New Fossils Show What Happened for a Million Years After Dinosaur Extinction 

Haley Steenhoek, Reporter

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Paleontologist are people who study dinosaurs and fossils. They know that there is a layer in the earth where fossils eventually disappear. That layer marks  where an asteroid hit the earth over 66 million years ago and ended up killing dinosaurs and wiping out over 75% of all species. So how did we go from almost total extinction, to where the world is now? 

Paleontologists searched to find something that could help answer this question. They knew that birds were still around but it wasn’t until later when they found fossils of mammal skulls. They eventually found fossils of mammals, reptiles and plants. According to CNN, “They ended up collecting nearly a thousand vertebre fossils, over 6,000 plant fossils and counted over 37,000 pollen grains in their study.” 

This was only the beginning of the discoveries. They were eager to find a way to change the way we think about life on earth. They were able to find animals, plants, temperature and a timeline of when they occurred. This kind of answered the question they have been looking for. After looking at temperature and the certain fossils they found, they were able to create a rough timeline of what life was like after that extinction. Pollen spores and volcanic ash were also very valuable to tell dates of when certain things happened. 

For the first thousand years after the impact, small rat-like mammals were common. Around 100,000 years later, the mammal population doubled and they grew to the size of an average racoon.  It was said that these types of animals were living in this area before the impact and still remained after the impact. 

They were shocked to know that although the impact was very harmful and damaging to the earth, these animals and plants still came back.