Everyone knows that 66 million years ago, the dinosaurs had a horrible day. With an approximate diameter of 14 kilometers, the Chicxulub asteroid impacted the current Yucatan Peninsula, south of Mexico, leaving a crater 180 kilometers wide and 900 meters deep, which wiped out all traces of life for thousands of miles around, It caused tsunamis hundreds of meters high, and earthquakes that lasted weeks.
An ash cloud blocked the sun, and temperatures dropped below zero degrees. The first night lasted a year, and 75% of all animal and plant species could not withstand it. Flowering plants, most of which we humans eat, which give us fruits, vegetables and medicines, not only escaped mass extinction, and escaped relatively unscathed, but they rebuilt entire ecosystems and took over the Earth.
Dr. Jamie Thompson, from the Milner Center for Evolution at the University of Bath, and Dr. Santiago Ramírez-Barahona, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, have just reached this conclusion after analyzing the DNA sequences of up to 73,000 living species of flowering plants (angiosperms), as much as it surprises everyone whose orchids die immediately on the balcony of their house.
While the fossil record shows that many species disappeared, the lineages to which they belonged, such as families and orders, survived long enough to flourish and dominate the Earth. Of the around 400,000 species of plants alive today, approximately 300,000 are flowering plants.
Molecular clock evidence suggests that the vast majority of angiosperm families that exist today existed before the meteorite fall, and that the Tyrannosaurus rex walked around sniffing our orchids, magnolias and mint. “Flowering plants may have been around for some time, but they began to appear more frequently in the Cretaceous period, in the last 70 million years of the age of dinosaurs,” explains paleontologist Michael J. Benton of the Faculty of Science. of Bristol Land. “But it seems that The dinosaurs decided not to eat them, and continued chewing ferns and conifers like the pines. However, it was only after the dinosaurs were gone that angiosperms really took off in evolutionary terms.”