Check Out This Dinosaur Fossil: It’s 66 Million Years Old!

Apr 13, 2022

A very well-preserved dinosaur fossil dating back 66 million years has been found in North Dakota, scientists say. That's when a 7.5-mile wide asteroid hit the Earth.

The scientists reported they found the scaly-skinned leg of a Thescelosaurus. The animal died the same day the huge asteroid hit the Earth. It wiped out nearly all the dinosaurs. About three-quarters of the planet's plant and animal species were also killed. The asteroid left a crater about 100 miles wide and nearly 20 miles deep.

Paleontologists found the dino leg at a dig, known as Tanis. They also found a fish, a turtle, and the embryo of a flying pterosaur inside an egg.

Many of the fossils, like the dino leg, landed in tree resin. So, they had a natural protective coating that kept them in perfect condition.

“We've got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment,” the lead scientist told the BBC. “It's almost like watching it play out in the movies." 

He named the dig site Tanis. It's named after the fictional lost city in an Indiana Jones movie.

The discovery of the fossil at Tanis will be showcased later this month in a BBC documentary, “Dinosaurs: The Final Day.” In the US, a version of the documentary will be broadcast in May. The PBS program "Nova" will show it. 

Photo from Robert DePalma.

What best explains why the Thescelosaurus fossil was so well preserved? (Common Core RI.5.3; RI.6.3)
a. It was covered in tree resin.
b. Dust from an asteroid blast covered it.
c. It was found in North Dakota.
d. It was found near other fossils.
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