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Fossil microbes show how some life bounced back after dino-killing impact

Within geologic blink of eye, hardy plankton were swimming in toxic waters above site

5:07pm, December 13, 2016
gulf drilling

LIFE AND DEATH  Rock samples collected from the Chicxulub crater during a drilling project in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year suggest that microbes returned to the site within hundreds of years of the dino-killing impact.

SAN FRANCISCO — The first post-apocalypse tenants of ground zero of the dinosaur extinction didn’t waste much time moving in.


Drilling into the crater left by the dino-devastating Chicxulub impact in Mexico, researchers uncovered the fossilized remains of pioneering microbes. These “disaster species” colonized the harsh waters above the crater within hundreds of years of the impact, the researchers reported December 12 at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. The finding helps illuminate how life bounces back following cataclysmic events.


“This was a hostile, stressful environment for these organisms,” said Oleg Abramov, a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., who was not involved with the work. “It’s interesting that life came back so

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