The dinosaurs were already dying off when a massive asteroid crashed into the Earth about 65 million years ago, according to a leading group of British scientists.
The real cause of their decline was probably a combination of climate changes, such as volcanic eruptions, combined with a gradual but significant drop in sea levels around the world, said a team of 22 experts.
The dinosaurs were not the only creatures to suffer as global climate change altered habitats, said Dr Norman McLeod, who led the research over the past 10 years. Millions of species also disappeared over the course of almost 11 million years before and after the asteroid impact - an event geologists call the "Cretaceous-Tertiary biotic transition" - or, more pronounceably, the "K-T boundary" The asteroid impact in the Yucatan peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico was confirmed last month by geological evidence that was finally tied together by an American team. But the British team, including scientists at the Natural History Museum, University College, London, and Birkbeck College reckon it was in fact only the coup de grace for a huge number of species which disappeared from the fossil record soon afterwards. "There are other ways than an asteroid to produce extinctions," said Dr McLeod, from the Natural History Museum. "The sea level now is, historically, low. …