Sci/Tech A surprising factor in the extinction of the dinosaurs may have been how long their eggs took to hat

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Approximately 66 million years ago, a massive asteroid or comet smashed into the Earth near what we now think of as the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. On the other side of the world, in India, at a place called the Deccan Traps, a period of intense volcanic eruption began — one that would last tens of thousands of years.

    These catastrophic and powerful events are often considered the primary causes of the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period that wiped out most of the dinosaurs along with 75% of life on the globe.

    But new research reveals another factor that may have played a role in ending the era of the most massive creatures to ever walk the planet: It seems dinosaur eggs took a particularly long time to hatch. That means that when they had to compete for sparse resources in a post-extinction-event world with the more efficient amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that made it through that era into the next one, dinosaurs may have lost out.

    Compared with reptiles, birds lay fewer eggs, and those eggs are particularly large. This could hamper their competitiveness since it exposes them to destructive risks. But bird eggs hatch about twice as fast as reptile eggs — their behavior keeps eggs warm and stable — and researchers think that helps enough survive to hatch.

    Dinosaurs still exist in the form of birds — avian dinosaurs — and so researchers thought that the eggs of the non-avian varieties would still hatch at about the same rate as bird eggs do. After all, from what we can tell, non-avian dinosaur and bird eggs have similar structures, and birds are the only remaining dinosaurs for us to base these hypotheses on.

    Read more here. (Business Insider)

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