It is easy to forget that, as the Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun, our host star is actually travelling around the Milky Way galaxy at an average speed of 230 kilometres per SECOND. Still, it takes the solar system roughly 250 million years to make a complete trip and during that time the entire Milky Way is travelling through the universe. This has now been made evident by a NASA scientist who has tracked the evolution and demise of the dinosaurs in comparison to the solar system’s orbit around the galaxy.
The animation also shows just how long the dinosaurs existed for and just how young humanity is.
The giant beasts roamed the Earth for roughly 177 million years before the asteroid lead to their eventual extinction.
By comparison, mankind has been present on Earth for just five million years – less than nine percent the time of the dinosaurs.
The new animation from Dr Jessie Christiansen shows that 66 million years ago, when the asteroid hit, Earth was on the other side of the Milky Way.
Dr Christiansen told Business Insider: “That was the first time I realised that those time scales – archaeological, fossil record time scales and astronomical time scales – actually kind of match along together.
“Then I had this idea that I could map out dinosaur evolution through the galaxy’s rotation.
“The animation kind of makes it seem like we’ve come back to the same spot, but in reality the whole galaxy has moved a very long way.
“It’s more like we’re doing a spiral through space. As the whole galaxy’s moving and we’re rotating around the centre, it kind of creates this spiral.”
It is still subject to debate as to exactly how long the dinosaurs managed to survive after the initial impact.
Previous research from the University of Berkley, California, believes there is evidence to suggest non-avian dinosaurs survived around 30,000 years afterwards, and they eventually went extinct due to the 100,000 years of drastic climate change caused by the impact.
Others however, believe the beasts died out in a matter of months, with palaeontologist Ken Lacovara previously saying: “They died suddenly and were buried quickly.
“It tells us this is a moment in geological time. That’s days, weeks, maybe months.
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“But this is not thousands of years; it’s not hundreds of thousands of years. This is essentially an instantaneous event.”
However, the dinosaurs’ loss was humanity’s gain.
With no large predators, small mammals which were comparable to rodents began to thrive, which eventually led to the evolution of humans millions of years down the line.
Alice Roberts, presenter of the hit BBC documentary The Day the Dinosaurs Died, said: “Chances are, if it wasn’t for that asteroid we wouldn’t be here today.”
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