The idea that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs was first proposed in 1980 by physicist Luis Alvarez and his son, Walter, a geologist. They said that dust and soot thrown into the air would have blocked out the sunlight. Temperatures would have plummeted, and many animals, including the dinosaurs, would have frozen to death.
Prinn noted that while there was a large extinction, not all animals fared equally badly. The great land reptiles and many kinds of sea life were decimated, but many mammals and plants survived reasonably well. He said his acid rain theory may explain "the peculiar selectivity of the extinctions."
Because limestone would neutralize the acid, fish in limestone lakes might have lived. Hibernating animals deep in burrows might also have waited out the worst of the acid rain storm, and eggs laid in the ground could also have survived.
Plants would have been killed, but their seeds would have remained to sprout after the acid storm cleared. However, plant-eating animals, such as large dinosaurs, would have starved or been asphyxiated.