Sharks Were Almost Wiped Out By Event Twice as Devastating as the One That Killed the Dinosaurs

Sharks Were Almost Wiped Out By Event Twice as Devastating as the One That Killed the Dinosaurs
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Unfortunately, the dinosaurs were far from being the only creatures on Earth that had to face the extreme wrath of nature. Those giant beasts went extinct about 66 million years ago when the Chicxulub impactor (scientists aren’t sure if it was a comet or an asteroid) smashed into our planet with the power of ~100 million megatons, devastating the Gulf of Mexico region. The impactor itself is thought to be measured about seven miles wide.

But according to Business Insider, an even more powerful event almost caused the extinction of another species much more familiar to us: the sharks. The cataclysmic event occurred bout 19 million years ago, and it’s pretty much a mystery what exactly happened.

The complete number of sharks decreased by 90%

The number of shark species even decreased by 70%, and although the reason for the mass extinction event is unknown, scientists concluded that it didn’t coincide with climate changes. The whole extinction process happened over a time span of less than 100,000 years.To come to the staggering conclusion of the powerful extinction event, the scientists had been examining shark fossils from two sites located in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Microscopic fish teeth and shark scales known as denticles were examined, and they were found conserved in sediment cores.

Elizabeth Sibert, who’s an ecologist at Yale University and co-author of the new study, declared:

This event, for sharks, was a much bigger deal than the end-Cretaceous event that killed the dinosaurs,
It was twice as extreme.

Sibert added that if the extinction never occurred, we would see many more different sharks and relatives of these creatures in the open ocean nowadays.
The new study was recently published in the journal Science.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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