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22-Aug-2017 00:49

Dr Richard Lane, of the US National Science Foundation's division of earth sciences which funded the research, said Prof Keller may be onto something.

He said: 'Keller and colleagues continue to amass detailed stratigraphic information supporting new thinking about the Chicxulub impact and the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous.

"The coffee grounds produced a fuel that worked really well.

The only problem was that the car overheated when it became caught in traffic jams and the journey, which should have taken about 10 hours, took 19." Much like a tired driver, the VW needed to be topped up with fresh coffee every 40 minutes on the 260-mile trip and - after leaving London at 4am - finally arrived at the The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists' and Engineers' Fair in Manchester at 11pm.

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"The radiocarbon dating technique may significantly underestimate the age of sediment for samples older than 30,000 years,” said the authors of the report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics.

But as soon as the creature dies it stops absorbing these and sheds any trace of carbon-14 at a decay rate of 50 per cent every 5,700 years.