For millions of years, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. When the dinosaurs disappeared from the Earth, much of life on the planet was also affected. Life took a long time to recover. Scientists now though are finding out that life recovered much faster than what has been known. After the dinosaur extinction, the Earth did not care much as life rebounded.
Scientists have looked into fossilized leaves found in Patagonia, Argentina and discovered that many of them had feeding marks. They speculate that these marks were from insects during the time after the dinosaurs. What they found remarkable was that the leaves came from a much earlier time.
An asteroid is said to have struck the Earth over 66 million years ago which has wiped out dinosaurs and most other life. For a time after that, the Earth took a long time to recover from the event. The asteroid hit in what is now known as Chicxulub, Mexico near the end of the Cretaceous Period.
Much of life in and near the impact area had taken long to recover. Michael Donovan, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student of Geosciences in Penn State University, said that while it has been studied that life in and near the impact area took around nine million years to recover, areas much farther from it had a much lesser recovery time.
The ancient leaves found in Patagonia, Argentina were around four million years old, according to Penn State News. The leaves were found to have feeding marks on it, which showed that there has been life in the area much earlier than in areas much closer to the impact site. Donovan and his team looked at 3,646 fossil leaves for any sign of leaf miners, which were insect larvae that tunnel into leaves.
Peter Wilf is a Professor of Geosciences at Penn State and the study's co-author. He said that Donovan has made a technique in looking for leaf miners to find out how life rebounded after the dinosaur mass extinction. While no leaf miner species survived the asteroid crash, it has been speculated that leaf miner species did evolve in time after it, and that they came out much earlier in areas much farther from the impact site.
The assessment made by the team is that because Patagonia has been much farther from the impact site, this has allowed leaf miner species to come out much earlier, as Science Daily reports. Wilf said that the study should help in understanding biodiversity and how it can cope after a calamity. The study would also help people understand how life was after the dinosaur extinction.
With the dinosaur extinction, Earth did not care much and soon rebounded from the event. The study has shown that life rebounded much faster in regions that were farther from the asteroid impact site. Also, another study has said that life on land has come 300 million years earlier than first thought.