The astonishing link between the extinction of the dinosaurs and grapes. What scientists say

The extinction of the dinosaurs, as a result of the impact with a giant asteroid, triggered a mass extinction that changed the course of life on Earth and caused a “reset” of the forest, which led to the spread of grapes, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Plants.

The extinction of the dinosaurs favored the spread of grapes, a study shows. PHOTO archive

New species of fossilized grapes, between 60 and 19 million years old, were discovered by a team of researchers from several American museums and universities, notes Agerpres, citing EFE.

Among these species are the oldest grapes ever discovered in the Western Hemisphere.

Based on these discoveries (made in Colombia, Panama and Peru), researchers were able to deepen their knowledge about how the family of this popular fruit spread around the world after the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

The researchers point out that it is rare for soft tissues, such as those of fruits, to be preserved in fossilized form, with scientists usually conducting studies on their seeds, which are more likely to fossilize.

They recalled that the first seed remains were found in India and were about 66 million years old, around the time a giant asteroid hit Earth and triggered a mass extinction that changed the course of life on Earth. our planet.

The researchers hypothesized that the extinction of the dinosaurs would have affected forests, as large animals often alter the ecosystems around them.

Most likely, dinosaurs destroyed trees, and the forests were much less dense than today.

The opportunities that arose after the extinction of the dinosaurs

The forests that appeared after the extinction of the dinosaurs provided an opportunity for some plants, and the subsequent diversification of mammals and birds contributed to the dispersion of grapes by spreading their seeds.

Until now, no fossilized remains of grapes had been found in South America. The first to be discovered by researchers were in the Colombian Andes. But after further research, in Central and South America, scientists found more remains of grapes, in Colombia, Panama and Peru, which are estimated to be between 60 and 19 million years old.

Fabiany Herrera, a paleobotanist at the Field Museum in Chicago and lead author of the study, says the fossil record shows “that grapes are a very hardy order. It is a group that has suffered numerous extinctions in the region of Central and South America, but has managed to adapt and survive in other parts of the world.”

“We always think of animals, of dinosaurs, because they were the most affected, but the extinction also affected the plant to a very large extente”, explained the specialist.

Drawing a parallel with what the disappearance of the dinosaurs meant, considering the mass extinction that the Earth is currently facing, such studies are very valuable because they reveal information about biodiversity crises and the evolution of forests, the researchers emphasize.