Asteroid That Wiped Out The Dinosaurs Struck In Spring
Scientists have discovered a first-of-its-kind dinosaur fossil believed to be from an asteroid that caused their extinction.
The Chicxulub asteroid smashed into the earth 66 million years ago and left a 93-mile-wide crater in the Gulf of Mexico.
Now, remarkable discoveries in Tanis, North Dakota, made by University of Manchester palaeontologist Robert DePalma, could mark the first-ever evidence linked to its aftermath.
"This is the most incredible thing that we could possibly imagine here, the best case scenario… the one thing that we always wanted to find in this site and here we've got it," DePalma told the BBC.
"Here we've got a creature buried on the day of impact – we didn't know at that point yet if it had died during the impact, but now it looks like it probably did."
Researchers unearthed the fossilised dinosaur leg around 3,000km from the impact site, nicknamed "the dinosaur graveyard." Experts have suggested the fossil belonged to a Thescelosaurus, a small herbivore.
Dinosaur fossil from asteroid strike that caused extinction found, scientists claim - BBC Newswww.youtube.com
Professor Paul Barrett from London's Natural History Museum said: "It's a Thescelosaurus. It's from a group that we didn't have any previous record of what its skin looked like, and it shows very conclusively that these animals were very scaly, like lizards. They weren't feathered like their meat-eating contemporaries.
"This looks like an animal whose leg has simply been ripped off really quickly. There's no evidence on the leg of disease. There are no obvious pathologies, there's no trace of the leg being scavenged, such as bite marks or bits of it that are missing.
"So, the best idea that we have is that this is an animal that died more or less instantaneously."
For the last three years, Sir David Attenborough has been working on the upcoming documentary, Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough.
The BBC show will provide extensive footage from the Tanis site and take a further look at their newly discovered fossil. Attenborough said: "Tanis could be a place where the remains can give us an unprecedented window into the lives of the very last dinosaurs, and a minute-by-minute picture of what happened when the asteroid hit."
Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough will air on BBC One on April 15.
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