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Scientists claim to have found the remains of a dinosaur that was killed the day a massive asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago.
The dinosaur’s leg would have been preserved as debris from the impact rained down.
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“We have so much detail with this site that tells us what happened at every moment, it’s almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and that brings you back to this day,” Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester graduate student leading the Tanis excavation in North Dakota, told BBC News on Wednesday.
The network spent three years there filming a show that will air in just over a week.
In addition to the leg, the researchers said they found fish, a fossil turtle, small mammals, the skin of a triceratops, the embryo of a flying pterosaur and a fragment of the asteroid.
The network said the remains were mixed, with spherules linked to the impact site off the Yucatan Peninsula.
The tree resin particles contained inclusions that “imply extraterrestrial origin”.
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Professor Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum in London examined the leg and considered the dinosaur to be a scaly Thescelosaurus.
Some ranges are presented in a video presenting the exclusivity.
The limb, he noted, appears to have been “ripped off very quickly”, suggesting the creature died “more or less instantly”.
The question remains: did he really die on the exact day?
A professor told the BBC he wanted to see more peer-reviewed articles and other independent assessments.
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“These fish with spherules in their gills, they’re an absolute calling card for the asteroid. But for some of the other claims – I would say they have a lot of circumstantial evidence that hasn’t been presented to the jury yet, “said Professor Steve Brusatte, from the University of Edinburgh.