July 14 (UPI) -- Researchers said Tuesday that organisms in the ocean's abyss were able to recover quickly after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event which killed off dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
An asteroid hit earth at the end of the Cretaceous period creating the Chicxulub Crater in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, and wiping out 75 percent of species on earth, including non-avian dinosaurs.
Organisms living on the seafloor of the Chicxulub Crater did not experience as much extinction from the event 66 million years ago and, with some changes to community structure, were able to recover quickly, researchers report in a study published this week in the journal Geology.
"By comparing the end-Cretaceous record to earlier events like the end Permian mass extinction -- the so-called 'Great Dying' when 90 percent of life on Earth went extinct -- geoscientists can determine how different environmental changes affect life," researchers said in a press release.
The new evidence was discovered after a joint expedition by scientists from the International Ocean Discovery Program and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program in April and May 2016. Scientists drilled into the Chicxulub impact crater and recovered rock cores that show the impact from the event.
The scientists then used new evidence of trace fossils from burrowing organisms that lived in the seafloor a few years after the impact, found during the expedition, to show that the seafloor ecosystem was able to quickly recover.
By comparison, it took seafloor burrowing organisms several million years to recover after the end-Permian mass extinction that occurred about 254 million years ago. That event wiped out about 96 percent of marine life and 70 percent of terrestrial species.
Previous research has shown that the Permian extinction was caused by global warming that left animals unable to breathe.