Dinosaurs Experience ‘Hell on Earth’ on Asteroid Collision Day

Dinosaurs would have experienced “hell on earth” the day the asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago, paleontologists have found.

In a new documentary, dinosaur apocalypse from NOVA—narrated by David Attenborough—principal paleontologist Robert DePalma and his team uncovered a collection of fossils that provide a glimpse of what the last dinosaurs on Earth would have experienced just before their extinction.

The fossils were revealed from a site in the Badlands of North Dakota in the Hell Creek rock formation, which developed during the Cretaceous period.

In the second part of the documentary, dinosaur apocalypse: last day, Paleontologists uncovered ejecta spherules at the site, which are tiny beads of vaporized rock created by an asteroid impact.

Not far from the ball, they found the three-dimensional legs of a herbivorous dinosaur named Thescelosaurus. Although unconfirmed, this dinosaur may have been killed by a direct asteroid impact—something no excavators have discovered before.

A clip from the upcoming documentary shows DePalma and his team uncovering the remains of a dinosaur, which may have died when the asteroid hit.

DePalma says News Week that the find provides an idea of ​​what the dinosaurs would have experienced, right after a “big rock the size of Mount Everest” fell to Earth.

“It hit Earth at a speed of about 20 kilometers (12 miles) per second, which caused a large impact crater to form in Yucatan,” he said. “Within a few minutes, the animals will feel the seismic waves rippling on the ground, and at the same time, you will see the clumps of impact glass being blown up from the crater returning to the atmosphere as these tiny red streaks in the air.. . hell rain will rain down.”

DePalma said it would be “very disappointing” for any animal there. Many of these animals live along river embankments, DePalma said. At that time, the US was divided in two by the “big sea” that stretched right in the middle. The Hell Creek Formation, and the site that paleontologists excavated in the documentary, lies right on the seashore.

And immediately after the impact, all the animals living along the river embankment will see the rapidly changing landscape in a matter of minutes.

“Any animal within sight of that river valley will see the scene, which will change from a tropical paradise to absolute hell on earth,” he said. “They will see this huge wall of death… this huge wall of water with rubble and trees and mud and everything mixed in it. It flows into that river. The waves come from the sea… and that’s a wall. a lot of water is going to run down that river embankment…. So you’re going to have this 10 and a half meters (34 feet) high wall of water popping up there. And anything in its path will be pretty much covered by it.”

What followed was a “second pulse,” the dinosaur apocalypse. DePalma said this was a period of atmospheric contamination from warming right after the impact, which in turn led to wildfires and later, freezing temperatures.

DePalma said this particular excavation site represented a “perfect hurricane scenario” because it not only has geographic significance, but also holds evidence of an important time point in the late Cretaceous.

“Could there be another site like this? Of course. But try to find it—it’s like a needle in a haystack,” he said.

DePalma says that even for people who are not interested in the history of dinosaurs, the findings from this documentary are relevant to the current ecological crisis in the world.

“You can now see what happened in a much more personal way because you can see the experience of each animal through the effects of that impact,” he said. “The extinction that occurred at the end of the Cretaceous was very close, in the time frame and tempo as the world sees it today… So of all the mass extinctions we know of on Earth, the one closest to that time frame is this particular extinction.” .. In the end, my hopes and dreams are the impact [from this documentary] is on a wider scale. I hope the conclusion of this investigation is to find out what the world was like, what it was like, and to inspire a sense of pride in caring for your planet.”

dinosaur apocalypse will premiere on PBS Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 9 p.m. ET/8CT.

Stock Picture showing dinosaurs during the apocalypse

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