Twice hit by climate change

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Most people know that land-dwelling dinosaurs were wiped out some 66 million years ago when a huge asteroid crashed into Earth.If not this, the plunge in global temperature on a planet with little or no ice, caused by a blanket of heat-shielding debris in the atmosphere, would have killed them. New research says, more than 100 million years earlier, another climate change cataclysm – a global warming – devastated a different set of dinosaur species, with many going extinct. Scientists have found evidence of this traumatic event some 179 million years ago in plant fossils in Argentine Patagonia.Dinosaur discoveredThey also discovered a previously unknown dinosaur, named Bagualia alba. This is in the family of massive, long-necked sauropods, the largest animals to walk the Earth. Before the global warming event, sauropods were only one branch of the Sauropodomorpha lineage.Other dinosaurs in the same group were smaller and lightly built, with some no bigger than a goat, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.But a series of volcanic eruptions over several million years released huge amounts of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere, warming the planet and transforming the vegetation dinosaurs fed on.The climate went from …

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