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This picture shows how an artist thinks a big rock from space hit Earth. Some scientists think that a big rock hitting Earth could have killed all the dinosaurs millions of years ago.
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Courtesy of NASA

New Blow for Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Theory
News story originally written on April 27, 2009

Many scientists have thought for years that the dinosaurs went extinct because an asteroid hit Earth near Mexico in a place called Chicxulub and caused big changes in the Earth’s climate.

Now, scientists have found new evidence that shows it was not an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. The scientists discovered this by studying the rocks below the crater at Chicxulub. The rocks showed that animals and plants survived after the asteroid hit the Earth, and so when they went extinct it was caused by something else. The scientists say that the dinosaurs’ extinction was probably caused by volcanoes. When they erupted, the volcanoes would have created lots of dust in the atmosphere and blocked sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface.

Lack of sunlight meant that plants could not photosynthesize and support the life of other animals on earth.

Last modified March 20, 2010 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA