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Sample records for mass extinction late

  1. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Krug, Andrew Z.; Patzkowsky, Mark E.

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns. PMID:26658946

  2. Phylogenetic Clustering of Origination and Extinction across the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Krug, Andrew Z; Patzkowsky, Mark E

    2015-01-01

    Mass extinctions can have dramatic effects on the trajectory of life, but in some cases the effects can be relatively small even when extinction rates are high. For example, the Late Ordovician mass extinction is the second most severe in terms of the proportion of genera eliminated, yet is noted for the lack of ecological consequences and shifts in clade dominance. By comparison, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was less severe but eliminated several major clades while some rare surviving clades diversified in the Paleogene. This disconnect may be better understood by incorporating the phylogenetic relatedness of taxa into studies of mass extinctions, as the factors driving extinction and recovery are thought to be phylogenetically conserved and should therefore promote both origination and extinction of closely related taxa. Here, we test whether there was phylogenetic selectivity in extinction and origination using brachiopod genera from the Middle Ordovician through the Devonian. Using an index of taxonomic clustering (RCL) as a proxy for phylogenetic clustering, we find that A) both extinctions and originations shift from taxonomically random or weakly clustered within families in the Ordovician to strongly clustered in the Silurian and Devonian, beginning with the recovery following the Late Ordovician mass extinction, and B) the Late Ordovician mass extinction was itself only weakly clustered. Both results stand in stark contrast to Cretaceous-Cenozoic bivalves, which showed significant levels of taxonomic clustering of extinctions in the Cretaceous, including strong clustering in the mass extinction, but taxonomically random extinctions in the Cenozoic. The contrasting patterns between the Late Ordovician and end-Cretaceous events suggest a complex relationship between the phylogenetic selectivity of mass extinctions and the long-term phylogenetic signal in origination and extinction patterns. PMID:26658946

  3. Rapid recovery from the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krug, A. Z.; Patzkowsky, M. E.

    2004-01-01

    Understanding the evolutionary role of mass extinctions requires detailed knowledge of postextinction recoveries. However, most models of recovery hinge on a direct reading of the fossil record, and several recent studies have suggested that the fossil record is especially incomplete for recovery intervals immediately after mass extinctions. Here, we analyze a database of genus occurrences for the paleocontinent of Laurentia to determine the effects of regional processes on recovery and the effects of variations in preservation and sampling intensity on perceived diversity trends and taxonomic rates during the Late Ordovician mass extinction and Early Silurian recovery. After accounting for variation in sampling intensity, we find that marine benthic diversity in Laurentia recovered to preextinction levels within 5 million years, which is nearly 15 million years sooner than suggested by global compilations. The rapid turnover in Laurentia suggests that processes such as immigration may have been particularly important in the recovery of regional ecosystems from environmental perturbations. However, additional regional studies and a global analysis of the Late Ordovician mass extinction that accounts for variations in sampling intensity are necessary to confirm this pattern. Because the record of Phanerozoic mass extinctions and postextinction recoveries may be compromised by variations in preservation and sampling intensity, all should be reevaluated with sampling-standardized analyses if the evolutionary role of mass extinctions is to be fully understood.

  4. Comparative Earth history and Late Permian mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Bambach, R. K.; Canfield, D. E.; Grotzinger, J. P.

    1996-01-01

    The repeated association during the late Neoproterozoic Era of large carbon-isotopic excursions, continental glaciation, and stratigraphically anomalous carbonate precipitation provides a framework for interpreting the reprise of these conditions on the Late Permian Earth. A paleoceanographic model that was developed to explain these stratigraphically linked phenomena suggests that the overturn of anoxic deep oceans during the Late Permian introduced high concentrations of carbon dioxide into surficial environments. The predicted physiological and climatic consequences for marine and terrestrial organisms are in good accord with the observed timing and selectivity of Late Permian mass extinction.

  5. Comparative earth history and late Premian mass extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Knoll, A.H.; Bambach, R.K.; Canfield, D.E.; Grotzinger, J.P.

    1996-07-26

    The repeated association during the late Neoproterozoic Era of large carbon-isotopic excursions, continental glaciation, and stratigraphically anomalous carbonate precipitation provides a framework for interpreting the reprise of these conditions on the Late Permian Earth. A paleoceanographic model that was developed to explain these stratigraphically linked phenomena suggests that the overturn of anoxic deep oceans during the Late Permian introduced high concentrations of carbon dioxide into surficial environments. The predicted physiological and climatic consequences for marine and terrestrial organisms are in good accord with the observed timing and selectivity of Late Permian mass extinction. 65 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  6. Biogeographic and bathymetric determinants of brachiopod extinction and survival during the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Finnegan, Seth; Rasmussen, Christian M Ø; Harper, David A T

    2016-04-27

    The Late Ordovician mass extinction (LOME) coincided with dramatic climate changes, but there are numerous ways in which these changes could have driven marine extinctions. We use a palaeobiogeographic database of rhynchonelliform brachiopods to examine the selectivity of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian genus extinctions and evaluate which extinction drivers are best supported by the data. The first (latest Katian) pulse of the LOME preferentially affected genera restricted to deeper waters or to relatively narrow (less than 35°) palaeolatitudinal ranges. This pattern is only observed in the latest Katian, suggesting that it reflects drivers unique to this interval. Extinction of exclusively deeper-water genera implies that changes in water mass properties such as dissolved oxygen content played an important role. Extinction of genera with narrow latitudinal ranges suggests that interactions between shifting climate zones and palaeobiogeography may also have been important. We test the latter hypothesis by estimating whether each genus would have been able to track habitats within its thermal tolerance range during the greenhouse-icehouse climate transition. Models including these estimates are favoured over alternative models. We argue that the LOME, long regarded as non-selective, is highly selective along biogeographic and bathymetric axes that are not closely correlated with taxonomic identity. PMID:27122567

  7. Middle-Late Permian mass extinction on land

    SciTech Connect

    Retallack, G.J.; Metzger, C.A.; Greaver, T.; Jahren, A.H.; Smith, R.M.H.; Sheldon, N.D.

    2006-11-15

    The end-Permian mass extinction has been envisaged as the nadir of biodiversity decline due to increasing volcanic gas emissions over some 9 million years. We propose a different tempo and mechanism of extinction because we recognize two separate but geologically abrupt mass extinctions on land, one terminating the Middle Permian (Guadalupian) at 260.4 Ma and a later one ending the Permian Period at 251 Ma. Our evidence comes from new paleobotanical, paleopedological, and carbon isotopic studies of Portal Mountain, Antarctica, and comparable studies in the Karoo Basin, South Africa. Extinctions have long been apparent among marine invertebrates at both the end of the Guadalupian and end of the Permian, which were also times of warm-wet greenhouse climatic transients, marked soil erosion, transition from high- to low-sinuosity and braided streams, soil stagnation in wetlands, and profound negative carbon isotope anomalies. Both mass extinctions may have resulted from catastrophic methane outbursts to the atmosphere from coal intruded by feeder dikes to flood basalts, such as the end-Guadalupian Emeishan Basalt and end-Permian Siberian Traps.

  8. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A; Peters, Shanan E; Fischer, Woodward W

    2012-05-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia. PMID:22511717

  9. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2012-01-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia. PMID:22511717

  10. Climate change and the selective signature of the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finnegan, Seth; Heim, Noel A.; Peters, Shanan E.; Fischer, Woodward W.

    2012-05-01

    Selectivity patterns provide insights into the causes of ancient extinction events. The Late Ordovician mass extinction was related to Gondwanan glaciation; however, it is still unclear whether elevated extinction rates were attributable to record failure, habitat loss, or climatic cooling. We examined Middle Ordovician-Early Silurian North American fossil occurrences within a spatiotemporally explicit stratigraphic framework that allowed us to quantify rock record effects on a per-taxon basis and assay the interplay of macrostratigraphic and macroecological variables in determining extinction risk. Genera that had large proportions of their observed geographic ranges affected by stratigraphic truncation or environmental shifts at the end of the Katian stage were particularly hard hit. The duration of the subsequent sampling gaps had little effect on extinction risk, suggesting that this extinction pulse cannot be entirely attributed to rock record failure; rather, it was caused, in part, by habitat loss. Extinction risk at this time was also strongly influenced by the maximum paleolatitude at which a genus had previously been sampled, a macroecological trait linked to thermal tolerance. A model trained on the relationship between 16 explanatory variables and extinction patterns during the early Katian interval substantially underestimates the extinction of exclusively tropical taxa during the late Katian interval. These results indicate that glacioeustatic sea-level fall and tropical ocean cooling played important roles in the first pulse of the Late Ordovician mass extinction in Laurentia.

  11. Graptolite community responses to global climate change and the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheets, H. David; Mitchell, Charles E.; Melchin, Michael J.; Loxton, Jason; Štorch, Petr; Carlucci, Kristi L.; Hawkins, Andrew D.

    2016-07-01

    Mass extinctions disrupt ecological communities. Although climate changes produce stress in ecological communities, few paleobiological studies have systematically addressed the impact of global climate changes on the fine details of community structure with a view to understanding how changes in community structure presage, or even cause, biodiversity decline during mass extinctions. Based on a novel Bayesian approach to biotope assessment, we present a study of changes in species abundance distribution patterns of macroplanktonic graptolite faunas (˜447–444 Ma) leading into the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Communities at two contrasting sites exhibit significant decreases in complexity and evenness as a consequence of the preferential decline in abundance of dysaerobic zone specialist species. The observed changes in community complexity and evenness commenced well before the dramatic population depletions that mark the tipping point of the extinction event. Initially, community changes tracked changes in the oceanic water masses, but these relations broke down during the onset of mass extinction. Environmental isotope and biomarker data suggest that sea surface temperature and nutrient cycling in the paleotropical oceans changed sharply during the latest Katian time, with consequent changes in the extent of the oxygen minimum zone and phytoplankton community composition. Although many impacted species persisted in ephemeral populations, increased extinction risk selectively depleted the diversity of paleotropical graptolite species during the latest Katian and early Hirnantian. The effects of long-term climate change on habitats can thus degrade populations in ways that cascade through communities, with effects that culminate in mass extinction.

  12. Graptolite community responses to global climate change and the Late Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sheets, H David; Mitchell, Charles E; Melchin, Michael J; Loxton, Jason; Štorch, Petr; Carlucci, Kristi L; Hawkins, Andrew D

    2016-07-26

    Mass extinctions disrupt ecological communities. Although climate changes produce stress in ecological communities, few paleobiological studies have systematically addressed the impact of global climate changes on the fine details of community structure with a view to understanding how changes in community structure presage, or even cause, biodiversity decline during mass extinctions. Based on a novel Bayesian approach to biotope assessment, we present a study of changes in species abundance distribution patterns of macroplanktonic graptolite faunas (∼447-444 Ma) leading into the Late Ordovician mass extinction. Communities at two contrasting sites exhibit significant decreases in complexity and evenness as a consequence of the preferential decline in abundance of dysaerobic zone specialist species. The observed changes in community complexity and evenness commenced well before the dramatic population depletions that mark the tipping point of the extinction event. Initially, community changes tracked changes in the oceanic water masses, but these relations broke down during the onset of mass extinction. Environmental isotope and biomarker data suggest that sea surface temperature and nutrient cycling in the paleotropical oceans changed sharply during the latest Katian time, with consequent changes in the extent of the oxygen minimum zone and phytoplankton community composition. Although many impacted species persisted in ephemeral populations, increased extinction risk selectively depleted the diversity of paleotropical graptolite species during the latest Katian and early Hirnantian. The effects of long-term climate change on habitats can thus degrade populations in ways that cascade through communities, with effects that culminate in mass extinction. PMID:27432981

  13. Late Frasnian mass extinction: Conodont event stratigraphy, global changes, and possible causes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sandberg, Charles A.; Ziegler, Willi; Dreesen, Roland; Butler, Jamie L.

    1988-01-01

    Several abrupt changes in conodont biofacies are documented to occur synchronously at six primary control sections across the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in Euramerica. These changes occurred within a time-span of only about 100,000 years near the end of the latest Frasnian linguiformis Zone, which is formally named to replace the Uppermost gigas Zone. The conodont-biofacies changes are interpreted to reflect a eustatic rise followed by an abrupt eustatic fall immediately preceding the late Frasnian mass extinction. Two new conodont species are named and described. Ancyrognathus ubiquitus n.sp. is recorded only just below and above the level of late Frasnian extinction and hence is a global marker for that event. Palmatolepispraetriangularis n.sp. is the long-sought Frasnian ancestor of the formerly cryptogenic species, Pa. triangularis, indicator of the earliest Famennian Lower triangularis Zone. The actual extinction event occurred entirely within the Frasnian and is interpreted to have been of brief duration-from as long as 20,000 years to as short as several days. The eustatic rise-and-fall couplet associated with the late Frasnian mass extinction is similar to eustatic couplets associated with the demise of most Frasnian (F2h) reefs worldwide about 1 m.y. earlier and with a latest Famennian mass extinction about 9.5 m.y. later. All these events may be directly or indirectly attributable to extraterrestrial triggering mechanisms. An impact of a small bolide or a near miss of a larger bolide may have caused the earlier demise of Frasnian reefs. An impact of possibly the same larger bolide in the Southern Hemisphere would explain the late Frasnian mass extinction. Global regression during the Famennian probably resulted from Southern-Hemisphere glaciation triggered by the latest Frasnian impact. Glaciation probably was the indirect cause of the latest Famennian mass extinction.

  14. Deep-sea record of impact apparently unrelated to mass extinction in the Late Triassic

    PubMed Central

    Onoue, Tetsuji; Sato, Honami; Nakamura, Tomoki; Noguchi, Takaaki; Hidaka, Yoshihiro; Shirai, Naoki; Ebihara, Mitsuru; Osawa, Takahito; Hatsukawa, Yuichi; Toh, Yosuke; Koizumi, Mitsuo; Harada, Hideo; Orchard, Michael J.; Nedachi, Munetomo

    2012-01-01

    The 34-million-year (My) interval of the Late Triassic is marked by the formation of several large impact structures on Earth. Late Triassic impact events have been considered a factor in biotic extinction events in the Late Triassic (e.g., end-Triassic extinction event), but this scenario remains controversial because of a lack of stratigraphic records of ejecta deposits. Here, we report evidence for an impact event (platinum group elements anomaly with nickel-rich magnetite and microspherules) from the middle Norian (Upper Triassic) deep-sea sediment in Japan. This includes anomalously high abundances of iridium, up to 41.5 parts per billion (ppb), in the ejecta deposit, which suggests that the iridium-enriched ejecta layers of the Late Triassic may be found on a global scale. The ejecta deposit is constrained by microfossils that suggest correlation with the 215.5-Mya, 100-km-wide Manicouagan impact crater in Canada. Our analysis of radiolarians shows no evidence of a mass extinction event across the impact event horizon, and no contemporaneous faunal turnover is seen in other marine planktons. However, such an event has been reported among marine faunas and terrestrial tetrapods and floras in North America. We, therefore, suggest that the Manicouagan impact triggered the extinction of terrestrial and marine organisms near the impact site but not within the pelagic marine realm. PMID:23129649

  15. Volcanism and related Environmental changes linked to Late Maastrichtian High Stress and KT Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry

    2010-05-01

    Near the end of the Maastrichtian Earth was hit by a confluence of catastrophes ranging from impacts to some of the most devastating volcanic eruptions coupled with major changes in climate, sea level and ocean chemistry that ultimately led to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) mass extinction. For three decades this mass extinction has been commonly attributed to the sole kill-effect of the Chicxulub impact on Yucatan. Multi-disciplinary evidence (paleontologic, stratigraphic, sedimentologic geochemical) from the Yucatan impact crater to sections in Mexico and Texas revealed that this impact predates the KTB and caused no mass extinction. Recent studies reveal that the most devastating Deccan volcanic eruptions in India occurred near the end of the Maastrichtian and ended coincident with the KT mass extinction (Keller et al., 2008). Examination of biotic stress in the marine realm leading up to the KT mass extinction reveals times of environmental stresses associated with volcanism, greenhouse warming, mesotrophic basins and shallow marginal settings from the Tethys Ocean to the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans (Keller and Abramovich, 2009). Biotic stress conditions vary with the degree of environmental change and range from intraspecies size reduction, to loss of diversity and ultimately mass extinction. No significant biotic stress was observed in assemblages before and after the Chicxulub impact identified by a layer of impact spherules in late Maastrichtian sediments of zone CF1 predating the KTB in Mexico and Texas (Keller et al., 2009b,c). Maximum biotic stress leading to the KT mass extinction is associated with Deccan volcanism in India near the end of the Maastrichtian. This suggests that the mass extinction was likely a direct cause of Deccan volcanism, although the presence of a major Ir anomaly at the KTB does not rule out the possibility of a second major bolide impact exacerbating already catastrophic conditions. Keller, G., Adatte, T., Gardin, S

  16. Biotic effects of late Maastrichtian mantle plume volcanism: implications for impacts and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta

    2005-02-01

    During the late Maastrichtian, DSDP Site 216 on Ninetyeast Ridge, Indian Ocean, passed over a mantle plume leading to volcanic eruptions, islands built to sea level, and catastrophic environmental conditions for planktic and benthic foraminifera. The biotic effects were severe, including dwarfing of all benthic and planktic species, a 90% reduction in species diversity, exclusion of all ecological specialists, near-absence of ecological generalists, and dominance of the disaster opportunist Guembelitria alternating with low O 2-tolerant species. These faunal characteristics are identical to those of the K-T boundary mass extinction, except that the fauna recovered after Site 216 passed beyond the influence of mantle plume volcanism about 500 kyr before the K-T boundary. Similar biotic effects have been observed in Madagascar, Israel, and Egypt. The direct correlation between mantle plume volcanism and biotic effects on Ninetyeast Ridge and the similarity to the K-T mass extinction, which is generally attributed to a large impact, reveal that impacts and volcanism can cause similar environmental catastrophes. This raises the inevitable question: Are mass extinctions caused by impacts or mantle plume volcanism? The unequivocal correlation between intense volcanism and high-stress assemblages necessitates a review of current impact and mass extinction theories.

  17. Did a Gamma-Ray Burst Initiate the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Melott, A. L.; Lieberman, B. S.; Laird, C. M.; Martin, L. D.; Medvedov, M. V.; Thomas, B. C.; Cannizzo, J. K.; Gehrels, N.; Jackman, C. H.

    2004-01-01

    Gamma-ray bursts (hereafter GRB) produce a flux of radiation detectable across the observable Universe. A GRB within our own galaxy could do considerable damage to the Earth's biosphere; rate estimates suggest that a dangerously near GRB should occur on average several times per billion years. At leastfive times in the history of lfe, the Earth experienced mass extinctions that eliminated a large percentage of the biota. Many possible causes have been documented, and GRB may also have contributed. The late Ordovician mass extinction approximately 440 million years ago may be at least partly the result of a GRB. Due to severe depletion of the ozone layer, intense solar ultraviolet radiation is expected to result from a nearby GRB, and some of the patterns of extinction and survivorship at this time may be attributable to elevated levels of UV radiation reaching the Earth. In addition a GRB could trigger the global cooling which occurs at the end of the Ordovician period that follows an interval of relatively warm climate. Intense rapid cooling and glaciation at that time, previously identijied as the probable cause of this mass extinction, may have resultedfiom a GRB.

  18. Late Paleozoic subulitacea (mollusca:gastropoda), mass extinctions and the replacement of evolutionary faunas

    SciTech Connect

    Erwin, D.H.

    1985-01-01

    Mesogastropod subulitaceans possess characteristics typical of active carnivores and occupied a trophic regime typical of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic evolutionary fauna. Despite occupying a vacant niche, subulitaceans are low in both diversity and abundance in late Paleozoic gastropod faunas. In addition, Paleozoic Archaeogastropoda and Mesogastropoda are taxonomically and functionally distinct from Mesozoic groups and display diversity dynamics typical of the Paleozoic evolutionary fauna, not the Mesozoic-Cenozoic fauna with which they were grouped by Sepkoski. Late Paleozoic gastropods are different from pre-Carboniferous taxa, but there is no preferential expansion of the major Mesozoic taxa, nor is there any pattern of exploitation of a major niche utilized by later groups but under-used by Paleozoic taxa. The high taxonomic level used Sepkoski's factor analysis neglects the finer scale of replacement and diversification. This distinct evolutionary behavior of Paleozoic gastropods may be typical of other taxa as well. It weakens the assertions of Kitchell and Carr and Sepkoksi and Miller that the replacement of evolutionary Fauna II by Fauna III began in the late Paleozoic and would have occurred even without the Guadelupian-Dzulfian mass extinction. Thus for gastropods at last, the Late Permian mass extinction did not merely speed up on ongoing process, but probably determined the evolutionary outcome.

  19. Multiple S-isotopic evidence for episodic shoaling of anoxic water during Late Permian mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Shen, Yanan; Farquhar, James; Zhang, Hua; Masterson, Andrew; Zhang, Tonggang; Wing, Boswell A.

    2011-01-01

    Global fossil data show that profound biodiversity loss preceded the final catastrophe that killed nearly 90% marine species on a global scale at the end of the Permian. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this extinction and yet still remain greatly debated. Here, we report analyses of all four sulphur isotopes (32S, 33S, 34S and 36S) for pyrites in sedimentary rocks from the Meishan section in South China. We observe a sulphur isotope signal (negative δ34S with negative Δ33S) that may have resulted from limitation of sulphate supply, which may be linked to a near shutdown of bioturbation during shoaling of anoxic water. These results indicate that episodic shoaling of anoxic water may have contributed to the profound biodiversity crisis before the final catastrophe. Our data suggest a prolonged deterioration of oceanic environments during the Late Permian mass extinction. PMID:21343928

  20. Multiple S-isotopic evidence for episodic shoaling of anoxic water during Late Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Shen, Yanan; Farquhar, James; Zhang, Hua; Masterson, Andrew; Zhang, Tonggang; Wing, Boswell A

    2011-01-01

    Global fossil data show that profound biodiversity loss preceded the final catastrophe that killed nearly 90% marine species on a global scale at the end of the Permian. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain this extinction and yet still remain greatly debated. Here, we report analyses of all four sulphur isotopes ((32)S, (33)S, (34)S and (36)S) for pyrites in sedimentary rocks from the Meishan section in South China. We observe a sulphur isotope signal (negative δ(34)S with negative Δ(33)S) that may have resulted from limitation of sulphate supply, which may be linked to a near shutdown of bioturbation during shoaling of anoxic water. These results indicate that episodic shoaling of anoxic water may have contributed to the profound biodiversity crisis before the final catastrophe. Our data suggest a prolonged deterioration of oceanic environments during the Late Permian mass extinction. PMID:21343928

  1. Mass extinction: a commentary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1987-01-01

    Four neocatastrophist claims about mass extinction are currently being debated; they are that: 1, the late Cretaceous mass extinction was caused by large body impact; 2, as many as five other major extinctions were caused by impact; 3, the timing of extinction events since the Permian is uniformly periodic; and 4, the ages of impact craters on Earth are also periodic and in phase with the extinctions. Although strongly interconnected the four claims are independent in the sense that none depends on the others. Evidence for a link between impact and extinction is strong but still needs more confirmation through bed-by-bed and laboratory studies. An important area for future research is the question of whether extinction is a continuous process, with the rate increasing at times of mass extinctions, or whether it is episodic at all scales. If the latter is shown to be generally true, then species are at risk of extinction only rarely during their existence and catastrophism, in the sense of isolated events of extreme stress, is indicated. This is line of reasoning can only be considered an hypothesis for testing. In a larger context, paleontologists may benefit from a research strategy that looks to known Solar System and Galactic phenomena for predictions about environmental effects on earth. The recent success in the recognition of Milankovitch Cycles in the late Pleistocene record is an example of the potential of this research area.

  2. Functional diversity of marine ecosystems after the Late Permian mass extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, William J.; Twitchett, Richard J.

    2014-03-01

    The Late Permian mass extinction event about 252 million years ago was the most severe biotic crisis of the past 500 million years and occurred during an episode of global warming. The loss of around two-thirds of marine genera is thought to have had substantial ecological effects, but the overall impacts on the functioning of marine ecosystems and the pattern of marine recovery are uncertain. Here we analyse the fossil occurrences of all known benthic marine invertebrate genera from the Permian and Triassic periods, and assign each to a functional group based on their inferred lifestyle. We show that despite the selective extinction of 62-74% of these genera, all but one functional group persisted through the crisis, indicating that there was no significant loss of functional diversity at the global scale. In addition, only one new mode of life originated in the extinction aftermath. We suggest that Early Triassic marine ecosystems were not as ecologically depauperate as widely assumed. Functional diversity was, however, reduced in particular regions and habitats, such as tropical reefs; at these smaller scales, recovery varied spatially and temporally, probably driven by migration of surviving groups. We find that marine ecosystems did not return to their pre-extinction state, and by the Middle Triassic greater functional evenness is recorded, resulting from the radiation of previously subordinate groups such as motile, epifaunal grazers.

  3. The recovery of the ostracod fauna after the Late Devonian mass extinction: the Devils Gate Pass section example (Nevada, USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casier, Jean-Georges; Lethiers, Francis

    1998-10-01

    The recovery of the ostracod fauna is rapid after the Late Devonian mass extinction in the Devils Gate Pass section and fifty-nine species have been recognised in the Early Famennian. Forty-five appear for the first time, whereas fourteen others are known from the Late Frasnian (= lazarus species). The ostracod distribution in the Early Famennian at Devils Gate is greatly influenced by regional sedimentological factors principally induced by a drastic sea-level eustatic fall.

  4. Mass extinctions in the fossil record of late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tetrapods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation in terrestrial sediments, and because vertebrates are rarely very abundant. However, the fossil record of tetrapods has the advantages that it is easier to establish a phylogenetic taxonomy than for many invertebrate groups (many characters; fast evolution), and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses (greater knowledge of modern tetrapod ecology). The diversity of tetrapods increased during the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and the Permian, but it remained generally constant during the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Early Cretaceous. Overall diversity then began to increase in the Late Cretaceous, and continued to do so during the Tertiary. The rapid radiation of modern tetrapod groups — frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, birds and mammals — was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event.

  5. Isotopic evidence bearing on Late Triassic extinction events, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, and implications for the duration and cause of the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ward, P.D.; Garrison, G.H.; Haggart, J.W.; Kring, D.A.; Beattie, M.J.

    2004-01-01

    Stable isotope analyses of Late Triassic to earliest Jurassic strata from Kennecott Point in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada shows the presence of two distinct and different organic carbon isotope anomalies at the Norian/Rhaetian and Rhaetian/Hettangian (=Triassic/Jurassic) stage boundaries. At the older of these boundaries, which is marked by the disappearance of the bivalve Monotis, the isotope record shows a series of short-lived positive excursions toward heavier values. Strata approaching this boundary show evidence of increasing anoxia. At the higher boundary, marked by the disappearance of the last remaining Triassic ammonites and over 50 species of radiolarians, the isotopic pattern consists of a series of short duration negative anomalies. The two events, separated by the duration of the Rhaetian age, comprise the end-Triassic mass extinction. While there is no definitive evidence as to cause, the isotopic record does not appear similar to that of the impact-caused Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary extinction. ?? 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  6. A global cyclostratigraphic framework constrains the timing and pacing of environmental changes over the Late Devonian (Frasnian - Famennian) mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Vleeschouwer, David; Da Silva, Anne-Christine; Day, James E.; Whalen, Michael; Claeys, Philippe

    2016-04-01

    Milankovitch cycles (obliquity, eccentricity and precession) result in changes in the distribution of solar energy over seasons, as well as over latitudes, on time scales of ten thousands of years to millions of years. These changing patterns in insolation have induced significant variations in Earth's past climate over the last 4.5 billion years. Cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology utilize the geologic imprint of such quasi-cyclic climatic variations to measure geologic time. In recent years, major improvements of the Geologic Time Scale have been proposed through the application of cyclostratigraphy, mostly for the Mesozoic and Cenozoic (Gradstein et al., 2012). However, the field of Paleozoic cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology is still in its infancy and the application of cyclostratigraphic techniques in the Paleozoic allows for a whole new range of research questions. For example, unraveling the timing and pacing of environmental changes over the Late Devonian mass extinction on a 105-year time-scale concerns such a novel research question. Here, we present a global cyclostratigraphic framework for late Frasnian to early Famennian climatic and environmental change, through the integration of globally distributed sections. The backbone of this relative time scale consists of previously published cyclostratigraphies for western Canada and Poland (De Vleeschouwer et al., 2012; De Vleeschouwer et al., 2013). We elaborate this Euramerican base by integrating new proxy data -interpreted in terms of astronomical climate forcing- from the Iowa basin (USA, magnetic susceptibility and carbon isotope data) and Belgium (XRF and carbon isotope data). Next, we expand this well-established cyclostratigraphic framework towards the Paleo-Tethys Ocean, using magnetic susceptibility and carbon isotope records from the Fuhe section in South China (Whalen et al., 2015). The resulting global cyclostratigraphic framework implies an important refinement of the late Frasnian to

  7. Impacts of a massive release of methane and hydrogen sulfide on oxygen and ozone during the late Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Koga, Seizi

    2013-08-01

    The largest mass extinction of animals and plants in both the ocean and on land occurred in the late Permian (252 Ma), largely coinciding with the largest flood basalt volcanism event in Siberia and an oceanic anoxic/euxinic event. We investigated the impacts of a massive release of methane (CH4) from the Siberian igneous province and the ocean and/or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from the euxinic ocean on oxygen and ozone using photochemical model calculations. Our calculations indicated that an approximate of 14% decrease in atmospheric O2 levels would have occurred in the case of a large combined CH4 and H2S flux to the atmosphere, whereas an approximate of 8 to 10% decrease would have occurred from the CH4 flux and oxidation of all H2S in the ocean. The slight decrease in atmospheric O2 levels may have contributed to the extinction event. We demonstrate for the first time that a massive release of CH4 from the Siberian igneous province and a coincident massive release of CH4 and H2S did not cause ozone collapse. A collapse of stratospheric ozone leading to an increase in UV is not supported by the maximum model input levels for CH4 and H2S. These conclusions on O2 and O3 are correspondent to every H2S release percentages from the ocean to the atmosphere.

  8. Mass extinction causes debated

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Katzoff, Judith A.

    A highly charged atmosphere and a tacit agreement to disagree marked the first Union session at the 1985 AGU Fall Meeting,“Where Are We Now on Iridium, Anomalies, Extinctions, Impacts, Volcanism, and Periodicity?” The session brought together a remarkably large and varied group of participants who are studying topics related to mass extinctions. “The important thing is bringing all these people together, sharing … how they think,” said J. John Sepkoski, Jr., of the University of Chicago, who presented one of the session's invited papers.The controversies under discussion included the nature of the catastrophic events that may have occurred 65 million years ago to precipitate mass extinctions between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods and whether mass extinctions have occurred at regular intervals (and if so, what those intervals are). Both the group advocating extraterrestrial impacts and that advocating episodes of unusual terrestrial volcanism seemed to agree that both kinds of catastrophes would have brought on highly acidic precipitation that could have threatened many life forms. In fact, one paleontologist called for closer examination of patterns of survival during periods of mass extinctions in order to gain clues about the nature of the events that may have brought on the extinctions. “The survivors … set limits on what could have occurred,” said William A. Clemens of the University of California, Berkeley.

  9. Late Cretaceous restructuring of terrestrial communities facilitated the end-Cretaceous mass extinction in North America

    PubMed Central

    Roopnarine, Peter D.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.

    2012-01-01

    The sudden environmental catastrophe in the wake of the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact had drastic effects that rippled through animal communities. To explore how these effects may have been exacerbated by prior ecological changes, we used a food-web model to simulate the effects of primary productivity disruptions, such as those predicted to result from an asteroid impact, on ten Campanian and seven Maastrichtian terrestrial localities in North America. Our analysis documents that a shift in trophic structure between Campanian and Maastrichtian communities in North America led Maastrichtian communities to experience more secondary extinction at lower levels of primary production shutdown and possess a lower collapse threshold than Campanian communities. Of particular note is the fact that changes in dinosaur richness had a negative impact on the robustness of Maastrichtian ecosystems against environmental perturbations. Therefore, earlier ecological restructuring may have exacerbated the impact and severity of the end-Cretaceous extinction, at least in North America. PMID:23112149

  10. Late Cretaceous restructuring of terrestrial communities facilitated the end-Cretaceous mass extinction in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, Jonathan S.; Roopnarine, Peter D.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.

    2012-11-01

    The sudden environmental catastrophe in the wake of the end-Cretaceous asteroid impact had drastic effects that rippled through animal communities. To explore how these effects may have been exacerbated by prior ecological changes, we used a food-web model to simulate the effects of primary productivity disruptions, such as those predicted to result from an asteroid impact, on ten Campanian and seven Maastrichtian terrestrial localities in North America. Our analysis documents that a shift in trophic structure between Campanian and Maastrichtian communities in North America led Maastrichtian communities to experience more secondary extinction at lower levels of primary production shutdown and possess a lower collapse threshold than Campanian communities. Of particular note is the fact that changes in dinosaur richness had a negative impact on the robustness of Maastrichtian ecosystems against environmental perturbations. Therefore, earlier ecological restructuring may have exacerbated the impact and severity of the end-Cretaceous extinction, at least in North America.

  11. The Geochemistry of Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kump, L. R.

    2003-12-01

    The course of biological evolution is inextricably linked to that of the environment through an intricate network of feedbacks that span all scales of space and time. Disruptions to the environment have biological consequences, and vice versa. Fossils provide the prima facie evidence for biotic disruptions: catastrophic losses of global biodiversity at various times in the Phanerozoic. However, the forensic evidence for the causes and environmental consequences of these mass extinctions resides primarily in the geochemical composition of sedimentary rocks deposited during the extinction intervals. Thus, advancement in our understanding of mass extinctions requires detailed knowledge obtained from both paleontological and geochemical records.This chapter reviews the state of knowledge concerning the geochemistry of the "big five" extinctions of the Phanerozoic (e.g., Sepkoski, 1993): the Late Ordovician (Hirnantian; 440 Ma), the Late Devonian (an extended or multiple event with its apex at the Frasnian-Famennian (F-F) boundary; 367 Ma), the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr; 251 Ma), the Triassic-Jurassic (Tr-J; 200 Ma), and the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T; 65 Ma). The focus on the big five is a matter of convenience, as there is a continuum in extinction rates from "background" to "mass extinction." Although much of the literature on extinctions centers on the causes and extents of biodiversity loss, in recent years paleontologists have begun to focus on recoveries (see, e.g., Hart, 1996; Kirchner and Weil, 2000; Erwin, 2001 and references therein).To the extent that the duration of the recovery interval may reflect a slow relaxation of the environment from perturbation, analysis of the geochemical record of recovery is an integral part of this effort. In interpreting the geochemical and biological records of recovery, we need to maintain a clear distinction among the characteristics of the global biota: their biodiversity (affected by differences in origination and extinction

  12. Mass Extinctions Past and Present.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allmon, Warren Douglas

    1987-01-01

    Discusses some parallels that seem to exist between mass extinction recognizable in the geologic record and the impending extinction of a significant proportion of the earth's species due largely to tropical deforestation. Describes some recent theories of causal factors and periodicities in mass extinction. (Author/TW)

  13. The end-Permian mass extinction: A complex, multicausal extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Erwin, D. H.

    1994-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction was the most extensive in the history of life and remains one of the most complex. Understanding its causes is particularly important because it anchors the putative 26-m.y. pattern of periodic extinction. However, there is no good evidence for an impact and this extinction appears to be more complex than others, involving at least three phases. The first began with the onset of a marine regression during the Late Permian and resulting elimination of most marine basins, reduction in habitat area, and increased climatic instability; the first pulse of tetrapod extinctions occurred in South Africa at this time. The second phase involved increased regression in many areas (although apparently not in South China) and heightened climatic instability and environmental degradation. Release of gas hydrates, oxidation of marine carbon, and the eruption of the Siberian flood basalts occurred during this phase. The final phase of the extinction episode began with the earliest Triassic marine regression and destruction of nearshore continental habitats. Some evidence suggests oceanic anoxia may have developed during the final phase of the extinction, although it appears to have been insufficient to the sole cause of the extinction.

  14. Hypoxia, global warming, and terrestrial late Permian extinctions.

    PubMed

    Huey, Raymond B; Ward, Peter D

    2005-04-15

    A catastrophic extinction occurred at the end of the Permian Period. However, baseline extinction rates appear to have been elevated even before the final catastrophe, suggesting sustained environmental degradation. For terrestrial vertebrates during the Late Permian, the combination of a drop in atmospheric oxygen plus climate warming would have induced hypoxic stress and consequently compressed altitudinal ranges to near sea level. Our simulations suggest that the magnitude of altitudinal compression would have forced extinctions by reducing habitat diversity, fragmenting and isolating populations, and inducing a species-area effect. It also might have delayed ecosystem recovery after the mass extinction. PMID:15831755

  15. Mass Extinctions in Earth's History

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, P. D.

    2002-12-01

    Mass extinctions are short intervals of elevated species death. Possible causes of Earth's mass extinctions are both external (astronomical) and internal (tectonic and biotic changes from planetary mechanisms). Paleontologists have identified five "major" mass extinctions (>50 die-off in less than a million years) and more than 20 other minor events over the past 550 million years. Earlier major extinction events undoubtedly also occurred, but we have no fossil record; these were probably associated with, for example, the early heavy bombardment that cleared out the solar system, the advent of oxygen in the atmosphere, and various "snowball Earth" events. Mass extinctions are viewed as both destructive (species death ) and constructive, in that they allow evolutionary innovation in the wake of species disappearances. From an astrobiological perspective, mass extinctions must be considered as able both to reduce biodiversity and even potentially end life on any planet. Of the five major mass extinctions identified on Earth, only one (the Cretaceous/Tertiary event 65 million years ago that famously killed off the dinosaurs ) is unambiguously related to the impact of an asteroid or comet ( 10-km diameter). The Permian/Triassic (250 Myr ago) and Triassic/Jurassic (202 Myr ago) events are now the center of debate between those favoring impact and those suggesting large volume flooding by basaltic lavas. The final two events, Ordovician (440 Myr ago) and Devonian (370 Myr ago) have no accepted causal mechanisms.

  16. The impact of mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flessa, Karl W.

    1988-01-01

    In the years since Snowbird an explosive growth of research on the patterns, causes, and consequences of extinction was seen. The fossil record of extinction is better known, stratigraphic sections were scrutinized in great detail, and additional markers of environmental change were discovered in the rock record. However flawed, the fossil record is the only record that exists of natural extinction. Compilations from the primary literature contain a faint periodic signal: the extinctions of the past 250 my may be regulary spaced. The reality of the periodicity remains a subject for debate. The implications of periodicity are so profound that the debate is sure to continue. The greater precision from stratigraphic sections spanning extinction events has yet to resolve controversies concerning the rates at which extinctions occurred. Some sections seem to record sudden terminations, while others suggest gradual or steplike environmental deterioration. Unfortunately, the manner in which the strata record extinctions and compile stratigraphic ranges makes a strictly literal reading of the fossil record inadvisable. Much progress was made in the study of mass extinctions. The issues are more sharply defined but they are not fully resolved. Scenarios should look back to the phenomena they purport to explain - not just an iridium-rich layer, but the complex fabric of a mass extinction.

  17. Lipid Biomarkers of the Maquoketa Formation, Iowa: Transect of a Paleobathymetry Gradient in the Lead-Up to the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rohrssen, M.; Love, G. D.

    2012-12-01

    The Late Ordovician (~450-44 Ma) was a period of drastic environmental change, beginning in a hothouse climate with epeiric seaways near a Phanerozoic high and concluding with the Hirnantian glaciation, large positive carbon isotope excursion(s) (Hirnantian isotopic carbon excursion, HICE) and one of the Big Five mass extinctions. The two-phased expression of the Late Ordovician mass extinction has been attributed to regression-driven habitat loss and the consequences of cooling climate, followed by transgression of oxygen-deficient bottom water onto previously oxygenated shelves. Lipid biomarker records indicate substantial changes in microbial communities during the glacial maximum and mass extinction (Rohrssen et al., in press); to fully uncouple the effects of sea level-driven facies change from more regional or global factors we have analyzed lipid biomarkers along a shallow to deep water paleobathymetry gradient in central Laurentia across a transgressive-regressive cycle. We compare results from the Maquoketa Formation to previous work on Hirnantian- and Katian-age rocks to develop a better understanding of the association of microbial communities with Late Ordovician-age epeiric sea and upwelling environments. During deposition of the Katian-age Maquoketa Formation, Iowa was bounded to the north by exposed highlands of the Transcontinental Arch and separated from the southeastern half of the Laurentian epeiric seaway by a northeast-southwest trending shelf-break into the deeper waters of the Seebree Trough, a depression thought to have connected central and eastern Laurentia to the open ocean. As a result of this paleotopography, samples of the Maquoketa Formation collected from drill cores BS5 (Clayton County), SS-15 (Jackson County), and H33 (Des Moines County) in a transect from northeastern to southeastern Iowa capture the change in facies from carbonate-rich platform to shale with phosphatic intervals at the shelf-break in contemporaneous deposits

  18. What Caused the Mass Extinction?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alvarez, Walter; And Others

    1990-01-01

    Presented are the arguments of two different points of view on the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Evidence of extraterrestrial impact theory and massive volcanic eruption theory are discussed. (CW)

  19. Supernovae and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vandenbergh, S.

    1994-01-01

    Shklovsky and others have suggested that some of the major extinctions in the geological record might have been triggered by explosions of nearby supernovae. The frequency of such extinction events will depend on the galactic supernova frequency and on the distance up to which a supernova explosion will produce lethal effects upon terrestrial life. In the present note it will be assumed that a killer supernova has to occur so close to Earth that it will be embedded in a young, active, supernova remnant. Such young remnants typically have radii approximately less than 3 pc (1 x 10(exp 19) cm). Larger (more pessimistic?) killer radii have been adopted by Ruderman, Romig, and by Ellis and Schramm. From observations of historical supernovae, van den Bergh finds that core-collapse (types Ib and II) supernovae occur within 4 kpc of the Sun at a rate of 0.2 plus or minus 0.1 per century. Adopting a layer thickness of 0.3 kpc for the galacitc disk, this corresponds to a rate of approximately 1.3 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). Including supernovae of type Ia will increase the total supernovae rate to approximately 1.5 x 10(exp -4) supernovae pc(exp -3) g.y.(exp -1). For a lethal radius of R pc the rate of killer events will therefore be 1.7 (R/3)(exp 3) x 10(exp -2) supernovae per g.y. However, a frequency of a few extinctions per g.y. is required to account for the extinctions observed during the phanerozoic. With R (extinction) approximately 3 pc, the galactic supernova frequency is therefore too low by 2 orders of magnitude to account for the major extinctions in the geological record.

  20. The Sixth Great Mass Extinction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wagler, Ron

    2012-01-01

    Five past great mass extinctions have occurred during Earth's history. Humanity is currently in the midst of a sixth, human-induced great mass extinction of plant and animal life (e.g., Alroy 2008; Jackson 2008; Lewis 2006; McDaniel and Borton 2002; Rockstrom et al. 2009; Rohr et al. 2008; Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill 2007; Thomas et al. 2004;…

  1. Ca, Sr, Mo and U isotopes evidence ocean acidification and deoxygenation during the Late Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silva-Tamayo, Juan Carlos; Payne, Jon; Wignall, Paul; Newton, Rob; Eisenhauer, Anton; Weyer, Stenfan; Neubert, Nadja; Lau, Kim; Maher, Kate; Paytan, Adina; Lehrmann, Dan; Altiner, Demir; Yu, Meiyi

    2014-05-01

    The most catastrophic extinction event in the history of animal life occurred at the end of the Permian Period, ca. 252 Mya. Ocean acidification and global oceanic euxinia have each been proposed as causes of this biotic crisis, but the magnitude and timing of change in global ocean chemistry remains poorly constrained. Here we use multiple isotope systems - Ca, Sr, Mo and U - measured from well dated Upper Permian- Lower Triassic sedimentary sections to better constrain the magnitude and timing of change in ocean chemistry and the effects of ocean acidification and de-oxygenation through this interval. All the investigated carbonate successions (Turkey, Italy and China) exhibit decreasing δ44/40Ca compositions, from ~-1.4‰ to -2.0‰ in the interval preceding the main extinction. These values remain low during most of the Griesbachian, to finally return to -1.4‰ in the middle Dienerian. The limestone succession from southern Turkey also displays a major decrease in the δ88/86Sr values from 0.45‰ to 0.3‰ before the extinction. These values remain low during the Griesbachian and finally increase to 0.55‰ by the middle Dienerian. The paired negative anomalies on the carbonate δ44/40Ca and δ88/86Sr suggest a decrease in the carbonate precipitation and thus an episode of ocean acidification coincident with the major biotic crisis. The Mo and U isotope records also exhibit significant rapid negative anomalies at the onset of the main extinction interval, suggesting rapid expansion of anoxic and euxinic marine bottom waters during the extinction interval. The rapidity of the isotope excursions in Mo and U suggests substantially reduced residence times of these elements in seawater relative to the modern, consistent with expectations for a time of widespread anoxia. The large C-isotope variability within Lower Triassic rocks, which is similar to that of the Lower-Middle Cambrian, may reflect biologically controlled perturbations of the oceanic carbon cycle

  2. Mass extinctions in the deep sea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, E.

    1988-01-01

    The character of mass extinctions can be assessed by studying extinction patterns of organisms, the fabric of the extinction, and assessing the environmental niche and mode of life of survivors. Deep-sea benthic foraminifera have been listed as little affected by the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction, but very few quantitative data are available. New data on deep-sea Late Maestrichtian-Eocene benthic foraminifera from Maud Rise (Antractica) indicate that about 10 percent of the species living at depths of 2000 to 2500 m had last appearances within 1 my of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, versus about 25 percent of species at 1000 to 1500 m. Many survivors from the Cretaceous became extinct in a period of global deep-sea benthic foraminiferal extinction at the end of the Paleocene, a time otherwise marked by very few extinctions. Preliminary conclusions suggest that the deep oceanic environment is essentially decoupled from the shallow marine and terrestrial environment, and that even major disturbances of one of these will not greatly affect the other. This gives deep-sea benthic faunas a good opportunity to recolonize shallow environments from greater depths and vice versa after massive extinctions. The decoupling means that data on deep-sea benthic boundary was caused by the environmental effects of asteriod impact or excessive volcanism. The benthic foraminiferal data strongly suggest, however, that the environmental results were strongest at the Earth's surface, and that there was no major disturbance of the deep ocean; this pattern might result both from excessive volcanism and from an impact on land.

  3. Flood basalts and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morgan, W. Jason

    1988-01-01

    There appears to be a correlation between the times of flood basalts and mass-extinction events. There is a correlation of flood basalts and hotspot tracks--flood basalts appear to mark the beginning of a new hotspot. Perhaps there is an initial instability in the mantle that bursts forth as a flood basalt but then becomes a steady trickle that persists for many tens of millions of years. Suppose that flood basalts and not impacts cause the environmental changes that lead to mass-extinctions. This is a very testable hypothesis: it predicts that the ages of the flows should agree exactly with the times of extinctions. The Deccan and K-T ages agree with this hypothesis; An iridium anomaly at extinction boundaries apparently can be explained by a scaled-up eruption of the Hawaiian type; the occurrence of shocked-quartz is more of a problem. However if the flood basalts are all well dated and their ages indeed agree with extinction times, then surely some mechanism to appropriately produce shocked-quartz will be found.

  4. Sulfur isotope evidence for low and fluctuating sulfate levels in the Late Devonian ocean and the potential link with the mass extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sim, Min Sub; Ono, Shuhei; Hurtgen, Matthew T.

    2015-06-01

    High amplitude positive carbon isotope excursions in the Late Devonian, the punctata and Kellwasser events, reflect major perturbations in the global carbon cycle that have been attributed to increased continental weathering and subsequent ocean eutrophication. Despite the comparable carbon isotope anomalies, however, a major extinction has been reported only for the Kellwasser Events, while the punctata Event is marked by low extinction intensity. This study presents multiple sulfur isotope records of carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS) and pyrite from Late Devonian sections in the Great Basin, USA, in order to document changes in the coupled (or decoupled) geochemical cycles of carbon and sulfur during the punctata and Upper Kellwasser events. A positive sulfur isotope shift in both CAS and pyrite accompanies the onset of the punctata Event, but to a larger extent in the latter. As a result, the sulfur isotope offset between CAS and pyrite (Δ34SCAS-py) dropped to less than 10‰. In the middle of the punctata Event, a sharp negative δ34SCAS excursion and negative Δ34SCAS-py values coincide with the Alamo impact. Unlike the rapid δ34Spy and δ34SCAS oscillations associated with the punctata Event, the Upper Kellwasser was a period of relative stability, except for a brief δ34SCAS drop before the event. Paired sulfur isotope data, aided by a simple box model, suggest that the geochemical cycle of sulfur may have been partly responsible for the contrasting biological responses that define these events. High stratigraphic δ34Spy and δ34SCAS variability, coupled with strong reservoir effect, demonstrates a relatively small oceanic sulfate pool existed during the punctata Event. Further, the Alamo impact likely triggered the rapid oxidation of microbially-produced sulfide within this event. The expansion of sulfidic bottom water thus may have been impeded during the punctata Event. In contrast, the lack of a positive shift in δ34SCAS and sizable Δ34SCAS

  5. The end-triassic mass extinction event

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hallam, A.

    1988-01-01

    The end-Triassic is the least studied of the five major episodes of mass extinction recognized in the Phanerozoic, and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is not precisely defined in most parts of the world, with a paucity of good marine sections and an insufficiency of biostratigraphically valuable fossils. Despite these limitations it is clear that there was a significant episode of mass extinction, affecting many groups, in the Late Norian and the existing facts are consistent with it having taken place at the very end of the period. The best record globally comes from marine strata. There was an almost complete turnover of ammonites across the T-J boundary, with perhaps no more than one genus surviving. About half the bivalve genera and most of the species went extinct, as did many archaeogastropods. Many Paleozoic-dominant brachiopods also disappeared, as did the last of the conodonts. There was a major collapse and disappearance of the Alpine calcareous sponge. Among terrestrial biota, a significant extinction event involving tetrapods was recognized. With regard to possible environmental events that may be postulated to account for the extinctions, there is no evidence of any significant global change of climate at this time. The existence of the large Manicouagan crater in Quebec, dated as about late or end-Triassic, has led to the suggestion that an impact event might be implicated, but so far despite intensive search no unequivocal iridium anomaly or shocked quartz was discovered. On the other hand there is strong evidence for significant marine regression in many parts of the world. It is proposed therefore that the likeliest cause of the marine extinctions is severe reduction in habitat area caused either by regression of epicontinental seas, subsequent widespread anoxia during the succeeding transgression, or a combination of the two.

