This is the result of an interesting study published in the newspaper Nature (in SOURCE) by a Swedish PhD student working at Uppsala University. So if everything were confirmed, the last moments of the dinosaurs’ life could have been experienced in a particularly mild phase of the year. Not only that, previous research revealed that the angle at which this rocky body hit the Earth couldn’t be worse than this.
The ominous collision, which apparently occurred off the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan, in the northern hemisphere, would have occurred at a particularly delicate moment in the life cycle of many of the species that populated our planet 66 million years ago. This is the picture that emerges from the studies initiated by Dr. Melanie Ring, at the Tanis site, located in North Dakota.
But the most interesting aspect of the seasonal issue is not the data in itself but how we got there. And everything is even more strange if we think that the alleged site of the meteorite impact is more than 3,000 km away: how did we come to this conclusion? On the Tanis site I am The fossil remains of paddlefish and sturgeons have been foundspecimens up to 1 meter long which preserve some information of great scientific importance.
We know that the death of the specimens present in the area took place in a dramatic and sudden way, as they were buried by an enormous mass of sediments moved by the wave derived from the oceanic impact of the asteroid. It was a difficult event to even imagine if we think that, unlike a tsunami, it happened in a few seconds and on a much larger scale.
HOW TO DISCOVER THE IMPACT SEASON
Although in other areas of the planet not all forms of life died quickly, in the case of the aforementioned paddlefish the death could have occurred within a maximum of 1 hour from the arrival of the meteorite, and this has been understood because in the gills of the analyzed specimens were found small fragments of crystallized molten rock similar to what glass does at very high temperatures. These small rocky bodies would be the result of the impact and register like a black box, a precise moment in the history of planet Earth, probably one of the most catastrophic for the ecosystem.
And that’s not all, in fact, the fish were found just under a layer of rock known by scholars as the “Iridium Anomaly”, as it is particularly rich in this element and has already been found in other areas of the Earth. This is the most consistent evidence of the asteroid impact, which occurred 66 million years ago, the first observations of which date back to over 30 years ago.
But how exactly was the season of the year established at the moment of impact? Thanks to the analysis of the fossil skeletons.
Analyzing the remains of the bones and also thanks to the chemical signatures of some carbon isotopes contained in them, it was discovered that at that moment plankton was almost at the peak of its availability and this was affecting the annual growth of the fish. The maximum availability would arrive in a few months, with the blossoming of summer.
The results seem compatible with those of other studies carried out previously, one of which dating back to last year, and one from 1991 which indicated June as the most probable month (available in STREET).
Further confirmation will be needed to establish with certainty the period of impact, however it can almost be excluded that the end of the dinosaurs and other terrestrial species took place in the colder season. The Tanis site is one of the most interesting for studies of this kind, as it offers a fairly accurate insight into what was happening just minutes before the catastrophic event. Thanks to this research, another piece is added to a story to be built, but which is proving to be particularly interesting.