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Worms among first animals to surface after K-T extinction event, CU-led study finds
Date:10/11/2011

sil record like animals with mineralized skeletons," said Chin. Ekdale, an expert on trace fossils, was key in analyzing the worm burrows, Chin said.

Chin said extensive work on plant fossils both before and after the K-T boundary event by Denver Museum of Nature and Science Chief Curator Kirk Johnson and his colleagues helped Chin and her research team to characterize the environment inhabited by the burrowers. Johnson's research helped establish that terrestrial plants suffered heavy losses during the K-T extinction event, as did non-avian dinosaurs and many other terrestrial and marine organisms.

The K-T boundary commonly refers to the dividing line between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods. Geologists now refer to it as the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg boundary event. While a number of vertebrates survived the event -- including birds, snakes, lizards, turtles, fish and small mammals -- fossil burrows provide direct evidence of animal activity that skeletal fossils cannot show, said Chin. "The fact that the burrows are so close to the K-T boundary is one reason they are so exciting."


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Contact: Karen Chin
karen.chin@colorado.edu
303-735-3074
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert  

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