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November 3 2012

Researchers: If Meteorite Hit 13 Million Years Earlier, Dinosaurs Might Still be Around


Jonathan Mitchell, a Ph.D. student on the University of Chicago's Committee on Evolutionary Biology, Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences, and Kenneth Angielczyk of the Field Museum have collaborated to produce a fascinating simulations-based analysis of the factors that helped dinosaurs go extinct en masse at the close of the Cretaceous era.

The authors used a food web program they wrote, which looked at dozens of species. They looked to lay to rest debates about dinosaurs' diet (e.g. did a T. rex eat Triceratops, Duck-Billed dinosaurs, or a mixture of both?) by carrying out a number of simulations with each possibility considered. A total of 17 food webs, based on species alive at the time, were inspected.

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