This image provided by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios in October 2019 shows a rendering of the ancient Carsioptychus mammal taken from the PBS NOVA special, Rise of the Mammals. In this recreation, Carsioptychus coarctatus eats plants in a newly diversified forest, 300,000 years after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. (Jellyfish Pictures/HHMI Tangled Bank Studios via AP)

Fossils show life's quick recovery after big extinction

October 24, 2019 - 2:01 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A trove of fossils from Colorado has revealed details of how mammals grew larger and plants evolved after the cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs.

The fossils, recovered from an area near Colorado Springs, trace that history over a span of 1 million years. That's a mere eyeblink in Earth's lifespan.

Researchers reported the find Thursday in the journal Science. It gives a rare detailed glimpse into the aftermath of the day 66 million years ago when a meteorite slammed into Earth. That impact eventually wiped out more than three-quarters of the species alive at the time.

The Colorado fossils show how the largest mammals grew over time after that, from about the weight of a rat up to about 100 pounds.

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