April 9, 2022 | 0 comments
Palaeontologists have discovered fragments of the asteroid that brought about the demise of the dinosaurs.
Finding insects and other small prehistoric creatures trapped in amber is one thing, but now scientists believe that they have gone one better by discovering tiny slivers of the very space rock that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago.
The object, which struck the planet in what is now Mexico, has long remained a topic of study and debate, with scientists attempting to determine what type of object it was and what it was made of.
“If you’re able to actually identify it, and we’re on the road to doing that, then you can actually say, ‘amazing, we know what it was,'” said palaeontologist Robert DePalma.
The shards, which were found at an excavation site in North Dakota, were believed to have been preserved in tree sap at the time of the impact and then fossilized over millions of years.
If it is conclusively confirmed that they are indeed from the space rock which wiped out the dinosaurs, it will offer up some of the strongest evidence yet of the nature of this devastating impactor.
“To see a piece of the culprit is just a goose-bumpy experience,” said DePalma.
A video featuring talks between DePalma and prominent NASA scientists, as well as a BBC documentary about the find narrated by Sir David Attenborough, will be broadcast in the next few weeks.
A version will also be shown on the PBS series “Nova” later in the month.