Did humans and dinosaurs live together before asteroid strike? Answer will shock you

Were humans and dinosaurs living in the same epoch? Did they actually walk on the Earth in the same period in the past before the asteroid strike that caused the extinction of dinosaurs? A recent study may have ended this debate forever!

| Updated on: Jul 01 2023, 22:14 IST
When did mammals, including humans, evolve? This study says it has the answer. (Pixabay)
When did mammals, including humans, evolve? This study says it has the answer. (Pixabay)

Did humans and dinosaurs ever live together? This may remind us of the iconic Holywood movie called 'Jurassic Park'. However, this question has always been unanswered. Several theories say that an asteroid crashed into Earth around 66 million years ago and drove the dinosaurs into extinction. After the demise of the dinosaurs, humans gradually established their rule on Earth. This theory was based on the fact that studies of fossils of humans and other mammals suggested that they were younger than 66 million years.

But it seems like the long debate over whether placental mammals such as horses, dogs, cats, humans, and rats evolved with dinosaurs or they came after they disappeared from Earth, has been ended. A study conducted by Emily Carlisle, a Ph.D. student in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol, and her team investigated this aspect. Shockingly, the study suggests that placental mammals evolved around 70 million years ago. This simply means, mammals may have been on Earth during the time of dinosaurs! The study published in Current Biology explained it in detail.

Mammals and dinosaurs in the same era?

The author explained in a blog on The Conversation that there are two main ways that scientists estimate when a group of animals first appeared. The first way is by studying the fossil record. The oldest fossil found in a group helps determine when it first evolved. Carlisle further explained that another method scientists use is called molecular clock dating. Via this method, scientists compare the DNA of different organisms to figure out when they became a distinct species.

However, Carlisle and her team used a new method – the Bayesian Brownian Bridge (BBB) model. in which they collected the record of more than 15000 fossils of placental mammals. Under this model, they used a scientific formula to determine the age of a group.

According to the BBB model, scientists believe that placental mammals existed during the Cretaceous period, around 70-80 million years ago. This means they lived alongside dinosaurs for a long time, possibly up to 20 million years before the asteroid impact that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The study suggests that during this time, the ancestors of rabbits, hares, cats, dogs, and primates were evolving.

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First Published Date: 01 Jul, 22:13 IST