“It’s like a time capsule of the end of the world,” reports USA Today:

66 million years ago, in what’s now North Dakota, a group of animals died together, only a few minutes after a huge asteroid smashed into the Earth near present-day Mexico. Scientists Friday announced the discovery of the jumbled, fossilized remains of the animals, all killed when a tsunami-like wave and a torrent of rocks, sand and glass buried them alive.

This graveyard of fish, mammals, insects and a dinosaur is a unique, first-of-its-kind discovery from the exact day that life on Earth changed forever, according to the study lead author Robert DePalma, a curator at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History… DePalma added that the find provides spectacular new detail to what is perhaps the most important event to ever affect life on Earth… The asteroid impact and resulting mass extinction, which scientists call the K-T boundary, marked the end of the Cretaceous Era. The aftereffects of that infamous asteroid collision killed 75 percent of all species on Earth, including the dinosaurs. It’s the planet’s most recent mass extinction.

Scientists believe the asteroid was 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) wide, the BBC reports, and that it “hurled billions of tonnes of molten and vaporised rock into the sky in all directions – and across thousands of kilometres.” DePalma argues that moment “is tied directly to all of us — to every mammal on Earth, in fact. Because this is essentially where we inherited the planet.

“Nothing was the same after that impact. It became a planet of mammals rather than a planet of dinosaurs.”

Share on Google+

of this story at Slashdot.

…read more

Source:: Slashdot