The Amazon rainforest is famous for the biodiversity that it houses. It is often referred to as the lungs of Earth. It fulfills more than 20 percent of the oxygen that the world needs. There are discussions about how the Amazon rainforest was formed. A new study has said that an asteroid could be behind the rise of the Amazon rainforest. It was the same asteroid that eliminated dinosaurs from Earth. The impact of space rock was such that it gave birth to the Amazon rainforest that covers parts of Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and countries in the south American region. The study involved a detailed analysis of thousands of leaves and fossil pollen. It said that cataclysmic asteroid impact gave rise to the Amazon rainforest.
Cretaceous is a period that ended 65 million years ago. It is said to be the longest geological period. The space rock destroyed almost 75 percent of Earth’s terrestrial life. This resulted in the restructuring of tropical forests on the planet. This was because of the absence of palaeobotanical exploration. The asteroid also reshaped the evolution of Earth’s ecosystems that is so diverse today. The study involved researchers from the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution. They studied fossil pollen and leaves that were retrieved from Colombia. This helped them to characterize the impact of asteroid that changed the tropical forests in south American countries.
Researchers noted that the asteroid’s impact resulted in large-scale changes in the composition of species. It also changed the structure of the forest and extinctions were rampant. Plant diversity was declined significantly due to the impact. Seed-bearing plants were badly affected by the space rock’s impact. The study said that forests recovered later. But it took almost six million years to recover fully. But this led to a transition. The forests were mainly dominated by flowering plants and not seed plants, thus closing the canopy structure. The recovery of forests saw the vertical distribution of plant biodiversity. The Amazon rainforest today covers an area of 5.5 million sq km.