"Fossil of Macrocranion" by Momotarou2012 / CC BY-SA 3.0

‘Stunning’ fossil trove shows how mammals flourished after the dinosaurs died

Oct 29, 2019

By Ben Guarino

Seared into the brain of paleontologist Tyler Lyson is the date he cracked open the skull: Sept. 10, 2016.

Before that discovery, Lyson and his colleagues had struck out at Corral Bluffs, Colo., a site worked by fossil hunters since the 1930s. As the hours passed at the end of the field season, with little to show, Lyson recalled a trick he learned from South African paleontologists — look not for bones but for strange rocks. A whitish lump, a blob like a squashed bread loaf, caught his eye.

I picked it up and cracked it with my rock hammer and broke it in two. And I could see the cross-section of a mammal skull staring back at me,” Lyson, a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, said at a news conference Tuesday. That mammal, a pig-size herbivore named carsioptychus, lived not long after an asteroid carved a 90-mile-wide crater into Earth and ended the age of the dinosaurs.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.