Previous Next / America’s Last Dinosaur Project integrates plant and vertebrate fossils in a stratigraphic context to analyze North American ecosystems leading up to the extinction of the dinosaurs Earth’s last mass extinction occurred 66 million years ago, when a six-mile-wide meteorite slammed into the Gulf of Mexico causing the extinction of over 75% of species on Earth, including all giant dinosaurs. This was arguably the single worst day for life on Earth and completely changed the course of life—from the Age of the Dinosaurs/Reptiles to the Age of the Mammals. The America’s Last Dinosaur project is a highly collaborative project that includes Kirk Johnson (Smithsonian Institution), Will Clyde (University of New Hampshire), Antoine Bercovici (Smithsonian Institution), Dean Pearson (Pioneer Trails Regional Museum), Gabriella Rossetto Harris (Penn State), Walter Joyce (University of Freiburg), Stephen Chester (Brooklyn College), and Daniel Field (University of Cambridge). The project integrates vertebrates (microsites and macrosites) and plants (leaves and pollen) into a chronostratigraphic framework to analyze North America’s last dinosaur-bearing ecosystems. This includes naming and describing the flora and fauna, which to date has resulted in the description of several new species, including one dinosaur and five turtles. Finally, this project looks at the interplay between changing forest ecology and changes in relative abundance and/or diversity of dinosaurs and the role facies and inferred paleoenvironments might play in this dynamic system, all through the last one million years of the Mesozoic Era.