• Question: How did dinsaurs get extinct? And is there a living mammoth alive?And are mammoths acestors of elepants?Sorry for all the questions i just really want to find out :)

    Asked by purplebee2002 to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Maria, Shane on 14 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 14 Nov 2013:

      Excellent questions. Never worry about asking questions, no matter how stupid you think they are! That’s what science is all about!

      So, there are a couple of reasons why we think dinosaurs went extinct.

      1. A giant object (meteor or asteroid) could have hit earth, killing a lot of animals with the shock and then blocking out the sun, sokilling most of the food for whoever survived.
      2. It could have been a much slower change in the climate of the earth, maybe from a volcanic eruption here on earth, which changed the atmosphere so much that most of the dinosaurs died.

      These kind of ‘Mass Extinction Events’ have happened a few times in the history of the earth. Some are because of these huge things, but others are much slower and are caused by changes to the earths orbit or something else we’re not quite sure of.

      However, not all dinosaurs went extinct! All birds came from dinosaurs originally. And did you know that crocodiles and alligators were probably around at the same time as dinosaurs! So were turtles! Though not of the same group as dinosaurs biologically, this kinda makes them dinosaurs right?!
      Mammoths are a different story. Yep, you got it right; they’re ancestors of elephants! They came MUCH later than dinosaurs….
      Some believe us humans hunted them all to extinction…..
      Others believe they were going extinct anyway because of a changing climate anyway and we just helped them along the way…..
      But some completely whole frozen mammoths have been found in Russia . Scientists are working on trying to bring them back by slowly breeding them with elephants…! It would be pretty cool to have them back !

    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 14 Nov 2013:

      Purplebee you are a proper scientist in the making with all your questions! 🙂

      Mammoths were such interesting creatures – they were just so large, and resilient too! But they were really adapted to their cold, hostile environment – I’m not sure they would thrive so well with all that fur in our global warming times!

      But going back to your elephant question – scientists were able to trace back through DNA and make an elephant family tree, going all the way back to mammoths! Did you know that mammoths are actually more closely related to Asian elephants rather than African elephants? I wonder was this because of the colder temperatures in Asia?

      Another great question!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 15 Nov 2013:

      How did dinosaurs become extinct… it happened so long ago that it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of it, so scientists have many possible explanations for their extinction. It might have been a big meteorite that crashed into Earth, and changed the climatic conditions so dramatically that dinosaurs could not survive. Ash and gas spewing from volcanoes suffocated many of the dinosaurs, diseases might have wiped out entire populations of dinosaurs, or food chain imbalances might have lead to the starvation of the dinosaurs. It’s a sad story for all these giant creatures! Loads of questions purplebee, that’s excellent – you have a very inquisitive mind, which makes for a great scientist 🙂 Do you aspire to be a scientist? Hope we answered your question!