How the Asteroid that Wiped Out the Dinosaur’s Helped Create the Rainforests in South America
The oldest traces of our rainforests date to roughly 60 million years ago, just six million years after the asteroid. For the rainforests to be developed that close to the asteroid, scientists wonder if there’s a connection.
After the impact, three-quarters of all plant and animal species on Earth went extinct. But new research suggests that out of the ashes of this destruction, sprang the closed-canopy, flower-packed South American rainforests that now host the greatest diversity of plants and animals on Earth. The study, published today in the journal Science, uses thousands of fossilized remnants of South American flora from before and after the world-changing asteroid impact to reveal two very different forests on either side of a fracture in the history of life.
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