Scientists discovered that it did not take long for life to return to the crater that was left behind by the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaur population millions of years ago.
Reports involving the dinosaur-killer asteroid have mostly been negative, due to the planet-altering effects of its impact on Earth. The new research, however, goes the opposite way, showing the resilience of life in the face of adversity.
Life Quickly Returned To Crater Of Dinosaur-Killer Asteroid
An about 6-mile-wide asteroid crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 66 million years ago, sending 75 percent of the ancient Earth species into extinction, including the dinosaurs.
"Life finds a way," said Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park. Life certainly does, as exemplified by the findings of a new study on the crater left behind by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
New research spearheaded by The University of Texas at Austin focused on the 112-mile Chicxulub crater revealed that sea life was already present there less than a decade after the asteroid's impact, with a thriving ecosystem established within 30,000 years.
The recovery of life in the crater was much quicker compared to other areas on Earth, surprising scientists. This is because of the theory that the return of life in areas closest to the crater would be the slowest, due to contaminants such as toxic metals that the asteroid crash would have released.
"We found life in the crater within a few years of impact, which is really fast, surprisingly fast," said Chris Lowery from the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, who led the research that was published on the Nature journal.
Proof Of Life In Chicxulub Crater
In 2016, a team of scientists drilled into the Chicxulub crater in an effort to better understand the response of planets to massive impacts. The mission returned hundreds of arm-length sediment cores, with some showing signs of the extreme temperatures and pressures of the asteroid crash. Lowery, however, was interested in one core that contained 76 centimeters of dull brown limestone.
When Lowery and his team analyzed the sediment grains that made up the limestone, they calculated that the grains were deposited to the sea floor just a few years after the asteroid impact. Upon further inspecting the layers of limestone, they discovered "numerous fossils and burrows, evidence of small worms, shelled creatures known as foraminifera, and plankton," signifying that life was already back in the crater at that point in time.
Previous reports said that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs resulted in global warming for the next 100,00 years, and that it affected the evolution of birds by destroying the trees on the Earth's surface. Life, apparently, can still survive after all that.