscopic organisms became extinct after the impact of an asteroid on a huge upheaval of the world’s oceans, however, deep sea creatures managed to survive the dinosaurs.
This has puzzled researchers generally believed that the impact of an asteroid cut off the food supply in the oceans by destroying algae and bacteria that float freely.
However, a team led by researchers at the University of Cardiff in the UK provides strong evidence suggesting that some forms of algae and bacteria were actually living in the aftermath of the disaster asteroid, and acted as a constant sinking, drip, slow food for creatures living near the seabed.
The team was able to draw these conclusions by analyzing new data on the chemical composition of the fossil shells of sea surface and seafloor organisms of the time, taken from drill cores from the seabed in the South Atlantic.
This gave researchers an idea of the flow or movement of organic matter from the sea surface to the sea floor following the strike asteroids, and concluded that a slow trickle of constantly food is being delivered to the deep ocean.
The researchers were able to calculate that the food supply in the ocean was restored completely around 1.7 million years after the impact of an asteroid, which is almost half of the original estimates, which shows that marine food chains he recovered faster than originally thought.
“The global catastrophe that caused the extinction of dinosaurs also devastated ocean ecosystems. Giant sea reptiles found an end as various types of invertebrates such as the iconic Ammonites,” said Heather Birch, a doctorate from the University of Cardiff, who led the study.
“Our results show that despite a wave of massive and almost instantaneous between plankton extinctions, some types of photosynthesis organisms such as algae and bacteria living in the aftermath of an asteroid impact.
“This provided a slow trickle of food for organisms that live near the ocean floor that allowed them to survive the mass extinction, in response to one of the outstanding issues still remaining on this period of history” Birch said.
“However, it took almost two million years before the food supply offshore was completely restored as new species evolved to fill vacant ecological niches by the extinct forms,” Birch said.
Many scientists now believe that the mass extinction of life on Earth some 65 million years ago was caused by an asteroid 110 kilometers wide hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
It is believed that the impact of waste land hunger of the sun’s energy and, once installed, carried greenhouse gases cause temperatures to rise dramatically.
The study was published in the journal Geology.