Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dinosaur Dig Fascinates

Dinosaurs have long enthralled young and old. It's interesting to visit museums with large specimens which have been meticulously reconstructed from ancient archaeological digs.

Researchers from Yale University have now unearthed the bones of a dinosaur in Montana which lived just before the catastrophic meteor impact 65 million years ago. They "discovered the fossilized horn of a ceratopsian—likely a Triceratops, which are common to the area—in the Hell Creek formation in Montana last year. The fossil was buried just five inches below the K-T boundary, the geological layer that marks the transition from the Cretaceous period to the Tertiary period at the time of the mass extinction that took place."

The find reveals that certain dinosaurs may still have thrived before the calamitous event.

In a related article,"Some scientists propose that the meteorite caused a long and unnatural drop in Earth's atmospheric temperature, while others claim that it would have instead created an unusual heat wave. The consensus among scientists who support this theory is that the impact caused extinctions both directly (by heat from the meteorite impact) and also indirectly (via a worldwide cooling brought about when matter ejected from the impact crater reflected thermal radiation from the sun). Although the speed of extinction cannot be deduced from the fossil record alone, various models suggest that the extinction was extremely rapid, being down to hours rather than years."

To view the photo above of a discovery like this is exhilarating. One can tell that some natural erosion helped to unearth the ancient bones. What fun it would be to be part of the team to uncover the skeleton.

Via Futurity