Scientists have discovered a well-preserved leg of a dinosaur that dates back the story to the day of an asteroid strike. Know what scientists have found.
We all have often heard about the giant asteroid strike on Earth around 66 million years ago, which killed of all the dinosaurs. This was the massive asteroid Chicxulub and it played a crucial role in the extinction of dinosaurs as well as a wide range of other environmental and biotic organisms. However, no solid proof was ever found that an asteroid killed dinosaurs. Till now, it seems. Scientists have recently found a well-preserved leg of a dinosaur, considered to be from the time when the asteroid hit the Earth. The dinosaur’s limb is complete with skin found from the emerging fossil site of Tanis in the US State of North Dakota. But it’s not the long survived fossil that is holding prime importance, it’s actually the representation of the actual day when a giant asteroid struck Earth.
The discovered dinosaur fossil and several other ancient specimens were actually killed and entombed on the very day of the asteroid strike. There are very few dinosaur remains that have been found in the rocks to study the impact of the asteroid, and to have a specimen from that era would be extraordinary in itself, BBC reported. Sir David Attenborough, a biologist, natural historian and broadcaster will review this newly found dinosaur fossil.
It’s not just the dinosaur’s fossil..
Along with the dinosaur’s leg fossil, scientists have found a fish that breathed in the impact debris of the asteroid as it rained down from the sky around 66 million years ago. Besides these, there is a fossil turtle, remains of small mammals, skin from a horned triceratops; the embryo of a flying pterosaur inside its egg. These fish fossils and sturgeon are the keys to discovering more about that day, as they have small particles of molten rock stuck in their gills, which suggested that fish would have breathed in the particles as they entered the river. These motel rock particles have been linked chemically and by radiometric dating to the Mexican impact location.
Professor Phil Manning at Manchester explained to BBC that “We were able to pull apart the chemistry and identify the composition of that material. All the evidence, all of the chemical data, from that study strongly suggests that we’re looking at a piece of the impactor; of the asteroid that ended it for the dinosaurs.”
Though, it’s known that a giant 12-km wide asteroid Chicxulub hit the Earth to cause the last mass extinction. And according to scientists, the impact site has been identified in the Gulf of Mexico. However, the main question is whether the found dinosaur fossil suggests that they died on the actual day of the asteroid strike? According to BBC’s report, “Tanis team thinks it very likely did, given the limb’s position in the dig sediments.” But Professor Steve Busatte from Edinburgh University is still somewhat sceptical about the exact time. He suggests that there is a possibility that animals that had died before the asteroid impact were ‘exhumed by the violence on the day’. But surely these fossils pave the further way to understanding the asteroid strike which ended the era of dinosaurs and heralded the rise of mammals like us.