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By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent Kate Kelland, Health And Science Correspondent Thu Mar 4, 2:07 pm ET

LONDON (Reuters) – A giant asteroid smashing into Earth is the only plausible explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs, a global scientific team said on Thursday, hoping to settle a row that has divided experts for decades.

A panel of 41 scientists from across the world reviewed 20 years’ worth of research to try to confirm the cause of the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) extinction, which created a “hellish environment” around 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all species on the planet.

Scientific opinion was split over whether the extinction was caused by an asteroid or by volcanic activity in the Deccan Traps in what is now India, where there were a series of super volcanic eruptions that lasted around 1.5 million years.

The new study, conducted by scientists from Europe, the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan and published in the journal Science, found that a 15-kilometre (9 miles) wide asteroid slamming into Earth at Chicxulub in what is now Mexico was the culprit.

“We now have great confidence that an asteroid was the cause of the KT extinction. This triggered large-scale fires, earthquakes measuring more than 10 on the Richter scale, and continental landslides, which created tsunamis,” said Joanna Morgan of Imperial College London, a co-author of the review.

The asteroid is thought to have hit Earth with a force a billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

Morgan said the “final nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs” came when blasted material flew into the atmosphere, shrouding the planet in darkness, causing a global winter and “killing off many species that couldn’t adapt to this hellish environment.”

Scientists working on the study analyzed the work of paleontologists, geochemists, climate modelers, geophysicists and sedimentologists who have been collecting evidence about the KT extinction over the last 20 years.

Geological records show the event that triggered the dinosaurs’ demise rapidly destroyed marine and land ecosystems, they said, and the asteroid hit “is the only plausible explanation for this.”

Peter Schulte of the University of Erlangen in Germany, a lead author on the study, said fossil records clearly show a mass extinction about 65.5 million years ago — a time now known as the K-Pg boundary.

Despite evidence of active volcanism in India, marine and land ecosystems only showed minor changes in the 500,000 years before the K-Pg boundary, suggesting the extinction did not come earlier and was not prompted by eruptions.

The Deccan volcano theory is also thrown into doubt by models of atmospheric chemistry, the team said, which show the asteroid impact would have released much larger amounts of sulphur, dust and soot in a much shorter time than the volcanic eruptions could have, causing extreme darkening and cooling.

Gareth Collins, another co-author from Imperial College, said the asteroid impact created a “hellish day” that signaled the end of the 160-million-year reign of the dinosaurs, but also turned out to be a great day for mammals.

“The KT extinction was a pivotal moment in Earth’s history, which ultimately paved the way for humans to become the dominant species on Earth,” he wrote in a commentary on the study.

(Collins has created a website at http://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEffects/Chicxulub.html which allows readers to see the effects of the asteroid impact.)

(Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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As I promised all of you, here is the video of our performance (click here to read more) last month. The quality is not as good as the original video since my dad had to decrease the size of the file in order to upload it on YouTube. The video is also quite noisy because of the noise made by the inflatable tent blower which they used as the roof for the stage. If my dad uploads a better version of the performance, I’ll let all of you know. This video shows all four of us (Ahmad Ali, Anisah Afifah, Aeshah Adlina and I) singing the Animals Love To Hear Quran nasheed.

During the performance, we also sang the Khalifah Song and Alhamdulillah. I hope that you shall enjoy the video.

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Hmmm… seems like nobody hit the bulls eye. The answer is actually a…

…SNAIL!!!

Yup, it’s a small snail sitting on the windscreen. Somewhere on the Karak Highway, it glided to the roof of the car and most probably blown away because when we arrived at the rest area I searched for the snail but it was nowhere to be found. I was sitting at the front seat and was able to snap a few photos of it. Scroll down to have a look!

We found it on the hiding behind the wiper after passing the Gombak toll.

We found it hiding behind the wiper after passing the Gombak toll.

Later it moved from left to the right side of the windscreen and started to climb.

Later it moved from left to the right side of the windscreen and started to climb.

A better view of the climbing snail

A better view of the climbing snail

It's already climbed higher than it's previous position but climbing at a very slow pace.

It had already climbed higher than it's previous position but climbing at a very slow pace.

