An asteroid collision increased biodiversity on Earth


Belgian researchers have established a link between an asteroid collision and the development of life on Earth, 470 million years ago.

An international multi-disciplinary team comprising researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences has discovered that an asteroid collision 470 million years ago may have allowed the development of life on Earth.

The extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, has already been attributed to the collision of a 10 km-wide asteroid. But this new discovery dates back 470 million years. We are now talking about a huge asteroid (150 km in diameter) which exploded in the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. This caused a fine dust to spread through our solar system, leading to major climate change on Earth. The Belgian researchers believe that following an ice age caused by the obscuration of the sun by this meteorite dust, the climate changed from being fairly consistent around the globe to disparities similar to those we know today between Arctic and tropical areas. This cataclysm allowed the appearance of new ecosystems and was thus the basis of biodiversity on Earth.