However sad that maybe, it was also a great boon for another species – the frogs.
A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that the frog population significantly increased right after the dinosaurs’ extinction. Previous research had suggested that frog evolution took off 35 million years earlier and had nothing to do with the dinosaur apocalypse.
75% of all life on Earth was destroyed
In an effort to learn more about frog evolution, researchers David Blackburn and Peng Zhang created a new phylogenetic tree for frogs. (phylogenetic trees are like family trees, but at the species level, and driven by genetic data) . The researchers looked at 95 genes from the DNA of 156 frog species to form genetic relationships and develop evolutionary timelines. They found out although frogs were present for hundreds of millions of years, it wasn’t until the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (dinosaur extinction) that their population really expanded.
This is due to the fact the asteroid destroyed about 75 % of all life on Earth and destroyed most ecosystems. As time passed and the ecosystem healed itself, the survivors of the event used these re-emerging habitats to their advantage, and the frogs were one of the most benefitted from these newly available niches.
With dinosaurs gone, frogs became the most diverse vertebras with more than 6,700 known species. This research shows about 88 percent of all the frog species originated from 3 of the frog lineages (hyloidea, microhylidae and the natatanura) which survived the extinction event.
The co-author of this book, David Wake states “It’s these three lineages that were at the right place and the right time and they just took off like crazy, rapidly increased in their use of habitats and their use of resources.” He also said, “This certainly draws renewed attention to the positive aspects of mass extinctions: They provide ecological opportunity for new things. Just wait for the next grand extinction and life will take off again. In which direction it will take off, you don’t know.”