Tragedy for dinosaurs, opportunity for mammals, us

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WASHINGTON (AP) — New research pinpoints how the torch passed from one dominant creature on Earth to another, from the brutish dinosaur to the crafty mammal.

Two studies published Thursday in the journal Science better explain the Earth-shaking consequences of ago when a comet or asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago.

The crash seemed to end the reign of the dinosaurs. And it gave way to the age of mammals that probably started with a cute squirrel-like critter and eventually led to us.

Study author Paul Renne (REHN'-ee) of the University of California, Berkeley, said without this collision, humans probably wouldn't be here. The studies paint the picture of a shift in who rules planet Earth and who are now just fossils and fuel.

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