Scientists have discovered a massive trove of fossils in North Dakota that appear to be from 66 million years ago when a giant meteor crashed into Earth off the coast of what is now Mexico.
The collision created a giant crater known as Chicxulub, and set about 70 percent of the world’s forests on fire, according to scientists. Giant tsunamis and earthquakes caused upheaval in other parts of the world.
The tumult is believed to have caused the extinction of dinosaurs.
A New Yorker article describing the discovery site in Bowman, N.D., said lead researcher Robert DePalma “identified the broken teeth and bones, including hatchling remains, of almost every dinosaur group known from Hell Creek. … He found, intact, an unhatched egg containing an embryo — a fossil of immense research value. The egg and the other remains suggested that dinosaurs and major reptiles were probably not staggering into extinction on that fateful day.”
DePalma and a team of paleontologists at the University of Kansas detail their findings in a paper made available to reporters Friday. The paper argues the seismic activity from the meteor was quick to reach North Dakota because of how the fossils have been preserved.
“The sedimentation happened so quickly everything is preserved in three dimensions — they’re not crushed,” said co-author David Burnham. “It’s like an avalanche that collapses almost like a liquid, then sets like concrete. They were killed pretty suddenly because of the violence of that water. We have one fish that hit a tree and was broken in half.”