Subsurface magma intrusions (sills), rather than surface lava flows, may have triggered the Earth’s most catastrophic extinction event approximately 252 million years ago. (more…)
Tag Archives: mass extinction
A Yale-led study urges scientists to move their focus from species extinction to species rarity in order to recognize, and avoid, a mass extinction in the modern world. (more…)
Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.
A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London recreated the immense energy released from an extra-terrestrial collision with Earth that occurred around the time that dinosaurs became extinct. They found that the intense but short-lived heat near the impact site could not have ignited live plants, challenging the idea that the impact led to global firestorms. (more…)
One-Way Air Flow May Be 270 Million Years Old
Air flows mostly in a one-way loop through the lungs of monitor lizards – a breathing method shared by birds, alligators and presumably dinosaurs, according to a new University of Utah study.
The findings – published online Wednesday, Dec. 11 in the journal Nature – raise the possibility this breathing pattern originated 270 million years ago, about 20 million years earlier than previously believed and 100 million years before the first birds. Why remains a mystery. (more…)
Washington, D.C.— Around 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, there was a mass extinction so severe that it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth’s history. Some researchers have suggested that this extinction was triggered by contemporaneous volcanic eruptions in Siberia. New results from a team including Director of Carnegie’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism Linda Elkins-Tanton show that the atmospheric effects of these eruptions could have been devastating. Their work is published in Geology.
The mass extinction included the sudden loss of more than 90 percent of marine species and more than 70 percent of terrestrial species and set the stage for the rise of the dinosaurs. The fossil record suggests that ecological diversity did not fully recover until several million years after the main pulse of the extinction. (more…)
Hydrogen sulfide, the pungent stuff often referred to as sewer gas, is a deadly substance implicated in several mass extinctions, including one at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago that wiped out more than three-quarters of all species on Earth.
But in low doses, hydrogen sulfide could greatly enhance plant growth, leading to a sharp increase in global food supplies and plentiful stock for biofuel production, new University of Washington research shows. (more…)
Fossil-hunting expeditions to Tanzania, Zambia and Antarctica provide new insights
Predecessors to dinosaurs missed the race to fill habitats emptied when nine out of 10 species disappeared during Earth’s largest mass extinction 252 million years ago.
Or did they?
That thinking was based on fossil records from sites in South Africa and southwest Russia.
It turns out, however, that scientists may have been looking in the wrong places. (more…)
Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, ocean acidification killed 76 percent of species on Earth
More than 200 million years ago, a massive extinction decimated 76 percent of marine and terrestrial species, marking the end of the Triassic period and the onset of the Jurassic.
The event cleared the way for dinosaurs to dominate Earth for the next 135 million years, taking over ecological niches formerly occupied by other marine and terrestrial species.
It’s not clear what caused the end-Triassic extinction, although most scientists agree on a likely scenario. (more…)