It’s a summer’s day in 2013, and paleontologist Robert DePalma is digging for fossil remains at a site in North Dakota. Then he suddenly hits pay dirt: a fossilized specimen of a 5-foot paddlefish. What’s more, much to the scientist’s surprise, beneath the remains of the fish is a tooth that belonged to a mosasaur – a massive extinct reptile. But the finds don’t make sense, since the paddlefish lived in freshwater, while the reptile was a sea creature. And DePalma’s explanation of this anomaly will astonish – and divide – the world of paleontology.
If the theory DePalma has come up with to explain the extraordinary jumble of fossils that he’s unearthed at this site near Bowman, North Dakota, is correct, it is academic dynamite. And some previous ideas – particularly ones about the extinction of the dinosaurs – will be confirmed, while others will be debunked forever.