Dinosaur's extinction allowed mammals to 'go nuts'

Monday, November 29, 2010

Researchers say that the mammals rapidly filled the "large animal" space left by the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. They went from creatures weighing between 3g and 15kg to a hugely diverse group including 17-tonne beasts.

Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque concluded that the rise of the mammals was by no means inevitable, and owes most to the chance obliteration of the dinosaurs, be it by comet, asteroid or another event. She also said that mammals actually evolved almost around the same time as dinosaurs, about 210 million years ago. Mammals were basically vermin scurrying around the feet of the dinosaurs and not really doing much of anything
for the first 140 million years.

She also said that a comet would have come and hit the Earth and killed off all dinosaurs but mammals as a class probably had characteristics that helped them survive that impact. She believes most of the mammals were burrowers that lived through the ensuing environmental mayhem largely underground, feeding on whatever food they could find, be it plant or meat.

For more information related to dinosaurs, visit rareresource.com.


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