We all know that Dinosaurs disappeared with a bang; wiped out by a large meteorite impact on the Earth 66 million years ago. But their origins have been less understood.
In a new study, scientists show that the key expansion of dinosaurs was also triggered by a crisis; a mass extinction that happened 232 million years ago.
A paper published this month in Nature Communications, offers evidence to connect the two events — the mass extinction called the Carnian Pluvial Episode, and the initial diversification of dinosaurs; and teaches us something about why a catastrophe like a Biblical flood can be productive for future times.
Dinosaurs had originated 13 million years earlier, at the beginning of the Triassic Period, some 245 million years ago, but they remained very rare until the shock events in the Carnian 13 million years later.
The new study shows just when dinosaurs took over by using detailed evidence from rock sequences in the well dated Dolomites, in north Italy — here the dinosaurs are detected from their footprints.
Comparison with rock successions in Argentina and Brazil, where the first extensive skeletons of dinosaurs occur, show the explosion happened at the same time there as well.
The footprints and skeletons told the same story. The point of explosion of dinosaurs matches the end of the Carnian Pluvial Episode, a time when climates shuttled from dry to humid and back to dry again.
In 2015, dating of rock sections and measurement of oxygen and carbon values showed just what had happened.
There were massive volcanic eruptions in western Canada, represented today by the great Wrangellia basalts — these drove bursts of global warming, acid rain, and killing on land and in the oceans.There were four pulses of warming and climate perturbation, all within a million years or so.
This must have led to repeated extinctions that cleared the way for the age of the dinosaurs, and also for the origins of many modern groups, including lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and mammals like humans.
Mother nature can be cruel and very destructive; and so can God. But in both cases it would seem that the far distant outcomes add to the greatness of the universe.
If you read chapter 38 of the Book of Job with the above scientific evidence in mind you will gain a higher understanding of the evolution of all lifeforms including homo sapience.