Fossils Show Evidence of Mammals Thriving after the Extinction of The Dinosaurs

Earth has been and still is the host of millions of species of animals and plants. Plenty of species go extinct, more or less because of human intervention. That wasn’t also the case for the dinosaurs, who were wiped out because of a huge asteroid that collided with Earth 66 million years ago. It created a huge cloud of ash and dust that blocked the sunlight for thousands of years. No sunlight means no plants to produce oxygen, and no oxygen means no complex life forms.

But what came next immediately after the mass extinction of the dinosaurs, besides dust and ashes? Scientists have long tried to ask that question, and it looks like now they have some good reason to place their bet on something.

Mammals attained dominance of the planet

A cache of fossils found in central Colorado are detailing the rise of mammals short time after the dinosaurs got extinct by the collision of the asteroid. The scientists are even telling us that the fossils date from the first million years after the calamity, which at astronomical scale means a very brief amount of time. Mammals attained dominance of the planet after they have been the dinosaurs’ lunch for 150 million years.

With so much liberty at their disposal, the mammals reached new evolutionary heights, their body mass becoming 100 times bigger over time.

The asteroid made our existence possible

…or at least the existence in our current state and appearance. Without the asteroid killing the dinosaurs, we might have looked very different – perhaps with tails, fur all over our face, and who knows what else. All this unfolding of events seems to be part of some sort of cosmic or divine wisdom. Who would’ve thought that such a violent and devastating event like the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs, will turn into a very beneficial event for us human beings?

Ian Miller, curator of paleobotany and director of Earth and space sciences at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, said:

“Were it not for the asteroid, humans would never have evolved,”

 “One message I would like people to take from this is that their earliest ancestors – and by ancestors we’re talking fuzzy little squirrel-like critters – had their origins in the wake of the extinction of the dinosaurs.”

Tyler Lyson, the museum’s curator of vertebrate paleontology and lead author of the research, stated:

“For the first time, we were able link together time, fossil plants, fossil animals and temperature in one of the most critical intervals of Earth’s history,”

The asteroid strike ended the Cretaceous Period and opened the Paleogene Period. It eradicated the dinosaurs except for their bird descendants, seagoing reptiles, and some marine invertebrates. Numerous plant species have also been avoided by the extinction.

The research has been published in the journal Science.

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