All posts tagged: hind-limb bones

A ‘Chicken From Hell’ Could Rewrite the Story of the Dinosaurs’ Final Days

A ‘Chicken From Hell’ Could Rewrite the Story of the Dinosaurs’ Final Days

This article was originally published by The Conversation. Were dinosaurs already on their way out when an asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago, ending the Cretaceous period, which had begun about 79 million years earlier? It’s a question that has vexed paleontologists like us for more than 40 years. In the late 1970s, debate began about whether dinosaurs were at their peak or in decline before their big extinction. Scientists at that time noted that although dinosaur diversity seemed to have increased in a previous geological stage, the number of species on the scene seemed to decrease during the last few million years of the Cretaceous, if not earlier. Some researchers have interpreted this pattern to mean that the asteroid that struck the Gulf of Mexico was simply the final blow for an already vulnerable group of animals. However, others have argued that what looks like a decrease in the diversity of dinosaurs may be an artifact of how hard it is to accurately count them. Fossil formations might preserve different dinosaurs more or …