WASHINGTON - An international team of scientists found that a collision in the asteroid belt 470 million years ago diversified life on Earth.

The study published on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances showed that the breakup of a major asteroid between Jupiter and Mars filled the entire inner solar system with enormous amounts of dust.

The dust led to a unique ice age and, subsequently, to higher levels of biodiversity, according to the study.

The blocking effect of the dust partially stopped sunlight reaching Earth and an ice age began, and the climate changed from being more or less homogeneous to becoming divided into climate zones: from Arctic conditions at the poles, to tropical conditions at the equator, according to the study.

Then, the high diversity among invertebrates came as an adaptation to the new climate.