The dinosaurs became extinct not as a result of any killer dust, but instead because of rather nightmarish combination of sulphuric acid and extreme cold.
It’s long been established that the end of prehistoric animals as we know them was brought about as a result of an enormous asteroid which experts reckon crashed into the Earth millions of years ago.
Most theories had suggested the resulting dust left by the impact was not only enough to shroud the planet in darkness but also kill off the dinosaurs.
However, a new series computer simulations conducted by academics at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and published in Geophysical Research Letters have shown something altogether more disturbing.
Based on the available data, the research revealed that when the asteroid impacted, tiny droplets of sulphuric acid began to form high up in the air, killing a large amount of the natural plant and animal life on the planet in what you can imagine was a pretty grim turn of events.
The temperature also dropped to as a little as 26 degrees Celsius, with global annual temperatures recorded at below freezing for the three years that followed.
“The long-term cooling caused by the sulphate aerosols was much more important for the mass extinction than the dust that stayed in the atmosphere for only a relatively short time,” Georg Feulner, who co-authored the research, explained.
“It was also more important than local events like the extreme heat close to the impact, wildfires or tsunamis.”
All told, the effect of the asteroid would continue to be felt for much of the next 30 years, with wildlife in the upper ocean also likely to have suffered a grisly fate in the wake of the strike.
So next time you read about some killer asteroid on a collision course with Earth, just remember that it’s really no laughing matter.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.