The big chill – Have scientists finally discovered what killed the dinosaurs?

In the aftermath of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, global temperatures plunged – and this may have played a bigger role in the mass extinction than previously thought.

Millions of years ago, tiny droplets of sulphuric acid formed high up in the air after an asteroid hit the Earth, making it dark and cold for several years and resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs from the planet, a study has revealed.

‘The big chill following the impact of the asteroid that formed the Chicxulub crater in Mexico is a turning point in Earth history,’

says Julia Brugger from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), lead author of the study. Plants died, and death spread through the food chain.

It took the climate about 30 years to recover.

“The dinosaurs were used to living in a lush climate. After the asteroid’s impact, the annual average temperature was below freezing point for about three years. Evidently, the ice caps expanded. Even in the tropics, annual mean temperatures went from 27 degrees to mere five degrees,” the study added.

The team has created a time-lapse animation of the cooling that can be viewed here.

Sadly this is NOT how dinos experienced the big chill: