About 66 million years ago, a colossal event occurred on Earth: an asteroid hit our planet, and it was long considered the main cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs.
The theory has found widespread acceptance in the scientific community. However, a new AI-powered analysis now questions this assumption. According to the alternative theory, massive volcanic eruptions and associated gas emissions may have been responsible for the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
A research team at Dartmouth College initiated this approach to eliminate human bias in scientific research. Artificial intelligence has been used to analyze large amounts of geological and climate data before and after the mass extinction.
Alex Cox, first author of Stady A graduate student in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Dartmouth explained to Daily Technical Science “Our goal was to explore why dinosaurs became extinct without being guided by prior hypotheses or biases,” he said of his team’s approach to one of the big questions in paleontology. “Unlike most traditional models that look to the future, we used the carbon cycle model in reverse. We used impacts to infer causes through statistical methods, giving the model minimal prior information.
Cox and his team gave sample data going back a million years before and after the extinction of the dinosaurs. The result of the AI analysis suggests that emissions from the Deccan Traps, a large-scale volcanic formation in India, may have been the main reason for the disappearance of dinosaurs.
The Deccan Traps were active 300,000 years before the Chicxulub asteroid hit Mexico, which is believed to be responsible for the extinction. According to the model, these volcanoes may have released enough climate-changing gases during this time to cause a mass extinction.
This indicates that the asteroid hit Earth where dinosaurs had already become extinct.
“Our model analyzed the data independently and free of human bias to determine the amounts of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide that would be necessary to produce the observed perturbations in climate and the carbon cycle as documented in the geological archive,” explained Keller, a geosciences researcher. . A researcher who has studied the relationship between the Deccan volcanism and a large-scale mass extinction event.
The process the scientists followed was at least as fascinating as the results of their research. According to the researchers, the model they developed has the potential to be used in other geological events where the effects are known but the exact causes are unclear.
Alex Cox stressed the importance of this new methodology, explaining: “Until now, people in our field have been more impressed by the novelty of the method than by our result.”
“The more precisely we understand the outcome, the more precisely we can determine what led to those outcomes.”
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