Roy Gilbert

Fossil trove shows life’s fast recovery after big extinction

Fossil trove shows life

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This photo provided by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios in October 2019 shows some of the mammal skull fossils retrieved from Corral Bluffs, Colo. A trove of fossils has revealed details of how life rebounded after the cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs. NEW YORK (AP) — A remarkable trove of fossils from Colorado has revealed details of how mammals grew larger and plants evolved after the cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs.

The thousands of specimens let scientists trace that history over a span of 1 million years, a mere eyeblink in Earth’s lifespan.

Sixty-six million years ago, a large meteorite smashed into what is now the Yucatan Peninsula of southeastern Mexico. It unleashed broiling waves of heat and filled the sky with aerosols that blotted out the sun for months, killing off plants and the animals that depended on them. LOADING…

More than three-quarters of species on Earth died out.

But life came back, and land mammals began to expand from being small creatures into the wide array of forms we see today — including us.

So the new find taps into “the origin of the modern world,” said Tyler Lyson, an author of a paper reporting the fossil finds Thursday in the journal Science.

The fossils were recovered from an area of steep bluffs covering about 10 square miles (17 square kilometers) near Colorado Springs, starting three years ago.Lyson, of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, found little in that area when he followed the standard practice of scanning for bits of […]

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