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Manning also believes the team’s conclusions are supported by the data itself. “The absolutely most beautiful and elegant part of all of this is the geochemistry,” he says. Some of the tektites found at the site (glassy materials formed from molten crust, such as during impact events) had a “perfect chemical fingerprint” that Manning says matches them with other K-Pg boundary sites with material blasted out from the Chicxulub impact. “There is absolute evidence matching this site to the K-Pg impact” that created the Chicxulub meteor impact. The fossilized paddlefish (Acipenseriform) actually inhaled (and maybe choked on) tektite materials as debris rained down into the water. One of Manning’s favorite parts was finding fossilized amber that had managed to preserve some of the microtektite material almost perfectly, recording the chemistry from this event.
The findings also help us to understand how vast the Chicxulub impact really was, in ways we were just about clueless about before. “The deposit preserves the immediate aftermath of the impact in great detail, with minute-by-minute clarity, which is important for us to understand how exactly the impact affected Earth's ecologies,” says DePalma. Bodies of water elsewhere in the world could have experienced similar surges after impact, giving scientists some clues about where else they may find sites similar to Tanis.
Mark - Norell - Chair - Macaulay - Curator
Mark Norell, the chair and Macaulay Curator at the American Museum of Natural History’s division of paleontology (who was not involved with the study) thinks the paper at least succeeds in demonstrating how vibrant and fascinating the Tanis site is from a paleontological and geological point of view. We’ve never before encountered a site with so much to unravel: preserved specimens of so many plants...
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