Sixty-five million years ago, the end-Cretaceous extinction is believed to have wiped out some 75 percent of life from Earth. But even after so much time has passed, scientists are today learning new things about the creatures that met their end. And when ancient fossils are discovered, they open a window into the distant past.
In 1982 the Russian paleontologist Vladimir Efimov was near Slantsevy Rudnik – a village near the embankments of the Volga River in western Russia. Apparently, a high cliff in the region had collapsed, revealing something amazing that had been buried in the rock. And there, Efimov discovered three large vertebrae belonging to an unknown – and long-dead – creature.
“[The fossils] come from a cliff of marine sediments [that] are rich in invertebrate fossils such as ammonite and bones [of] marine reptiles,” the Russian Academy of Science’s Dr. Alexander Averianov told Fox News in December 2018. But at first, Efimov did not realize the significance of what he had discovered.