RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Image 3 of 8. Artwork of an asteroid burning up in a fireball as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere. A Quetzalcoatlus pterosaur is seen in the foreground. This is the asteroid that is thought to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The collision took place around 65 million years ago, marking the end of the Cretaceous period and the beginning of the Tertiary period. The impact took place at sea, sending tsunamis (massive waves) around the globe, destroying coastal areas. Water vapour thrown into the atmosphere lowered global temperatures. Plant and then animal life began to die off. The dinosaurs never recovered, and mammals rose to become the dominant form of life. For the sequence, see images E402/173 to E402/180.
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