The Dino-calypse: Mexican, Ukrainian, or the Hindu God Destroyer?

The traumatized pachycephalosaurus! Photo from cdn.mos.

If you think I’m nuts about the Olympics, you should hear me talk about dinosaurs. All anyone needs to say is “antorbital fenestra,” and I swoon. Or “Chicxulub crater,” which is the impact site for the theoretical asteroid that hit 65 million years ago and wiped out most of life on earth, except for the tree shrews, from which all of us are descended. (We’ll have to save the tree shrews for another time.)

So you can imagine my excitement upon learning of the controversy between the Boltysh crater and the Chicxulub crater. Which came first? Apparently, there’s big money in being first because scientists from India are also claiming precedence.

Also, I learned the word “palynological,” which satisfies my Weird-Word-of-the-Month fetish.  It means “the study of live and fossil spores, pollen grains, and similar plant structures,” from the Greek palunein, which means “to scatter” as in dust or “pollen.”  Fern spores are very much in play here. And, for those of you with allergies, you now know that they are palynological.

Ok, so these dudes back in 2010 noticed this crater in the Ukraine called the Boltysh crater. The crater was “roughly” the same age as Chicxulub, and when we’re talking 65 million years, roughly can be mean +/- a million years, right? They were trying to be a bit more precise—in the 10,000 year range maybe—to see whether Boltysh came before or after Chicxulub.

There’s fame and fortune in the Dinosaur Demise!

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