While we still have some big animals on Earth, such as the elephant, whales, or sharks, among others, that’s nothing compared with the so-called megafauna our planet housed a few million years ago. According to the scientists, those gigantic animals suddenly disappeared, and, in a new theory that the researchers at the University of Kansas postulated, a supernova was the culprit for the death of Earth’s megafauna about 2.5 million years ago.
A supernova is the explosion of a star at the end of its life cycle. That powerful burst of solar mass is commonly affecting the planets or companion stars hosted by the exploding celestial body. However, in their new study, the scientists found out that a nearby supernova might have caused the death of the Earth’s megafauna approximately 2.5 million years ago.
In previous studies, the researchers hypothesized that the megafauna extinction has to be linked to build-ups of polar ice and the corresponding drop in sea levels. But now, the scientists believe that the radiations from a nearby supernova caused the death of the megafauna.
Supernova Might Have Killed Earth’s Megafauna 2.5 Million Years Ago
It is scientifically proven that, when a star explodes, it releases stellar material and plenty of radiations such as muons that can kill living creatures. The researchers at the University of Kansas believe that had already happened about 2.5 million years ago when a nearby supernova killed Earth’s megafauna.
The scientists stated that one or more supernovae in the vicinity of our planet (a few light years away from us) might have triggered cancers in living creatures on our planet. The researchers obtained irrefutable evidence that at least one supernova affected the life on Earth about 2.6 million years ago, as the team found evidence of supernova activity.
In short, even though it’s far from being a certainty, the new theory that a supernova might have killed Earth’s megafauna 2.5 million years ago is fascinating.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.