A few minutes later, it moved a few centimetres higher up. I guess it wanted to have a better view of the highway

A few minutes later, it moved a few centimetres higher up. I guess it wanted to have a better view of the highway

The snail can now feel the wind pushing it upwards

The snail can now feel the wind pushing it upwards

The snail's desire to get a better view drops while his fear of getting blown away suddenly struck it as it glided up the windscreen assisted by the 'kind wind'

The snail's desire to get a better view drops while his fear of getting blown away suddenly struck it as it glided up the windscreen assisted by the 'kind wind'

This was the last photo I was able to capture. Later, it glided up to the roof and disappeared. The poor old city snail who thought of moving to a nice town in Terengganu is now lost somewhere near the highway and had to learn to live the country ways. What a disappointment! 😦

Ps; I am now on my way to Terengganu accompanied by hopes of meeting Uncle Azahar at Zainun’s Nasi Ayam.

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Everybody has his or her own way to pass their free time. Some of us enjoy gardening, photography or even hunting for FedEx vans, trucks and aeroplanes like my little brother, Ahmad Ali (refer to ‘FedEx – Ali’s blog’).

My favourite pastime is doing craft works. It has been my favourite hobby since I was a little girl and my best craft teacher is no other than my mother. So far I had tried glass painting, weaving, clay modeling, pottery, simple beading and so much more.

Recently we decided to do some ‘plaster moulding’. It is rather tricky and a bit messy. The measurement must be exact and so is the timing for if not you might have to throw away the whole thing. The result are beautiful especially after they have been painted and how I love to paint them!

We’ve moulded all sorts of items in different shapes and sizes… from fairies to princesses, seahorses and fishes, glittering mirrors to useful trinket boxes while enjoying each moment spent together with mum and Aeshah, my little sister. We also moulded fridge magnets in the shapes of fruits, cute little bears and some lovely sea creatures.

And how I enjoyed painting them … How wonderful it is to see how the white plasters turned ‘alive’ after being painted in beautiful shades of colours.plaster2plaster1

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Two days ago my family and I went to the ‘Zoo Negara’ or the National Zoo. We were so excited especially my little brother, Ahmad Ali and my little sister, Anisah Afifah as it was their first visit to the zoo.

We arrived there at about 9:40 a.m. and headed straight for the ticket counter. The tickets cost RM15 for adults and RM6 for children. As we were crossing the bridge near the main entrance we saw tall giraffes – my siblings and I screamed with excitement. We rushed there and were welcome by a flock of milky storks.  What an awesome sight it was to see the beautiful birds flocking all around the lake. Next we were welcomed by elephants, Pademelons kangaroos and ostriches.

At the bird aviary we saw birds of all sizes and colours. I just love the colourful ‘burung nuri’ or alouette in French and we started to sing our favourite song- Alouette. Next we saw deers, lions, tigers, buffaloes, camels and many more.  It was nice to see the orangutans clinging to the pillars while sleeping in their ‘tree house’. Anyway some parts of the zoo were closed for repairs.

At the Savannah Walk, we saw another group of giraffes eating their food, zebras, antelopes and rhinos. We also saw a gigantic turtle that could be around two hundred years old. Next, we saw mousedeers, goats and a tapir. At the end of the Savannah Walk is the bear complex. There are Brown Bears, Malaysian Sun Bears, Asiatic Black Bears and Sloth Bears. Most of them are sleeping. Now I know why Winnie The Pooh is so lazy!

On the way to the  Multi-Animal Show, we saw monkeys and lessers in big cages swinging from branch to branch, fishes and humboldt penguins.  The show started four minutes late and the performers were three colourful macaws and two sea lions.

After the show, we headed towards the Children’s World which is something like a Petting Zoo. Among others there are birds, ponies, scorpions, chickens and porcupines. At the reptile and amphibian house we saw snakes, crocodiles, frog, terrapins, turtle and tortoise. We saw leopards and pumas but there was no jaguar- my little brother Ahmad Ali wanted to see a baby jaguar as in his favourite TV show ‘Go Diego Go’. Before heading home mum bought us delicious creamy ice-cream; I guess ice-cream to zoo is just like pop-corn to movies.

We had a wonderful time at the zoo and learn a lot of things too. Anyway I feel very sad to see run down buildings in the zoo complex. The government is proud of KLIA, the Petronas Twin Towers, The Sepang Curcuit etc  but look at our National Zoo- what a shame. I hope our government will see  the importance of getting the zoo in good shape for it is a very educational place to visit especially for kids like me. Not everybody can afford to pay the entrance fees to places like the KLCC Aquaria and other expensive places to learn about animals so the government has to take actions towards saving and upgrading the National Zoo for it is one of a few affordable places for family outing in KL. Furthermore the place is so beautiful especially the grand old trees, the lake and the streams.

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