Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event

Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event

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Credit: RICHARD BIZLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Artwork of the K-T asteroid crossing the sky in a fireball just before the impact that caused the mass extinction event 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period. On the branch at lower right is an early mammal. In the background is a herd of Parasaurolophus ornithopod dinosaurs. The flying reptile is a Quezalcoatlus pterosaur. The impact took place at sea. Water vapour thrown into the atmosphere lowered global temperatures, and plant and then animal life began to die off. The dinosaurs never recovered, and mammals rose to become the dominant form of life.

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