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Erin Ross Jun 20
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Volcanoes may have caused the mass extinction that started the age of dinosaurs

Smilosuchus gregorii and other crocodile-like reptiles may have been driven extinct by volcanoes (Nobu Tamura / Wikimedia Commons)

Before dinosaurs ruled Earth, something wiped out roughly 60% of all life on the planet. Past research showed that this extinction corresponded with a release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, possibly from a massive volcanic area, but researchers have struggled to pinpoint when eruptions occurred. A new study confirms there was volcanic activity at the same time as the extinction about 200 million years ago.