When the Chicxulub asteroid hit our planet 66 million years ago, it led to the death of many species of the Earth, including the mighty dinosaurs that once ruled the world. Plant life also suffered as a result of this catastrophic event, as the darkness enveloping the earth after the asteroid had deprived the plants of their nutrients. However, there were a few species that survived Chicxulub, and when it came to bird species, a new study suggests that it was specific to soil-based birds that were not killed.
In a recent study published in the journal Current Biology a team of researchers analyzed bird fossils from before the Chicxulub asteroid strike and those from the post-impact period and came to the conclusion that ground-living birds the lucky ones who survived the post-Chicxulub mass extinction. After BGR the researchers also found out why this was the case.
Using deciduous fossils, also analyzed for study purposes, the researchers concluded that Chicxulub led to "massive" fires leading to widespread deforestation. This phenomenon, in turn, meant that birds could not nest as before the event. As ferns became the dominant form of plant life in North America after the asteroid strike, tree-dwelling birds could not make the proper adjustments, while their land-dwelling equivalents, including those similar to today's quails, were "better equipped" a situation such as BGR recorded.
"The ancestors of modern tree birds did not move into the trees until the forests recovered from the endangered asteroid," said study leader Daniel Field, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Bath.
Field believes that his research on the Chicxulub asteroid strike appeals to modern birds with a common ancestor who was "almost certainly a ground-based bird". As he explains The Atlantic this species may not necessarily have been a flightless bird, but rather a species that resembles the Central and South American species, which often chooses not to fly, though it does 9003] Apart from the fires triggered by Chicxulub, which evidently displaced tree-dwelling birds, there were other factors that could have led to ground-dwelling birds surviving mass extinctions. Other researchers have their own theories, such as the development of a more advanced digestive tract for certain species of birds or the ability of some species to lay larger eggs.
Birdlife has developed over 10,000 species over the past 66 million years including a few land-dwelling ancestors – they survived Chicxulub's asteroid impact, which killed dinosaurs and 75% of all species raised global temperature 5 ° C (9 ° F) for 100,000 years https://t.co/H58k0sqzPr @ CosmosMagazine
– Sara Laughter (@GreenAwakening) May 25, 2018
"Forest loss was just one of several factors that worked in combination who survived certain bird lines, "said Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Researcher Jingmai O & Connor, who was not involved in the study.
"We need to get over this one-answer-for-all way of thinking," O & Connor added, citing The Atlantic .
"No factor causes the end-Cretaceous extinction and similarly no factor causes extinction within [the birds]."
According to The Atlantic this is something that Field agrees with since its earlier Research suggests that smaller birds may have taken longer to find food in "charred, sun-drenched landscapes".