Researchers from Yale University 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. They found the fossil 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 65 million years ago.
Since the impact hypothesis for the demise of the dinosaurs was first proposed more than 30 years ago, many scientists have come to believe the meteor caused the mass extinction and wiped out the dinosaurs, but a sticking point has been an apparent lack of fossils buried within the 10 feet of rock below the K-T boundary. The seeming anomaly has come to be known as the "three-meter gap." Until now, this gap has caused some paleontologists to question whether the non-avian dinosaurs of the era – which included Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Torosaurus and the duckbilled dinosaurs – gradually went extinct sometime before the meteor struck. (Avian dinosaurs survived the impact, and eventually gave rise to modern-day birds.)"This discovery suggests the three-meter gap doesn't exist," said Yale graduate student Tyler Lyson, director of the Marmarth Research Foundation and lead author of the study, published online July 12 in the journal Biology Letters. "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."
Eric Sargis, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, and graduate student Stephen Chester discovered the ceratopsian last year while searching for fossilized mammals that evolved after the meteor impact. At first, Lyson said, the team thought it was buried within about three feet of the K-T boundary, but were surprised to learn just how close to the boundary – and hence, how close in time to the impact – it was. They sent soil samples to a laboratory to determine the exact location of the boundary, which is marked by the relative abundance of certain types of fossilized pollen and other geological indicators but is difficult to determine visually while in the field.
Because the dinosaur was buried in a mudstone floodplain, the team knew it hadn't been re-deposited from older sediments, which can sometimes happen when fossils are found in riverbeds that may have eroded and re-distributed material over time.
The team is now examining other fossil specimens that appear to be buried close to the K-T boundary and expect to find more, Lyson said. He suspects that other fossils discovered in the past may have been closer to the boundary than originally thought and that the so-called three-meter gap never existed.
"We should be able to verify that using the more sophisticated soil analysis technique rather than estimating the boundary's location based solely on a visual examination of the rock formations while in the field, which is what has typically been done in the past," Lyson said.
Other authors of the paper include Eric Sargis and Stephen Chester (Yale University); Antoine Bercovici (China University of Geosciences); Dean Pearson (Pioneer Trails Regional Museum) and Walter Joyce (University of Tübingen).
Suzanne Taylor Muzzin | EurekAlert!
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences