In DepthPaleontology

Does fossil site record dino-killing impact?

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Science  05 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6435, pp. 10-11
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6435.10

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A fossil site in North Dakota records a stunningly detailed picture of the devastation minutes after an asteroid slammed into Earth about 66 million years ago, a paper out this week argues. Geologists have theorized that the impact played a role in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period, when all the dinosaurs (except birds) vanished. At the site, 3000 kilometers from the impact in Mexico, the researchers say they have discovered the chaotic debris left when tsunamilike waves surged up a river valley. The jumbled mess of fossils includes freshwater sturgeon that apparently choked to death on glassy particles raining out of the sky from the impact fireball. If accepted, the find would be the first direct evidence of the killing and might settle the debate about whether dinosaurs were thriving right up until the cataclysm. But some researchers are skeptical.