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Fossil Of Dinosaur That Was Killed On The Day Giant Asteroid Hit Earth Found By Scientists

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Fossil Of Dinosaur That Was Killed On The Day Giant Asteroid Hit Earth Found By Scientists

Scientists have unearthed a fossil of a dinosaur believed to have killed in the asteroid strike which caused their extinction.

In the land before time, the world was home to wonderful, whacky, terrifying creatures. Then, 66 million years ago, an asteroid is believed to have crash-landed in Mexico and wiped out the dinosaurs

Palaeontologists are still discovering never-before-seen fossils to this day. For example, in Tanis, researchers found a remarkably preserved leg of a dinosaur.

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While it's widely accepted that a huge 12km-wide asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, causing the Chicxulub crater underneath the Yucatán Peninsula, there's no direct evidence to show for certain that its responsible for the extinction. Of course, scientists have been piecing together ancient history with fossils and other clues.

The dinosaur is believed to have been killed in the asteroid strike. Credit: BBC
The dinosaur is believed to have been killed in the asteroid strike. Credit: BBC

Tanis, located in the low hills of North Dakota around 3,000km from the impact site, is said to be a prehistoric graveyard for the dinosaurs who died that fateful day, entombed as a result of the hit.

Over the past three years, Sir David Attenborough has been working on Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough, chronicling 'the last day of the dinosaurs in astonishing detail'.

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As part of the programme, the show's team filmed extensively at Tanis, even taking a close look at a dinosaur leg which may date back to the extinction-level event.

Professor Paul Barrett, from London's Natural History Museum, said to BBC News: "It's a Thescelosaurus. It's from a group that we didn't have any previous record of what its skin looked like, and it shows very conclusively that these animals were very scaly like lizards. They weren't feathered like their meat-eating contemporaries.

Sir David Attenborough has been working on the new show. Credit: BBC
Sir David Attenborough has been working on the new show. Credit: BBC

"This looks like an animal whose leg has simply been ripped off really quickly. There's no evidence on the leg of disease, there are no obvious pathologies, there's no trace of the leg being scavenged, such as bite marks or bits of it that are missing.

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"So, the best idea that we have is that this is an animal that died more or less instantaneously."

The Tanis research team is convinced the fossil comes from a dinosaur killed in asteroid strike.

Ahead of the show airing on 15 April, Attenborough said: "Tanis could be a place where the remains can give us an unprecedented window into the lives of the very last dinosaurs, and a minute-by-minute picture of what happened when the asteroid hit."

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Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: News, Animals

Cameron Frew
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