The new study conducted by the scientists at the University at Albany has given an interesting fact about the extinction of world’s heavyweight animal, dinosaurs. Previously it was believed that the massive asteroid is the reason behind the wiping out the dinosaurs around 66 million years ago. But the new study shows that dinosaurs were already in trouble before the asteroid attack and the reason behind that was the emergence of toxic plants. As per the study, these plants had an extreme level of toxic for its defense mechanism.
The study was carried out by Professor Gordon Gallup and Michael Fredrick and was published in the journal Ideas in Ecology and Evolution. They found that the dinosaurs didn’t have any learned taste aversion. It allows animals to avoid the food which can make them ill. This defense method is normally seen in many species and they learned after consuming toxic food. Psychologist Gallup stated, “A reason why most attempts to eliminate rats have not been successful is that they, like many other species, have evolved to cope with plant toxicity.”
Animals species like rats use this technique while consuming food. What they do is, first they consume a small amount for the sample. If they feel sick, they avoid that particular food and never eat that food in future. The reason is “they associate the taste and smell of it with the negative reaction.”
As per the information derived from fossil evidence, there were toxic flower plants named angiosperms, before the Chicxulub Crater collided with Earth. After that, the population of dinosaurs started to decrease and wiped out many dinosaurs. Well, as they didn’t have that defense mechanism, dinosaurs kept eating them despite suffering from gastrointestinal issues. This evidence has provided a clear link between the appearance of plants and dinosaur’s disappearance.
To make it clearer, the researchers also studied birds and crocodilians (crocodile and caimans), which are the descended from dinosaurs. During the study, they found that birds can develop an aversion to the visual mechanism instead of aversion to teste and that helps them to choose the non-toxic food. But, crocodile and caimans in Africa, America, and Asia don’t have this ability.
During that period, the plants were started developing rapidly and dinosaurs also started eating them. Gallup further added, “Even though the asteroid certainly played a factor, the psychological deficit had already placed a severe strain on the species.” That’s the reason for the extinction of such giant animals.