Fossils depict day asteroid killed dinosaurs



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Scientists in the United States say they have found an unprecedented amount of fossils from a number of creatures that would have died, according to scientists. minutes after the asteroid hit which scientists believe sealed the end of dinosaurs on Earth 66 million years ago.

A team of paleontologists gathered by the University of Kansas says they have found a "main lode of fossils of exquisitely preserved animals and fish" in the state of Hawaii, according to a study published on Monday by the scientific publication Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences. of North Dakota, in the USA.

The researchers say they found evidence that the asteroid, which reached present-day Mexico's territory and spawned the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan Peninsula, caused rains of flaming fragments that fossilized animals, left traces of burned trees, evidence of a tsunami in earth and samples of molten amber. Some fish fossils had streaks of hot glass on their gills.

With the impact of the asteroid, which has generated earthquakes of greater proportions than any other nowadays, 75% of all life on Earth has been extinguished. The researchers believe that the event generated seismic shocks that resulted in the rapid emergence of a massive torrent of water and debris coming from an arm of the so-called Western Inner Sea, which cut across the continent.

In the formation called Hell Creek in North Dakota, a "tangled mass of freshwater fish, terrestrial vertebrates, trees, twigs, trunks, marine ammonia, and other creatures was found," said study lead researcher Robert DePalma .

Some fish would have ingested manure associated with the Chicxulub event, suggesting that seismic shocks hit the area where North Dakota is located in a few minutes.

"Sedimentation has occurred so fast that everything is preserved in three dimensions without being crushed," said study co-author David Burnham. "It's like an avalanche that breaks down almost like a liquid and then turns into concrete. They were killed immediately because of the violence of the water," he said.

Fossils found include what scientists believe to be as yet unidentified species of fish and some that are the best specimens of others already known. "We look at the moment-to-moment record of one of the most remarkable impact events in Earth's history. No other place has records like this," DePalma said.

"This event, in particular, is directly associated with all of us – indeed, to all mammals on Earth, because it was essentially from there that we inherited the planet. [A Terra] has become a planet of mammals instead of a planet of dinosaurs. "

Parallel to this research, a team of scientists at the University of Amsterdam claims to have found tracks of dinosaurs that refer to just before the disappearance of these animals. Researcher Jan Smit said the footprints – one of the hadrosaurus herbivorous and the other of a small carnivore – would be "definitive proof that the dinosaurs were very much alive during the time of the impact […] they ran around, chasing each other, "he remarked.

RC / ap / afp

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Deutsche Welle
Deutsche Welle is Germany's international broadcaster and produces independent journalism in 30 languages.

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