Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ecosystem remodelling among vertebrates during the Permian-Triassic extinction

04.11.2004


Aeolian (wind-borne) sediments in the upper part of the Kopanskaya Svita (basal Triassic) at Elshanka, near Buzuluk, on the south-western margin of the Urals, European Russia. Dr Richard Twitchett (University of Plymouth) prepares to make measurements.


The biggest mass extinction of all time happened 251 million years ago, at the Permian-Triassic boundary. Virtually all of life was wiped out, but the pattern of how life was killed off on land has been mysterious until now. A team from Bristol University and Saratov University, Russia, have now laid the evidence bare.

The Bristol and Russian researchers have documented the event in Russia after looking at 675 specimens of amphibians and reptiles from 289 areas spanning 13 successive geological time zones in the South Urals basin. The study will be reported in Nature, Thursday, November 4.

The mass extinction at the Permian-Triassic boundary is accepted as the most profound loss of life on record. Records indicate a loss of 50 per cent of animal groups or more, in both sea and on land, with a loss of 80 to 96 per cent of species. Local and regional-scale studies of marine specimen confirm the loss, but the terrestrial record has been harder to analyse in such close detail.



There was a profound loss of animal groups, and simplification of ecosystems, with the loss of small fish eaters and insect eaters, medium and large herbivores and large carnivores. Plant life also changed, from high rates of turnover through the Late Permian period to greater stability at low diversity through the Early Triassic period. Even after 15 million years of ecosystem rebuilding, some groups were still absent--small fish eaters, small insect eaters, large herbivores and top carnivores.

The end-Permian mass extinction is now thought to have been caused by gigantic volcanic eruptions, which triggered a runaway greenhouse effect and nearly put an end to life on earth.

Mike Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at Bristol University, said: "At the end of the Permian there was a high turnover in animal families on land however these were largely destroyed by the Permian-Triassic extinction. However, after that the animal groups recovered slowly and diversity gradually increased."

Joanne Fryer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>