Volcano Eruptions Led to Rise of Dinosaurs
The lava all but wiped out main competitors
By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2010 12:10 PM CDT
Dinosaurs, without a care in the world.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – An explosion of volcanic activity 200 million years ago may have been responsible for the mass extinction that left dinosaurs with few competitors and allowed them to dominate the Earth for almost 150 million years. Researchers have discovered evidence of massive lava flows concurrent with elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. They surmise that the world was subject to “super” global warming.

“We're talking about a serious amount of the Earth being covered in lava,” the author tells the BBC. 50% of four-legged land animals, 50% of plants, and 20% of marine life were eliminated, including the dinosaurs' main competitor, the crurotarsans. “These events are synchronous with the extinction,” the researcher says. They “all occur within a few tens of thousands of years of the eruption of these huge lava flows.” But how did the dinosaurs survive? It could have been “blind luck.”

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Volcano Eruptions Led to Rise of Dinosaurs is...
2%
4%
78%
4%
8%
4%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 6 comments
SalParadise
Mar 23, 2010 8:00 PM CDT
Life itself is little more than blind luck. Intriguing study.
JoeQ
Mar 23, 2010 6:43 PM CDT
This story is probably a bit confusing to most people. The extinction 200 million years ago is just the 3rd biggest we know about. The biggest one by far was 250 million years ago. The 2nd biggest one was 63 million years ago. That last one was the one that killed the dinosaurs. There have been a whole slew of extinction events; about every 75 million years. We know because whenever they happen a whole bunch of diatom species in the oceans go extinct. http://wapedia.mobi/en/Cretace...
diltsduo
Mar 23, 2010 6:39 PM CDT
Hasn't this been known information for YEARS. i believe the History Channel did a show about this.. Yeh yeh yeah Manhattan covered in 600feet of lava.