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Scientists May Have Found 66-Million-Year-Old Fossils Behind A New Jersey Shopping Center


In what I'm calling The Most Interesting Thing To Happen To New Jersey (sorry, Bruce Springsteen), a pit of fossils that could date back to the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction has been found behind a shopping center. You know, that thing that killed the dinosaurs.

(Also, Bruce Springsteen, if you're reading this, I'm sure you are very nice and interesting and I'm glad you made "Born to Run.")

Anyway, while many have known about the quarry in Montua Township for a while, only recently have scientists hypothesized that the fossils found could date back 66 million years.

The Hamilton Spectator reports, "Kenneth J. Lacovara, a professor of paleontology and geology at nearby Rowan University, calls the layer a 'mass death assemblage.' He believes it may be the only known collection of animal remains that dates from the mass extinction itself."

Today, the pit is full on infinite possibilities, but it almost wasn't this way. In the mid-2000s, local officials wanted to bury the quarry and build apartments and a shopping center -- kind of like the neighborhood in "Poltergeist," and we all saw how that turned out.

Though the town still ended up building a shopping center, "bulldozers cleared out a section of the pit so that Lacovara and his students could meticulously excavate fossils," which is where Lacovara and his team found the "mass death assemblage," the Hamilton Spectator reports.

This month, Rowan University will officially purchase the pit so that graduate students can excavate the quarry and examine the fossils inside.

"It sounds silly, but is it the case that this pit in South Jersey, behind Lowe's, has the one window into this pivotal moment in time?" Lacovara said.