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      Ascent of dinosaurs linked to an iridium anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

      Science (New York, N.Y.)

      Animals, Biological Evolution, Dinosaurs, Ecosystem, Ferns, Fossils, Geologic Sediments, chemistry, Iridium, analysis, Meteoroids, Minor Planets, North America, Spores, Time

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          Abstract

          Analysis of tetrapod footprints and skeletal material from more than 70 localities in eastern North America shows that large theropod dinosaurs appeared less than 10,000 years after the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and less than 30,000 years after the last Triassic taxa, synchronous with a terrestrial mass extinction. This extraordinary turnover is associated with an iridium anomaly (up to 285 parts per trillion, with an average maximum of 141 parts per trillion) and a fern spore spike, suggesting that a bolide impact was the cause. Eastern North American dinosaurian diversity reached a stable maximum less than 100,000 years after the boundary, marking the establishment of dinosaur-dominated communities that prevailed for the next 135 million years.

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          Journal
          12016313
          10.1126/science.1065522

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