Meteor killed dinosaurs with dust, not wildfires, study finds

For story suggestions or custom animation requests, contact [email protected] Visit to view News Direct's complete archive of 3D news animations.

Researchers looked at hydrocarbons in sediment samples and concluded that the Chicxulub meteor sparked a mass die-off by ejecting massive amounts of burned particles directly into the atmosphere.

1. Giant meteor approaching Earth.
2. Meteor smoking, burning
3. Meteor impact point on map
4. Meteor impacting Earth
5. Dinosaurs running from explosion, molecular structure of ejected materials
6. Extinction sequence: Impact, aerosols, light blocked, cooling, plant death, die-off

VOICEOVER (in English):
"Scientists previously believed that the giant meteor that hit Mexico's Yucatan peninsula killed off the dinosaurs by igniting massive wildfires up to thousands of miles away."

"It was believed that, 66 million years ago, these wildfires caused the thick haze that theoretically covered the earth and blocked out the sun, causing cooling and starvation of plants and animals."

"However, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found evidence that suggests the mass extinction was caused by a different mechanism, which was also caused by the massive impact that created the Chicxulub crater."

"The team of scientists analyzed sediment samples from within the Chicxulub crater and from other ocean sites near the crater."

"In their analysis, the researchers focused on hydrocarbons called Poly-cyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, which can provide evidence of the sources of black carbon."

"The results of these studies led the researchers to believe that the sediment was mostly from rapidly heated material ejected directly from the impact crater, rather than from wildfire soot."

"The study did point out, though, that wildfire particles were also found in the sediment samples, but that these particles were a small minority."

"The study concludes that while wildfires did probably contribute to the mass extinction, most of the airborne pollutants that caused the die-off were from burned materials ejected directly from the crater."

SOURCES: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,, Popular Science,