  6. High-precision U-Pb zircon geochronological constraints on the End-Triassic Mass Extinction, the late Triassic Astronomical Time Scale and geochemical evolution of CAMP magmatism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blackburn, T. J.; Olsen, P. E.; Bowring, S. A.; McLean, N. M.; Kent, D. V.; Puffer, J. H.; McHone, G.; Rasbury, T.

    2012-12-01

    Mass extinction events that punctuate Earth's history have had a large influence on the evolution, diversity and composition of our planet's biosphere. The approximate temporal coincidence between the five major extinction events over the last 542 million years and the eruption of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) has led to the speculation that climate and environmental perturbations generated by the emplacement of a large volume of magma in a short period of time triggered each global biologic crisis. Establishing a causal link between extinction and the onset and tempo of LIP eruption has proved difficult because of the geographic separation between LIP volcanic deposits and stratigraphic sequences preserving evidence of the extinction. In most cases, the uncertainties on available radioisotopic dates used to correlate between geographically separated study areas often exceed the duration of both the extinction interval and LIP volcanism by an order of magnitude. The "end-Triassic extinction" (ETE) is one of the "big five" and is characterized by the disappearance of several terrestrial and marine species and dominance of Dinosaurs for the next 134 million years. Speculation on the cause has centered on massive climate perturbations thought to accompany the eruption of flood basalts related to the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), the most aerially extensive and volumetrically one of the largest LIPs on Earth. Despite an approximate temporal coincidence between extinction and volcanism, there lacks evidence placing the eruption of CAMP prior to or at the initiation of the extinction. Estimates of the timing and/or duration of CAMP volcanism provided by astrochronology and Ar-Ar geochronology differ by an order of magnitude, precluding high-precision tests of the relationship between LIP volcanism and the mass extinction, the causes of which are dependent upon the rate of magma eruption. Here we present high precision zircon U-Pb ID-TIMS geochronologic data

  7. Mass extinctions and missing matter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, R. B.

    1984-01-01

    The possible influence of 'invisible matter' on the solar system's comet halo, and therefore on quasi-periodic cometary bombardment of the earth and consequent mass extinctions, is briefly addressed. Invisible matter consisting of small or cold interstellar molecular clouds could significantly modulate the comet background flux, while invisible matter consisting of a large population of old, dead stars with a relatively small galactic concentration probably could not. It is also shown that the downward force exerted by the Galaxy will perturb the halo, but will not produce any periodicity.

  8. Late Pennsylvanian climate changes and palynomorph extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kosanke, R.M.; Cecil, C.B.

    1996-01-01

    A major floral change occurs in the Upper Pennsylvanian strata in the Midcontinent, Illinois basin, and in the northern Appalachian basin of eastern United States. Lycospora spp. (derived from arborescent lycopsids) became extinct along with some other palynomorph taxa. This investigation is concerned with the importance of this major floral change. Samples were studied from western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and West Virginia (from a previous study) cover the stratigraphic interval from the Upper Freeport coal bed, uppermost part of the Allegheny Formation, to the Mahoning, Mason, Brush Creek, Wilgus, and Anderson coal beds in the lower part of the Conemaugh Formation. The floral change occurs either at or below the accepted Desmoinesian-Missourian boundary in the Midcontinent and Illinois basin, whereas in the northern Appalachians this change occurs in the lower part of the Conemaugh Formation, between the Mahoning and Brush Creek coal beds, or when the Mason is present, between the Mahoning and Mason coal beds. With the advent of late Middle Pennsylvanian time, the climate began to change from wet tropical to seasonal tropical. The Middle-Upper Pennsylvanian boundary is the culmination of this drying trend, which was marked by reduction of available water. The peat swamps are interpreted as having changed from the domed type of bog to the planar type under these circumstances. Thus, in general, the coals of the Conemaugh Formation are characteristically much thinner than those of the Allegheny Formation. This was caused by a number of factors including reduced or more seasonal rainfall, decline of arborescent lycopsids, and the increased dominance of herbaceous and fern plants. As a result, there are fewer minable coal beds in the Conemaugh Formation. The first coal bed above the extinction of Lycospora spp. is dominated by the palynomorph taxon Endosporites globiformis which is derived from a heterosporous, herbaceous lycopsid. However, Sigillaria, another

  9. TROPICAL MASS EXTINCTIONS AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

    EPA Science Inventory

    Kangas (1992), Undiscovered species and the falsifiability of the tropical mass extinction hypotheses, ESA Bulletin 73:124-125, 1992, argues that there is a paradox concerning the mass extinctions projected from current rates of tropical deforestation. he parameters; for a given ...

  10. Mass extinctions vs. uniformitarianism in biological evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Bak, P.; Paczuski, M.

    1995-12-31

    It is usually believed that Darwin`s theory leads to a smooth gradual evolution, so that mass extinctions must be caused by external shocks. However, it has recently been argued that mass extinctions arise from the intrinsic dynamics of Darwinian evolution. Species become extinct when swept by intermittent avalanches propagating through the global ecology. These ideas are made concrete through studies of simple mathematical models of co-evolving species. The models exhibit self-organized criticality and describe some general features of the extinction pattern in the fossil record.

  11. Survival without recovery after mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Jablonski, David

    2002-01-01

    Because many survivors of mass extinctions do not participate in postrecovery diversifications, and therefore fall into a pattern that can be termed “Dead Clade Walking” (DCW), the effects of mass extinctions extend beyond the losses observed during the event itself. Analyses at two taxonomic levels provide a first-order test of the prevalence of DCWs by using simple and very conservative operational criteria. For four of the Big Five mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic, the marine genera that survived the extinction suffered ≈10–20% attrition in the immediately following geologic stage that was significantly greater than the losses sustained in preextinction stages. The stages immediately following the three Paleozoic mass extinctions also account for 17% of all order-level losses in marine invertebrates over that interval, which is, again, significantly greater than that seen for the other stratigraphic stages (no orders are lost immediately after the end-Triassic or end-Cretaceous mass extinctions). DCWs are not evenly distributed among four regional molluscan time-series following the end-Cretaceous extinction, demonstrating the importance of spatial patterns in recovery dynamics. Although biotic interactions have been invoked to explain the differential postextinction success of clades, such hypotheses must be tested against alternatives that include stochastic processes in low-diversity lineages—which is evidently not a general explanation for the ordinal DCW patterns, because postextinction fates are not related to the size of extinction bottlenecks in Paleozoic orders—and ongoing physical environmental changes. PMID:12060760

  12. Magnetic reversals and mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1985-01-01

    The results of a study of reversals of the earth's magnetic field over the past 165 Myr are presented. A stationary periodicity of 30 Myr emerges which predicts pulses of increased reversal activity centered at 10, 40, 70, . . . Myr before the present. The correlation between the reversal intensity and biological extinctions is examined, and a nontrivial discrepancy is found between the magnetic and extinction periodicity.

  13. Assessing the record and causes of Late Triassic extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tanner, L.H.; Lucas, S.G.; Chapman, M.G.

    2004-01-01

    Accelerated biotic turnover during the Late Triassic has led to the perception of an end-Triassic mass extinction event, now regarded as one of the "big five" extinctions. Close examination of the fossil record reveals that many groups thought to be affected severely by this event, such as ammonoids, bivalves and conodonts, instead were in decline throughout the Late Triassic, and that other groups were relatively unaffected or subject to only regional effects. Explanations for the biotic turnover have included both gradualistic and catastrophic mechanisms. Regression during the Rhaetian, with consequent habitat loss, is compatible with the disappearance of some marine faunal groups, but may be regional, not global in scale, and cannot explain apparent synchronous decline in the terrestrial realm. Gradual, widespread aridification of the Pangaean supercontinent could explain a decline in terrestrial diversity during the Late Triassic. Although evidence for an impact precisely at the boundary is lacking, the presence of impact structures with Late Triassic ages suggests the possibility of bolide impact-induced environmental degradation prior to the end-Triassic. Widespread eruptions of flood basalts of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) were synchronous with or slightly postdate the system boundary; emissions of CO2 and SO2 during these eruptions were substantial, but the contradictory evidence for the environmental effects of outgassing of these lavas remains to be resolved. A substantial excursion in the marine carbon-isotope record of both carbonate and organic matter suggests a significant disturbance of the global carbon cycle at the system boundary. Release of methane hydrates from seafloor sediments is a possible cause for this isotope excursion, although the triggering mechanism and climatic effects of such a release remain uncertain. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. An Integrated Geochemical and Paleontological Investigation of Environmental and Biotic Change Associated with Late Devonian Mass Extinctions in the Appalachian Basin, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haddad, E.; Love, G. D.; Boyer, D.; Droser, M. L.

