Scientists have recently revealed pictures of an impressively preserved leg of a dinosaur
The limb, with the skin beautifully preserved, is only one among a series of remarkable finds discovered from the Tanis fossil site located in North Dakota of the United States.
What makes the discovery groundbreaking is the claim that Tanis creatures were thought to be killed and entombed on the very day the Earth was struck by a giant asteroid bringing the reign of the dinosaurs to an end, reports BBC.
To stumble upon a specimen from the cataclysm itself is considered extraordinary because only limited remains have been discovered from the final few thousands of years before the asteroid, let alone the day of the impact.
The series of findings includes fish that breathed in impact debris as it rained down from the sky as well as a fossil turtle that was skewered by a wooden stake; the remains of small mammals and the burrows they made; skin from a horned triceratops; the embryo of a flying pterosaur inside its egg; and lastly a fragment from the asteroid impactor itself.
The findings in the North Dakota fossil site are found jumbled into a sediment dump caused by waves of water due to unimaginable earth tremors, resulting in an impressive mix of aquatic organisms and land-based creatures.
"We've got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it's almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day," says Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester, UK, graduate student who leads the Tanis dig.
The Gulf of Mexico was identified as the impact site. However, due to the scale of the impact and the energy imparted in the event, the signs of its devastation were found thousands of kilometers away. Tanis itself is approximately 3,000km away from the impact site.
It is now widely accepted that the alleged 12km wide asteroid hit our planet which resulted in the last mass extinction.