(CNN)Dinosaurs were doing well and could have continued to dominate Planet Earth if they had not been wiped out by an asteroid, new research has found.
After emerging during the Triassic period some 230 million years ago, dinosaurs occupied every continent and were dominant in most terrestrial ecosystems, until they were rendered extinct by the asteroid impact 66 million years ago.
Some scientists believe the creatures were beginning to lose their edge and were already heading for extinction when the asteroid hit Earth at the end of the late Cretaceous period.
But researchers from the UK's University of Bath are hoping to put this theory to bed. Gathering diverse and up-to-date data, researchers used statistical analysis to assess whether the dinosaurs were still able to produce new species up until their untimely demise.
"What we found is that the dinosaurs were still dominant, they were still widespread and still doing really well," Joe Bonsor, first author of the study, said in a statement.
"If the asteroid impact had never happened then they might not have died out and they would have continued after the Cretaceous," Bonsor, a PhD student at London's Natural History Museum and the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, added.
During their more than 150 million years on earth, dinosaurs evolved to take many shapes and forms -- some dinosaurs were tiny, while others measured over 100 feet. Experts think diversity was the key to their dominance on Earth, with some boasting armors, crests, teeth and even feathers.
Previous research had suggested that this diversity was starting to decline, and that dinosaurs were beginning to lose their dominance.