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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

26 mins ago - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning 4 of the 5 cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in 4 out of 5 instances gives legitimacy to the Board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration did not include nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.