FP TrendingApr 07, 2021 10:06:34 AM IST
The asteroid that killed dinosaurs is also responsible for the origin of the neotropical forest found new research that has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science on Friday, 2 April. According to a report by Science News, the asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago transformed the tropical forests. The open-canopied forests got transformed into dark and dense Amazon forests. Various fossils were collected from sites of the forest in Columbia where about 10 percent of the Amazon forest is located. These fossils of leaves, pollens, and spores were from 70 to 56 million years ago, as per the publication.
When these fossils were analyzed by the researchers, the team assessed changes in several factors namely the interactions between the insect-plant species, the diversity of plants in the forest, and dominant species.
After the region was hit by the asteroid, the diversity of plants declined by 45 percent. It took six million years for the forest to regain its diversity, however, there were changes in the new plant species that came into the region after the 10-km-wide asteroid struck the region.
The researchers found that before the asteroid strike, the plants were spaced enough and light could reach the forest floor. There were also no legume trees before the strike, however, as of today, the forest has many varieties of legumes.
Speaking about their findings, Monica Carvalho who is the first author of this study said that they looked for tropical plant fossils as the researchers wanted to investigate how the tropical forest changed after the Chicxulub impact. Monica is a postdoctoral researcher at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Universidad del Rosario.
The researchers have proposed three explanations for the changes that happened in the tropical forest. First is that the forest was kept open because of the dinosaurs who kept moving. Another explanation was that the flowering plants got an advantage due to the falling ash from the impact-enriched soil. The last one is that an opportunity was created for the flowering plants due to the extinction of conifers.