Feeds

Triceratops horn find supports meteor extinction theory

Hell Creek fossil not actually coated in iridium, but ...

Business security measures using SSL

A team of boffins from Yale University look likely to have uncovered the world's youngest dinosaur and in the process provided support for the Alvarez hypothesis – that the dinosaurs were wiped out as a result of a massive meteor strike some 65 million years ago.

Since the early 1990s, it has been generally accepted that an asteroid strike in Mexico killed off the dinosaurs. It created the K-T boundary – a transition line in the earth's crust rich in iridium – a metal not common on earth but often found in asteroids and meteors.

The only problem with this hypothesis was a lack of dinosaur fossils anywhere near the line – which suggested the giant lizards might have died out thousands of years before the space strike.

But now a team from Yale led by Tyler Lyson has found a likely triceratops horn just 13 centimetres from the KT line.

Lyson said: "The fact that this specimen was so close to the boundary indicates that at least some dinosaurs were doing fine right up until the impact." Exact aging is impossible but the team believe the creature must have lived within some tens of thousands of years to a few thousand years before the impact.

The team is now looking at over fossils in Hell Creek, Montana and will use soil analysis to judge exactly how far from the boundary those bones lie.

But Gregory Retallack, a soil scientist from the University of Oregon, warned against reading too much into the finding. He told Science Now that finding one bone did not prove either the gradual or the meteor impact theory. He said researchers would expect to find fewer bones close to the line, whether it was an instant or a gradual extinction.

The team's press release is here. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.