Today on Discovery Enterprise we present another exciting episode of the acclaimed PBS science documentary series NOVA - Last Extinction.
Fifteen thousand years ago, North America was like the Serengeti on steroids, with mega-creatures roaming a continent teeming with incredible wildlife. But then suddenly, in a blip of geologic time, between fifteen and thirty five magnificent large types of animals went extinct.
In this television exclusive, NOVA joins forces with prominent scientists to test a startling hypothesis that may finally explain these sudden and widespread extinctions—that a comet broke apart in the atmosphere and devastated North America twelve thousand nine hundred years ago.
For the past four decades, experts have been at odds over what causes this mass extinction. While mainstream scholars pose that the changing climate or ancient hunters were likely to blame for driving the beasts into oblivion, others believe that a comet from deep space may have broken up over North America.
This would have caused a devastating series of explosions that decimated the landscape, and wiped out animal populations.
The proof, they claim, lies in the discovery of a mysterious black mat layer at over fifty sites across the continent. The materials found in the “black mats” include rare, microscopic “nanodiamonds,” which are thought to be the product of extraterrestrial impact. In this documentary, filmmakers pose that perhaps all three theories share a common element of truth.
NOVA - Last Extinction