Own your very own piece of space rock!
Meteorite fragments: £5.95
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originates in outer space and survives its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon.
Sixty-five million years ago, the last of the non-avian dinosaurs (not related to birds) such as Dippy and his friends went extinct. So too did the giant mosasaurs and plesiosaurs in the seas (those whose fossils you see here at The Etches Collection) and the pterosaurs in the skies. Plankton, the base of the ocean food chain, took a hard hit. Many families of brachiopods and sea sponges disappeared. The remaining hard-shelled ammonites vanished. Shark diversity shrivelled. Most vegetation withered. In all, more than half of the world's species were obliterated.
The Asteroid, Dippy his friends and their extinction.
The cause of the mass extinction event is a scientific mystery. The extinction wiped out the dinosaurs while most mammals, turtles, crocodiles, salamanders, and frogs survived. Birds escaped. So did snails, bivalves, sea stars (starfish), and sea urchins. Even hardy plants able to weather climate extremes fared okay. Scientists tend to huddle around one of two hypotheses that may explain the Cretaceous extinction: an extra-terrestrial impact, such as an asteroid or comet, or a massive bout of volcanism. Either scenario would have choked the skies with debris that starved the Earth of the sun's energy, throwing a wrench in photosynthesis and sending destruction up and down the food chain. Once the dust settled, greenhouse gases locked in the atmosphere would have caused the temperature to soar, a swift climate swing to topple much of the life that survived the prolonged darkness.