Sketch of the gravity anomaly map of the Chicxulub crater area. Red and yellow are gravity highs, green and blue are gravity lows, white indicates sinkholes, or "cenotes", and the shaded area is the Yucatan Peninsula.
Artistic rendition of the Chicxulub impactor striking ancient Earth, with Pterosaur observing.
There are several competing models for the impactor's origin and its relationship to other asteroids that still exist in the Solar System. In September 2007, William F. Bottke, David Vokrouhlický, and David Nesvorný proposed an origin for the impactor in an article published in Nature. This argued that a collision in the asteroid belt 160 million years ago resulted in the Baptistina family of asteroids, the largest surviving member of which is 298 Baptistina. They proposed that the Chicxulub impactor was an asteroid member of this group, referring to the large amount of carbonaceous material present in microscopic fragments of the object, suggesting that it was a member of a rare class of asteroids called carbonaceous chondrites, like Baptistina. According to Bottke, the Chicxulub impactor was a fragment of a much larger parent body about 170 km (110 mi) across, with the other impacting body being around 60 km (40 mi) in diameter. However, in 2011 new data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer revised the date of the collision which created the Baptistina family to about 80 million years ago, casting doubt on the theory, as typically the process of resonance and collision of an asteroid takes many tens of millions of years.
Other work has associated the asteroid P/2010 A2, a member of the Flora family of asteroids, as a possible remnant cohort of the Chicxulub impactor.
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