Scientists have found glass embedded in fish gills from an asteroid impact and a T. rex buried by a standing wave. Close to 66 million years ago in North Dakota’s southwestern corner, paddlefish and sturgeon swam in a river through a landscape crawling with mighty dinosaurs. On Wednesday, scientists said well-preserved fish fossils unearthed at the site are providing a better understanding of what killed the dinosaurs.
The ensuing mass extinction was triggered by an asteroid 12 kilometres wide that struck Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The event wiped about three-quarters of Earth’s species, including the dinosaur. It also put an end to the Cretaceous Period, paving the way for mammals to become dominant.
The fossil site called the Tanis deposit is located throughout the northern hemisphere. Researchers have examined bones from three paddlefish and three sturgeons that died within about 30 minutes of the impact. The group found evidence that a hail of glass pelted the site, after finding small molten materials embedded in the fish gills.
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