North Dakota Paleontological Dig Has Scientists Re-Evaluating What Killed The Dinosaurs

NORTH DAKOTA - These terrible lizards have continued to tantalize people from ages 1-100 since the first fossil was found in 1677. Since then what we know about dinosaurs has changed immensely; from “dragons” to the behemoth, thundering lizards we know today.

There is still much that we do not know about dinosaurs as Smithsonian Magazine has said, there are also a lot of dinosaurs that have not been found. Even with a little over 200 years of research; paleontologists have identified a mere couple hundred species. Even though this may seem like a lot, a recent report in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences alluded to a number of a bit more than 1,800 different types of dinosaurs that had existed. The research on these different kinds of dinosaurs is confined to their fossilized relics left after they died off. This makes the research a bit insufficient in certain areas.

A fossil is by definition a remnant or trace of an organism of a past geologic age, such as a skeleton or leaf imprint, embedded and preserved in the earth's crust. As such it has to be made exactly under the proper conditions, with the animal expiring at a location that can protect its corpse inside of the solid rock. Lots of dinosaurs existed in other types of territories; but some lived in or near wet locales such as lagoons, rivers, and lakes which were good sources where alluvium and sediment are uncovered.

Different questions remain in regard to what triggered the extermination of the dinosaurs. Several hypotheses have been talked about ranging from plagues, diseases, or sicknesses, to a doomsday asteroid, to new species that shook up the food chain, to that of climate change. Amid the Jurassic period, massive outbursts took place that saw temperatures climb and ocean levels rise as well as not much humidification.

Several researchers have said that this combination spelled disaster for the dinosaurs while yet others maintain that dinosaurs flourished during this time.

The director of the Palm Beach Museum of National History, Dr. Robert DePalma located some hard-to-find fossils near Bowman, North Dakota. The location of these fossils which he named “Tanis” had its first dig in 2012, Dr. DePalma and his associates excavated the region recognized as the Hell Creek Formation.

Dr. DePalma found the remains of a freshwater paddlefish as well as a tooth from a Mosasaur. The massive reptile was found in oceans during the Early Cretaceous period. Dr. DePalma's team realized that this beast could not have lived in North Dakota's freshwater in the course of the time preceding recorded history. Dr. DePalma made note of additional discrepancies in the dig location. The fossil specimens appeared incongruous – some bones were stuck in upright poses – natural glass also called tektites, which are the effect of a meteor's collision were located spread within the dirt. The scientists were left dumbfounded. Were all of these elements supportive of the thesis that an asteroid brought about the destruction of the dinosaurs? Of course, this ideology that an asteroid caused this mass extinction event; is nothing new. A number of researchers are quick to talk about the KT substratum (which means Cretaceous and Tertiary period within the scientific community) which is a 66 million-year-old region of the earth's crust that is prevalent in many areas of the globe that is marked by a colossal iridium content that exists as evidence of the asteroid impact.

Enter the Chicxulub crater, the 112-mile-wide crater which is positioned in the Yucatan Peninsula and bears the very same mineral. Iridium is the same as the KT substratum. Skeptics of this theory note the absence of fossils in the KT substratum as an indication that this argument is inaccurate. Additional fossils are found 10 feet beneath the level. This would indicate that the animal corpses there are more aged than the asteroid itself proposing that different kinds of occurrences such as extensive volcanic activity or alterations of climate; killed the dinosaurs prior to the asteroid hit.

Dr. DePalma regards the fossils located in Tanis which is positioned on the KT level as clustered there following the asteroid impact. Dr. DePalma intimated that contact with the asteroid triggered massive tidal waves that permitted the tooth from the Mosasaur to transit from freshwater to the area in particular, as well as the freshwater sturgeon Science magazine recounts could have suffocated on a portion of glass from the asteroid impact. Dr. Philip Manning, a paleontologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom mentioned, "That's the first-ever evidence of the interaction between life on the last day of the Cretaceous and the impact event.”

A few researchers are unhappy with this suggestion, Dr. Thomas Tobin, a geologist at the University of Alabama said, "I hope this is all legit — I'm just not 100% convinced yet," as quoted by MSN.

Several researchers find fault with Dr. DePalma's conclusions. The area does not definitely confirm the asteroid collision killed the dinosaurs, but it could be an element in a sequence of ecological occurrences that spelled their doom.

Science magazine indicates that Dr. DePalma was inaccurate in 2015 when he found a bone he thought was from a new kind of dinosaur, he surmised it went to a genus Dakotaraptor when some scientists placed it as related to a prehistoric turtle. Dr. DePalma later rectified his call, but some say his status took a mark against it. The New Yorker claims Dr. DePalma has suggested some disconcerting paleontology exercises such as not informing anyone about his findings for long periods of time and restricting other researchers' availability to the dig area. A few are supporting Dr. DePalma's views; such as Dr. Mark Richards, a geophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. DePalma's co-author. "That some competitors have cast Robert in a negative light is unfortunate and unfair,” as quoted by Science.

Much of the negativity transpired because Dr. DePalma initially contributed his account to a mass-media outlet, The New Yorker, rather than a scholarly one, Bored Therapy reported. He afterward penned an article for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. DePalma found the leg from a Thescelosaurus located at Tanis in 2021, according to The Washington Post. The scientist regarded this data as something that would bolster his thesis that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs as well as 75% of all plant and animal life.

Among the important finds at Tanis, there was a fossilized pterosaur egg and fossilized fish along with ejecta (glass spheres). Dr. DePalma implied that the aforementioned animals expired when the asteroid hit considering that the ejecta's substance points to a significant detonation – the equivalent of an explosion of 10 billion bombs. Dr, DePalma said, "I've been asked, 'Why should we care about this? Dinosaurs have been dead for so long,'" DePalma told The Washington Post. "It's not just for paleo nerds. This directly applies to today. We're seeing mass die-offs of animals and biomes that are being put through very stressful situations worldwide. By looking through this window into the past, we can apply these lessons to today, as reported by MSN.
MSN | Discovery
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