It is one of several amazing discoveries at a unique fossil site at Hale Creek Formation in North Dakota that has preserved the remains of the catastrophic moment that ended the dinosaur era – a milestone in the history of the planet. turn.
Fossils The wreckage also includes sucking fish. Strike, a tortoise with a stick and a leg that may have belonged to a dinosaur that witnessed an asteroid attack.
De Palma, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Manchester in the UK and an adjunct professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Florida Atlantic, first started playing tennis in 2012, known as the Fossil Site.
Dusty, exposed plains are the exact opposite. with What the site looked like at the end of the Cretaceous. At the moment, the American Midwest There was a swampy rainforest, and an inland sea that has since disappeared – called the Western Inland Seaway – which now runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
Tanis is more than 2,000 miles from the Chicxulub effects pit launched by an asteroid hitting the coast of Mexico, but early discoveries at this location convinced de Palma that it provides rare evidence that dinosaurs What is the reason for the end of the era?
The site is home to thousands of well-preserved fish fossils, which de Palma believed would be buried alive by homeless sediments as a huge body of water moved from the planet’s invasion to an inland seaway. was done. Unlike tsunamis, which can take hours to reach the ground after an earthquake in the ocean, these moving bodies of water, called seashells, come out immediately after a large asteroid hits the ocean.
“One by one, the evidence began to gather and the story began to change. It was a breakthrough, like the Sirlock Holmes investigation,” de Palma said.
“It tells a moment-by-moment story of what happens immediately after the effect and you get such a great resource for scientific research.”
Many of the latest discoveries made in the documentary have not been published in scientific journals.
Michael Benton, a professor of vertebrate biology at the University of Bristol, who worked as a scientific consultant in the documentary, said that while it was “a matter of convention,” peer review before new scientific claims appeared on television. Should take, he said. And many other biologists agree that the fossil site really represents the “last days” of dinosaurs.
He said via email, “Some experts have said, ‘Well, it could be a day later or a month earlier … but I prefer the simplest explanation, which is that it really Documents the day the asteroid collided in Mexico, “he said in an email.
The cosmic origin
“In this amber, we have found many spheres that were basically frozen over time, because in amber, like a worm that is perfectly safe, when these spheres enter the amber, the water does not reach them. Dust, and they’re perfectly safe, “he said.
It’s like “getting a sample vial, running it back in time and getting the sample from the impact site and then saving it for science,” de Palma. Said.
They were able to locate several small molten fragments of rock within a circle of glass. De Palma said most of these small rock fragments were rich in calcium – possibly from limestone beneath the Yucatan Peninsula.
“But the two of them were very different in structure. You had spikes in chromium and nickel and some other elements that are common only in meteoritic materials and the fragments that are based on our initial analysis … almost certainly. Are of cosmic origin. ”
Jim Garron, Goddard’s chief scientist who has studied Impact Criterion, said: It will blow your mind. ” On Earth and Mars.
Research on Amber’s grave Spheroids are not published in peer-reviewed journals. During peer review, scientists strongly comment on each other’s work to ensure that it stands up to scrutiny. De Palma said in a peer review A paper on preliminary results will be published “in the coming months”.
An extraordinarily well-preserved dinosaur leg with skin, another discovery of the tennis site is included in the documentary, which was first aired in the UK in April, and made its way into the ancient scientific world. The head is raised.
Very few Cretaceous fossils have been found in the upper rocks of the geological record, and it is possible that the limbs – Discovered by a small plant-eating dinosaur de Palma and his companions from Thessilosaurus – could have died the day the asteroid collided. The protection of soft tissues, such as the skin, indicates that his body had no time to decompose before being buried in the sediment.
“The only two confirmed scenarios here are that he died in the surge or that he died immediately before (the asteroid attack) but so close to the time that he did not have time to rot. This is not something that It died years ago and was reworked. That doesn’t happen with soft tissue. ”
A detailed analysis of the bones of the dinosaur’s legs can shed light on the circumstances under which its effects were felt.
Other cool items found at the site include a fossil pterosaur egg, which was first discovered in North America. This shows that the eggs of large flying reptiles were as soft as many of today’s reptiles. A fossil tortoise with a wooden stick in its body is evidence that the creature was killed during an aquifer-driven water surge.
The work being done in Tennessee not only reveals the details of the jaw-dropping details of what happened on the day the asteroid collided, but also provides insight. In an incident that led to mass extinction and how this extinction came to light after that. De Palma hopes it will provide a framework for thinking about today’s climate crisis.
“The fossil record provides us with a window into the details of the global threat and the response of the Earth’s biota to that threat,” de Palma said. “It gives us … a crystal ball that looks back over time and enables us to apply it to today’s climate and environmental crisis.”
“Both are shocking, but also a benefit to us. Because by studying this impactful event in more detail, we can better prepare to take care of our world right now.”