This Dinosaur Documentary Reveals Amazing Discoveries

DINOSAURS – A real treasure. This is what paleontologists found at the site in fossils from Tanis, North Dakota to USA. In fact, the researchers made many discoveries, between a leg of dinosaur herbivore on which skin was found, or even a pterosaur (flying reptile) egg with a particularly well-preserved embryo. An adventure that recounts a new BBC documentary, broadcast this Friday, April 15, with the famous naturalist David Attenborough as narrator.

But that is not all. Paleontologists say that these discoveries could date from 66 million years ago, that is, the precise moment in which the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs crashed If no peer-reviewed journal publication has yet been made, scientists are amazed by the discovery.

Tanis, fossil gold mine

“The timing precision we can achieve at this site is beyond our wildest dreams…” Phillip Manning, professor of natural history at the University of Manchester, told BBC Radio 4. “I never dreamed in my entire career that I would have the opportunity to see something… so beautiful and also tell such a wonderful story,” he adds, illustrating the excitement surrounding the discoveries made at the Tanis site.

There are many fossils there, in a remarkable state of preservation. First up is this dinosaur leg, a small herbivore called Thescelosaurus from the ornithopod family. In perfect condition, the leg appears to have been quickly ripped off, with no trace of disease or evidence of predation, says Paul Barrett, a dinosaur expert at the Natural History Museum in London.Telegraph.

Other remains found nearby include a fossilized turtle impaled on a wooden stake, small mammals in their burrows, skin belonging to a triceratops, and a fossilized pterosaur embryo inside its egg. Regarding the latter, X-rays determined that the pterosaur egg could have been buried by the mother in the sand, similar to how modern turtles bury her eggs, according to the study. BBC.

Common to all these discoveries, they date from the late Cretaceous and seem to have been at the forefront of the beginning of the end. Indeed, the fossils discovered in Tanis present many elements that indicate that these animals would have attended the fall of the asteroid that caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs, in Chicxulub in Mexico.

This was already explained by a study published on April 1, 2019 in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences (NAP)fruit of the collaboration of eleven paleontologists.

Discoveries dating back to the asteroid fall

numerous aquatic creatures and the fact that they were fossilized together on Earth at the Tanis site seem to indicate that they would have died at the time of the meteorite fall.

In fact, remains were found in the entire leg mentioned above, as well as in an ancient fish. These are most likely tiny pieces of molten rock similar to glass shards kicked up by the asteroid, lodged in the fish’s gills. fossilized.

These pieces, also called spherules, have been related to the location of the asteroid’s impact on the Mexican peninsula thanks to radiometric dating (the best known is carbon 14). This gives a measure of the impact, as the meteorite crashed about 3000 km from what is now North Dakota. Here is a video illustrating this cataclysm:

In addition, it seems that pieces of the asteroid have been found. In fact, fragments were found in amber and, after analysis, the researchers discovered that they had iron, chromium and nickel, a composition found in asteroids.

Faced with all these elements, paleontologist Robert DePlama (a researcher at the University of Manchester who directs excavation projects at the Tanis site) is amazed. “We have so many details (…). You look at the column of rock, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to this day,” as he explains. for the BBC.

A need for more

If these discoveries Wonder to more than one, some paleontologists ask for restraint. In fact, the findings at the Tanis site “have yet to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in the peer-reviewed literature,” says Steve Brusatte. paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh for the BBC.

The researcher adds, however, that it is “interesting” research, believed by the fact that great names in the discipline such as Walter Álvarez (father in 1980 of the idea that an asteroid had caused mass extinction) have associated with the study. .

“For some of these finds, does it matter if these animals died on impact day or in previous years?” Steve Brusatte finally wonders, adding that “the pterosaur egg with a baby pterosaur inside is extremely rare; there is nothing like it in North America.”

See also on HuffPost: This flying reptile is the largest ever discovered in the Jurassic

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