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Dinosaurs survived rapid climate change

Dinosaurs survived rapid climate change

Dinosaurs survived rapid climate change
September 23, 2006

New research suggests the existence of periods of dramatic climate change during the Mesozoic Era, a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

The research, published in the September issue of Geology, presents evidence that ocean surface temperatures varied as much as 6 degrees Celsius (about 11 degrees Fahrenheit) during the Aptian Epoch of the Cretaceous Period 120 million years ago according to scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research who examined ancient rocks from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The results challenge the idea that the period was characterized by a stabl, hot and humid climate.

The researchers say the research is significant because it presents a case where “temperatures shifted erratically due to changes in carbon cycling and did so without human input” according to a news release from Indiana University.

“Combined with data from the Atlantic, it appears clear that climate changes were taking place on a global scale during this time period,” said Indiana University geologist Simon Brassell, who led the study. “The data we collected suggest significant global fluctuations in temperature.”

Brassell says the findings are relevant to today’s climate change debate.

“One of the key challenges for us is trying to predict climate change,” Brassell said. “If there are big, inherent fluctuations in the system, as paleoclimate studies are showing, it could make determining Earth’s climatic future even harder than it is. We’re learning our climate, throughout time, has been a wild beast.”

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This is article uses quotes and information from a news release from Indiana University.

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