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Paper Casts Doubt on Dinosaur Death Theory

Dinosaurs abruptly disappeared from the Earth about 65 million years ago. In the early 1990s, scientists found what seemed to be the smoking gun for this mass extinction -- a huge crater, created by an extraterrestrial impact, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, a group of scientists is challenging the conventional wisdom about the Chicxulub crater in a report published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Led by Princeton University's Gerta Keller, the scientists say the crater predates the mass extinction by 300,000 years. Keller suggests that a massive impact elsewhere on the planet is responsible for the final blow to the dinosaurs. But other geologists dispute her findings. NPR's Richard Harris reports on the debate over the Chicxulub crater.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Award-winning journalist Richard Harris has reported on a wide range of topics in science, medicine and the environment since he joined NPR in 1986. In early 2014, his focus shifted from an emphasis on climate change and the environment to biomedical research.