Feeds

Triceratops horn find supports meteor extinction theory

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

The next step in data security

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
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'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.