clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

New study finds fossils from the 'day the dinosaurs died'

Newly discovered fossils may reveal the exact day that the dinosaurs died 66 years ago, according to a new study.
Newly discovered fossils may reveal the exact day that the dinosaurs died 66 years ago, according to a new study.
Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Newly discovered fossils may reveal the exact day that the dinosaurs died 66 million years ago, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • Scientists revealed at the end of last month a new fossil discovery of jumbled, fossilized dinosaurs that were killed in “a tsunami-like wave and a torrent of rocks, sand and glass buried them alive,” according to USA Today.
  • The fossils were discovered to be from 66 million years ago in what is now North Dakota. The animals reportedly died after an asteroid hit what is now present-day Mexico, according to the study.
  • The study found a “graveyard of fish, mammals, insects and a dinosaur,” which is the first of its kind because it comes from the exact day that the dinosaurs were wiped out, according to the study’s lead author, Robert DePalma.
  • “This is the first mass death assemblage of large organisms anyone has found associated with the (asteroid impact)," said DePalma, who works as a curator at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History.

Bigger picture: DePalma said in a statement that there’s nowhere else on Earth where you can “find such a collection consisting of a large number of species representing different ages of organisms and different stages of life, all of which died at the same time, on the same day.”

  • DePalma was originally disappointed when he found very little at the fossil site. But then he started digging a little bit more and found fossils covered in little glass balls, which were signs that the fossils had been blown into the air by an asteroid, according to The Bismark Tribune.
  • “His team has determined that the jumble of fossilized plants and animals were deposited there by a surge of an ancient inland ocean — all washed up in the minutes or hours after a huge asteroid struck Earth, landing eons ago in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula,” The Bismark Tribune reported.
  • The findings represent the first time that a heavy amount of evidence of a single, destructive event has been found in one place.