The debate about why dinosaurs became extinct has been resolved for decades. truly? To this day, some (a few) scientists disagree with the theory that an asteroid impact would have killed the animals. And now artificial intelligence has joined them.
Extinction of dinosaurs
- The theory accepted by science is that an asteroid colliding with Earth caused a mass extinction of the dinosaurs.
- The crater resulting from this impact has already been identified.
- Furthermore, fossils have been found from the same day of the dramatic event.
- However, some argue that although the impact was devastating, the extinction of the dinosaurs was a slow process and resulted from a natural imbalance, as a result of volcanic activities.
- They point out that 1.3 million cubic kilometers of basalt, known as the Deccan Traps, were deposited around the same time.
- Climate changes resulting from gases that accompanied the explosions played a major role in extinction.
Which side of the argument does artificial intelligence stand on?
To answer this question, a graduate student at Dartmouth University in the US fed the artificial intelligence geological and climate data from that time, as well as fossil records of animals.
The system, developed by Alex Cox and his supervisor, Dr. Brenhen Keller, analyzed changes in the levels of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere, and the consequences of this on the temperature of the planet, over a period of 2 million years before and after the end. From the Cretaceous period.
The technology then came up with 300,000 different scenarios and highlighted which ones were most likely to have actually happened. The conclusion was that the asteroid impact made relatively little difference to atmospheric carbon and sulfur levels, although it may have disrupted the food chain in other ways.
Furthermore, the AI stated that the climate changes necessary for the mass extinction were most likely the result of volcanic activity. The study was published in Science Magazine.
Our model worked with the data independently and without human bias to determine how much carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide would be needed to produce the climate and carbon cycle perturbations we see in the geologic record.
Dr. Brenhen Keller, Dartmouth University
Feedback from the scientific community
Scientists have criticized the study that came to an artificial intelligence conclusion about the extinction of dinosaurs. They claim that the way a question is phrased can shape a technology’s response.
Experts also questioned the data on global temperatures fed into the system. And remember that even if the asteroid doesn’t affect the composition of the atmosphere much, it could cause animals to die in other ways.
Information is from IFLScience.
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