Although researchers in past revealed that the earliest mammals were considerably active during night, up until now, there was no explanation regarding the change of habit. Now, a group of scientists has revealed that following dinosaurs’ extinctions more than 65 million years ago, mammals transitioned to become more active during day.
The latest finding comes thanks to a collaboration by researchers from University College London and Tel Aviv University’s Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. The group of scientists analyzed the actively patterns for over 2400 mammal species and then designed a computer algorithm to trace the evolution to find out the point where mammals became more active during the day. Both results revealed similar timeline and pointed at the extinction of the dinosaurs.
The analysis revealed that the transition of the mammals weren’t immediate and the switched occurred through evolution over a period that consists of millions of years. The algorithms revealed that the transition occurred between 52 and 33 million years ago.
Talking about the latest discovery, aor, a doctoral student at UCL and Tel Aviv said, “We were very surprised to find such close correlation between the disappearance of dinosaurs and the beginning of daytime activity in mammals, but we found the same result unanimously using several alternative analyses.”
Scientists also revealed that the changes likely to have occurred due to the extinction of dinosaurs which made the daytime less threatening and offered other species an opportunity to adapt to the daytime activity.
Kate Jones, professor at University College London said, “It’s very difficult to relate behavior changes in mammals that lived so long ago to ecological conditions at the time, so we can’t say that the dinosaurs dying out caused mammals to start being active in the daytime. However, we see a clear correlation in our findings.”