The Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction, 66 Ma, included the demise of non-avian dinosaurs. Intense debate has focused on the relative roles of Deccan volcanism and the Chicxulub asteroid impact as kill mechanisms for this event. Here we combine fossil-occurrence data with paleoclimate and habitat-suitability models, to evaluate dinosaur habitability in the wake of various asteroid-impact and Deccan volcanism scenarios. Asteroid-impact models generate a prolonged cold winter that suppress potential global dinosaur habitats. Conversely, long-term forcing from Deccan volcanism (CO2-induced warming) leads to increased habitat suitability. Short-term (aerosol cooling) volcanism still allows equatorial habitability. These results support the asteroid impact as the main driver of the non-avian dinosaur extinction. In contrast, induced warming from volcanism mitigated the most extreme effects of asteroid impact, potentially reducing the extinction severity.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Early online date||29 Jun 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Jul 2020|
Chiarenza, A. A., Farnsworth, A., Mannion, P. D., Lunt, D. J., Valdes, P., Morgan, J. V., & Allison, P. A. (2020). Asteroid impact, not volcanism, caused the end-Cretaceous dinosaur extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(29), 17084-17093. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2006087117