The latest clue in the continuing search for the culprit that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is more evidence that they may have been done in by volcanoes.

New studies reported in a recent issue of Nature suggest the prehistoric behemoths may have vanished about the same time the volanic provinces of Western India formed.

Apparently the accumulation of flood basalts _ sheets of lava _ that spread for miles in an ancient and devastating eruption, coincided with the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Hundreds of plant species also vanished at that time.

These sheets of hardened lava form the Deccan Plateau on the peninsula of India and are estimated to be about 65 million years old, according to argon-dating techniques conducted by scientists from the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris.

Corroborating evidence from American researchers at Oregon State University indicate the thickest layers probably formed at that time. But geophysicist Robert Duncan cautions it may still be too early to say the dinosaurs died when the volcanoes erupted.