A new study claimed that the asteroid that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs helped create the world’s rainforests, and it is understood that the impact of the 12-kilometer-wide space rocks that hit Earth 66 million years ago have dramatically changed plant life in tropical rain forests in South America.
According to RT, a study of more than 56,000 pollen and leaf fossils took place from Colombia, revealing a major shift in the plant species that were present before the asteroid collision.
“Our team examined more than 50,000 records of fossil pollen and more than 6,000 fossil leaves before and after impact,” wrote co-author Dr. Monica Carvalho of the Smithsonian Institute for Tropical Research in Panama, published in the journal Science.
“The lesson here is that with rapid disruptions … tropical ecosystems not only bounce back, they are replaced, and the process takes a really long time,” she added.
Conifers and ferns covered the rainforests before the asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, according to the study.
However, many plants, especially those bearing seeds, have been completely wiped out after the lethal effect, with plant diversity reduced by nearly half (45%).
During the next six million years, the forests were restored, but flowering plants began to take hold and the structure of the forest changed.
The devastating impact of the asteroid, known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event (K-Pg), is believed to have killed 75% of the animals on Earth during the Cretaceous period.
It is believed that the event affected all continents simultaneously.
Fossil pollen from New Mexico, Alaska, China and New Zealand revealed similar changes in plant life.