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Dinosaurs killed by cold wave

world Updated: Apr 24, 2010 23:39 IST

Dinosaurs died from sudden drop in temperature — and not by comet striking Earth 65 million years ago, scientists have claimed.

A team in Britain say that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a series of environmental changes, starting with a drop in sea temperatures — in fact, a sudden plummeting in the sea temperature of 9 degree Celsius more than 137 million years ago was the first step towards their eventual road to extinction.

While studying fossils and minerals from the Arctic Svalbard, Norway, the scientists concluded the sudden change in the Atlantic Gulf Stream during the Cretaceous period would almost certainly have wiped out the “abundance” of dinosaurs.

Gregory Price, from Plymouth University, who led the study, said his team’s research showed the drop in temperature happened when the Earth was in a “greenhouse” climate, which was very similar to now.

The scientists found the drop in temperatures was so severe that numerous species of dinosaur previously living in warm, shallow seas, land and swamps would have died out.

“We now believe that they died out gradually and it is very possible that this could have been caused by a series of climatic changes,” Price said.