Photo: VCG/Getty Images

New research released on Friday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has resulted in a fossilized portrait of the day nearly 66 million years ago when an asteroid struck the Earth moving at nearly 45,000 MPH, producing a supersonic shock wave and wiping out the vast majority of the planet's living organisms.

Details: What emerged is a "remarkable trove of fossils," writes The New Yorker's Douglas Preston, adding this appears to be "the most important paleontological discovery of the new century." Experts, including the primary author of the report, Robert DePalma, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas, unearthed evidence in North Dakota of the asteroid.

  • Per The New Yorker: "All of it was quickly entombed and preserved in the muck: dying and dead creatures, both marine and freshwater; plants, seeds, tree trunks, roots, cones, pine needles, flowers, and pollen; shells, bones, teeth, and eggs; tektites, shocked minerals, tiny diamonds, iridium-laden dust, ash, charcoal, and amber-smeared wood. As the sediments settled, blobs of glass rained into the mud, the largest first, then finer and finer bits, until grains sifted down like snow."
  • What's more: Jan Smit of the University of Amsterdam identified dinosaur footsteps presumably captured just before the asteroid killed them. Purdue University geophysicist and impact expert Jay Melosh called the discovery "the death blow preserved at one particular site."

Reality check: Per the New Yorker story: "...if DePalma’s hypothesis proves correct, the scientific value of the site will be immense." Some skeptical archeological experts are hanging on to that "if," with serious concerns surrounding the elusiveness to the Hell Creek Formation fossil site. Per the AP, Kirk Johnson, the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History said the area is controlled to safeguard the site from poachers.

  • Johnson expressed additional unease about DePalma's claims that were published in the New Yorker magazine article but not in the scientific paper. Upon request, DePalma was unreachable.

It's important to remember that this is the initial study that have resulted in bold claims. More studies can allow for confirmation.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.