Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

URI Researcher Shows That Dinosaur Extinction Occurred At Peak Of Diversity

Date:
December 2, 2004
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
When dinosaurs became extinct from the effects of a massive asteroid hitting Earth 65 million years ago, there were more varieties of the reptiles living than ever before, according to a new analysis of global fossil records by a team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island paleontologist.

KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 17, 2004 -- When dinosaurs became extinct from the effects of a massive asteroid hitting Earth 65 million years ago, there were more varieties of the reptiles living than ever before, according to a new analysis of global fossil records by a team of researchers led by a University of Rhode Island paleontologist.

"Our analysis finally lays to rest the old, utterly unsupported idea that dinosaurs were declining in diversity during the last 10 million years of their time on Earth," said David Fastovsky, URI professor of geosciences.

Fastovsky's analysis, published in the October issue of Geology, found that early dinosaurs from the late Triassic period comprised only 40 known genera, but diversity dramatically increased throughout the time dinosaurs were on Earth, skyrocketing in the Cretaceous period -- 99 to 65 million years ago -- when at least 245 dinosaur genera lived.

"Dinosaur diversity was increasing logarithmically throughout their 160 million years on Earth," said Fastovsky, who is conducting research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico through July 2005 as a Fulbright Scholar. "Their increasing diversity seems to have been fueled by the evolution of new innovations that allowed them to explore new habitat."

According to Fastovsky and his co-authors, early dinosaurs tended to be unspecialized, but during the late Cretaceous period they became much more specialized in their feeding and behavior patterns, driving their evolution into more and more genera. The diversity of plant-eating dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period was found to be especially high.

"The ability to colonize heretofore unavailable ecospace by the invention of new feeding mechanisms and behaviors may have been a key driving force in the striking and continuous Jurassic-Cretaceous dinosaur diversification," the researchers wrote in Geology.

Earlier studies, based almost entirely on North American dinosaur records, suggested a drop in dinosaur diversity in the 10 million years leading up to their extinction. Fastovsky's conclusions are drawn from his analysis of a new database of global dinosaur records, which shows that much of the diversity of dinosaur genera is found in fossils unearthed in Asia and South America.

Fastovsky also believes that searching for more dinosaur fossils -- though there are likely many more to be found -- will shed little new light on this subject. Instead, he said his analysis suggests that "a more useful approach to understanding the dynamics of their evolution would be to more precisely date the ones that we already know about."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "URI Researcher Shows That Dinosaur Extinction Occurred At Peak Of Diversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210242.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2004, December 2). URI Researcher Shows That Dinosaur Extinction Occurred At Peak Of Diversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210242.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "URI Researcher Shows That Dinosaur Extinction Occurred At Peak Of Diversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123210242.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins