Volcanic winters weakened dinosaurs before the asteroid.

According to a recent study conducted by a group of academics from Italy, Norway, Canada, and the US, dinosaurs may have endured several "volcanic winters" that left them vulnerable before going extinct. 

These conclusions are based on an examination of sulfur and fluorine gases that were trapped in prehistoric volcanic rocks from the supervolcano Deccan Traps. 

This volcano erupted around 200,000 years before the asteroid impact that is most commonly thought to be responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs.

According to the study, the emission of these gasses may have resulted in a dip in global temperatures of up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). 

This finding adds to the continuing discussion among scientists and paleontologists over the exact reason why the dinosaurs became extinct.

The findings support the "press-pulse extinction model," which postulates that a number of interrelated variables contributed to the extinction event.

Don Baker, a geologist at McGill University in Montreal and co-author of the study, said, "Our research demonstrates that climatic conditions were almost certainly unstable, with repeated volcanic winters that could have lasted decades, prior to the extinction of the dinosaurs." 

"This major extinction event that led to the evolution of our species and the rise of mammals is explained by our work."

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