Scientists found fossils of a dinosaur that died when an asteroid struck Earth 66 million years ago in a miracle discovery. The fossil has been found at the Tanis site in North Dakota in the US, and it is thought to be the leg of a Thescelosaurus that was ripped off during an asteroid collision and washed away in a flash flood. A fragment of the Chicxulub asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs has also been discovered.
‘It’s absolutely bonkers’: Professor Manning
University of Manchester professor Phillip Manning called the discovery “absolutely bonkers”. BBC Radio 4’s Today program quoted him as saying the fossil is the “ultimate dinosaur drumstick.” The dinosaur leg, complete with its skin, is just the first of many discoveries at the site. They also found a fossil turtle, remains of small mammals, and a fish that breathed in debris from the impact. On the list of timeless fossils is the skin of a horned triceratops as well as the embryo of a flying pterosaur.
As University of Manchester graduate student Robert DePalma said, “We’ve got so many details at the site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it’s like watching a movie.” The rock column, you see the fossils, it brings you back to that day”. Calling the discovery the best-case scenario, DePalma confirmed to BBC, “Here we’ve got a creature that was buried on the day of impact- we didn’t know whether it died, but now it looks like it probably did”.”.
An asteroid that killed dinosaurs hit Earth in the Gulf of Mexico, about 3,000 kilometers from Tanis. Due to the asteroid’s size- approximately 10 kilometers wide-, the devastation spread far from the impact site.