Monday, April 14, 2008

Asteroid that killed dinosaurs downsized

The rock believed responsible for a mass extinction 65 million years ago was much smaller than previously thought, scientists say.

By John Johnson Jr., Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs may not have been the whopper scientists thought.An analysis of the chemical remains of the asteroid that can be found in sediment under the sea today shows the rock was about 2 1/2 miles wide, according to Francois Paquay, a geology graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.That's significantly smaller than the estimates of up to 12 miles wide that past researchers had suggested was the size of the dinosaur-killer, according to the research published Friday in the journal Science.

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