Researchers have recently found evidence of an asteroid impact in New Jersey. The impact must have occurred more than fifty-five years ago, according to specialists. They also believe that the phenomenon can be linked to a climate one, namely an ancient process of global warming.
The study of the researchers found that the asteroid hit the Earth in the late Paleocene era. The period was characterized by increasing temperatures which affected the environment. Specialists account for eight degrees Celsius more in average temperatures than what we are used to today.
Scientists explain that at the end of the Paleocene era, there were significant amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this is what led to the phenomenon of warming. The ancient process of climate warming is called Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM).
What the researchers have recently discovered are small pieces of glass originating from a comet or asteroid. They are carved in rocks, are spherical, and they are called microtektites. Specialists believe that the extraterrestrial body might have hit the Earth in the Atlantic Ocean and spread pieces on the shores around.
Apart from carbon dioxide, there were also other greenhouse gas emissions which led to an accelerated process of climate change. According to researchers, the temperatures rose by no less than six degrees Celsius within one thousand years.
Previous theories claimed that greenhouse gasses which led to early global warming and massive ice melting originated from volcano gas emissions.
On the other hand, there are scientists who believe that the new theory about the asteroid impact has flaws. They claim that the amount of microtektites that has been found so far is too small to account for a massive impact. Thus a small crush couldn’t have triggered such an effect like global warming.
Either gas emissions from volcanoes or giant asteroid, there is something which caused the carbon dioxide emission and climate change at the end of the Paleocene and the beginning of the Eocene era. The period coincides with the rise of groups of mammals which led to the spread of animals on Earth. Primates appeared back then, as well as the Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla orders.
The order of primates includes apes and the humans’ ancestors. Artiodactyla includes animals such as pigs, deer, giraffes, sheep, and camels, which are characterized by their even number of toes and the way they distribute their body weight on them.
The Perissodactyla order includes animals such as zebras, horses, and rhinos, among others. As opposed to Artiodactyla, they have an odd number of toes. The ancestors of these modern day animals appeared in the Eocene era, as a result of global warming.
Although there is evidence of the asteroid impact theory, researchers consider other possibilities too. Further research will lead to disambiguation.
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