Scientists Find Fossil of Dinosaur Killed by Asteroid

Scientists have discovered the fossil of a dinosaur thought to have died on the day of an asteroid strike more than 66 million years ago.

Scientists working at the Tanis fossil site in North Dakota have discovered an almost perfectly preserved leg with skin from a Thescelosaurus, which is the first dinosaur victim of an asteroid strike that has ever been discovered.

The Chicxulub impact event wiped out the dinosaurs, a plummeting asteroid or comet that slammed into a shallow sea in the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico around 66 million years ago. 

The impact of the asteroid strike left a 93-mile-wide crater in the Gulf of Mexico, roughly 3000 kilometers away from the Tanis site.

Prof. Paul Barrett, a world-leading expert on herbivorous dinosaurs from London’s Natural History Museum, said that the Thescelosaurus is from a group of ‘very scaly’ animals, such as lizards, and weren’t feathered like their ‘meat-eating contemporaries’.

“This looks like an animal whose leg has simply been ripped off really quickly. There’s no evidence on the leg of disease… There are no obvious pathologies, there’s no trace of the leg being scavenged, such as bite marks or bits of it that are missing,” Barrett added.

Tanis was discovered in 2008, but it was only announced to the world in 2019, along with discoveries including fish embedded with spherules, dinosaur bones, fossils of marine reptiles, and more.

The findings from the Tanis dig site will be broadcast as a documentary on April 15 in Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough on BBC One. 

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