Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to survive when a giant meteor strikes

If we look back in history, it has already been done. The extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs changed the world at the time, but there were other smaller creatures living on the surface of the earth at the time. Mammels were somehow able to survive.

What lessons can we learn from them? It may have been something as simple as size and diet.

How did they do it? Science Daily reports that:

They were better at escaping the heat," said Russ Graham, senior research associate in geosciences at Penn State. "It was the huge amount of thermal heat released by the meteor strike that was the main cause of the K/T extinction."

He said underground burrows and aquatic environments protected small mammals from the brief but drastic rise in temperature. In contrast, the larger dinosaurs would have been completely exposed, and vast numbers would have been instantly burned to death.

After several days of searing heat, the earth's surface temperature returned to bearable levels, and the mammals emerged from their burrows, but it was a barren wasteland they encountered, one that presented yet another set of daunting conditions to be overcome, Graham said. It was their diet which enabled these mammals to survive in habitats nearly devoid of plant life.

Interesting reading. Will it help you survive the next strike?

Probably not.

Mammals, in contrast, could eat insects and aquatic plants, which were relatively abundant after the meteor strike. As the remaining dinosaurs died off, mammals began to flourish.

But we can all stand to drop a few pounds and watch our own diet.

Read the rest here.

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