    2012-12-01

    The Upper Kellwasser (uK) black shale, a global unit at the Frasnian-Famennian boundary, closely associated with the Late Devonian extinction event, is commonly linked to oxygen limitation in the water column. In spite of the significance of this time interval, the nature of the ocean redox geochemistry is poorly understood. Using a multi-proxy approach, this study tests the appropriateness of three distinct oceanographic models for ocean redox chemistry at this time: 1) an oxic setting with sub-oxic bottom waters but with sulfide production confined to sedimentary porewaters; 2) an expanded oxygen minimum zone within a highly stratified marine redox column with only intermittent photic zone (shallow water) euxinia; and 3) a persistently euxinic water column extending up into the photic zone. Bottom water oxygen conditions are described at a high resolution for 4 uK black shale localities in western New York State, using inorganic and organic geochemical proxies and trace fossils to constrain relative oxygen levels and identify signals of anoxia and euxinia in the Devonian Appalachian Basin. Mo concentrations typically range from crustal (2-3 ppm) to moderately enriched values suggestive of suboxic conditions (typically less than 30 ppm), with some higher values between 30 and 40 ppm perhaps suggesting intermittent euxinia, indicating that the uK black shale preserves reduced oxygen bottom water conditions. The levels of enrichment are muted, though, such that these are inconsistent with persistent anoxia or euxinia for the interval, especially as compared to other Phanerozoic euxinic black shale intervals. Other trace metals suggest similarly suboxic to intermittently anoxic bottom water conditions. Lipid biomarker patterns are typical for Paleozoic marine rocks, indicating that the biomarker molecules in the extracted bitumens are syndepositional and not significantly affected by contamination. Independent thermal maturity screening data indicating peak oil

  15. Mass extinctions show selective patterns in crinoid body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soto, A.; Tang, C.; Pelagio, M.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    There have been five major extinctions on planet Earth: the end of the Ordovician, late Devonian, late Permian, late Triassic and the late Cretaceous and through all of these, Crinoids have still managed to prosper. Our project attempts to find a correlation between these five mass extinctions and the body size of Crinoids. Past research has shown that bigger animals are more prone to extinction compared to smaller sized ones because of their complex environmental niches. We hypothesized that small-sized Crinoids would have a higher possibility of survival compared to the larger-sized Crinoids. We first graphed Crinoids' maximum body size and the five major extinctions throughout time for any visual correlation between them. We then used t-tests as our statistical analyses to find any differences between the size of survivors and. There was no mean difference between the mean size of victims and survivors with the exception of the end of the Triassic extinction. There are many possible explanations for this difference in the end of the Triassic such as 1) a rise in atmospheric CO2, 2) a combination was volcanic CO2 and catastrophic dissociation of gas hydrate, and/or 3) a cooling in temperature and oceanic changes occurred.

  16. Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faith, J. Tyler

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the cause of late Quaternary mammal extinctions is the subject of intense debate spanning the fields of archeology and paleontology. In the global context, the losses on continental Africa have received little attention and are poorly understood. This study aims to inspire new discussion of African extinctions through a review of the extinct species and the chronology and possible causes of those extinctions. There are at least 24 large mammal (> 5 kg) species known to have disappeared from continental Africa during the late Pleistocene or Holocene, indicating a much greater taxonomic breadth than previously recognized. Among the better sampled taxa, these losses are restricted to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene, between 13,000 and 6000 yrs ago. The African extinctions preferentially affected species that are grazers or prefer grasslands. Where good terrestrial paleoenvironmental records are present, extinctions are associated with changes in the availability, productivity, or structure of grassland habitats, suggesting that environmental changes played a decisive role in the losses. In the broader evolutionary context, these extinctions represent recent examples of selective taxonomic winnowing characterized by the loss of grassland specialists and the establishment of large mammal communities composed of more ecologically flexible taxa over the last million years. There is little reason to believe that humans played an important role in African extinctions.

  17. Mass extinctions: Ecological selectivity and primary production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhodes, Melissa Clark; Thayer, Charles W.

    1991-09-01

    If mass extinctions were caused by reduced primary productivity, then extinctions should be concentrated among animals with starvation-susceptible feeding modes, active lifestyles, and high-energy budgets. The stratigraphic ranges (by stage) of 424 genera of bivalves and 309 genera of articulate brachiopods suggest that there was an unusual reduction of primary productivity at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary extinction. For bivalves at the K/T, there were (1) selective extinction of suspension feeders and other susceptible trophic categories relative to deposit feeders and other resistant categories, and (2) among suspension feed-ers, selective extinction of bivalves with active locomotion. During the Permian-Triassic (P/Tr) extinction and Jurassic background time, extinction rates among suspension feeders were greater for articulate brachiopods than for bivalves. But during the K/T event, extinction rates of articulates and suspension-feeding bivalves equalized, possibly because the low-energy budgets of articulates gave them an advantage when food was scarce.

  18. Life in the Aftermath of Mass Extinctions.

    PubMed

    Hull, Pincelli

    2015-10-01

    The vast majority of species that have ever lived went extinct sometime other than during one of the great mass extinction events. In spite of this, mass extinctions are thought to have outsized effects on the evolutionary history of life. While part of this effect is certainly due to the extinction itself, I here consider how the aftermaths of mass extinctions might contribute to the evolutionary importance of such events. Following the mass loss of taxa from the fossil record are prolonged intervals of ecological upheaval that create a selective regime unique to those times. The pacing and duration of ecosystem change during extinction aftermaths suggests strong ties between the biosphere and geosphere, and a previously undescribed macroevolutionary driver - earth system succession. Earth system succession occurs when global environmental or biotic change, as occurs across extinction boundaries, pushes the biosphere and geosphere out of equilibrium. As species and ecosystems re-evolve in the aftermath, they change global biogeochemical cycles - and in turn, species and ecosystems - over timescales typical of the geosphere, often many thousands to millions of years. Earth system succession provides a general explanation for the pattern and timing of ecological and evolutionary change in the fossil record. Importantly, it also suggests that a speed limit might exist for the pace of global biotic change after massive disturbance - a limit set by geosphere-biosphere interactions. For mass extinctions, earth system succession may drive the ever-changing ecological stage on which species evolve, restructuring ecosystems and setting long-term evolutionary trajectories as they do. PMID:26439357

  19. Biomarker Records Associated with Mass Extinction Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whiteside, Jessica H.; Grice, Kliti

    2016-06-01

    The history of life on Earth is punctuated by a series of mass extinction episodes that vary widely in their magnitude, duration, and cause. Biomarkers are a powerful tool for the reconstruction of historical environmental conditions and can therefore provide insights into the cause and responses to ancient extinction events. In examining the five largest mass extinctions in the geological record, investigators have used biomarkers to elucidate key processes such as eutrophy, euxinia, ocean acidification, changes in hydrological balance, and changes in atmospheric CO2. By using these molecular fossils to understand how Earth and its ecosystems have responded to unusual environmental activity during these extinctions, models can be made to predict how Earth will respond to future changes in its climate.

  20. Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wignall, P. B.

    2001-03-01

    Comparing the timing of mass extinctions with the formation age of large igneous provinces reveals a close correspondence in five cases, but previous claims that all such provinces coincide with extinction events are unduly optimistic. The best correlation occurs for four consecutive mid-Phanerozoic examples, namely the end-Guadalupian extinction/Emeishan flood basalts, the end-Permian extinction/Siberian Traps, the end-Triassic extinction/central Atlantic volcanism and the early Toarcian extinction/Karoo Traps. Curiously, the onset of eruptions slightly post-dates the main phase of extinctions in these examples. Of the seven post-Karoo provinces, only the Deccan Traps coincide with a mass extinction, but in this case, the nature of the biotic crisis is best reconciled with the effects of a major bolide impact. Intraoceanic volcanism may also be implicated in a relatively minor end-Cenomanian extinction crisis, although once again the main phase of volcanism occurs after the crisis. The link between large igneous province formation and extinctions remains enigmatic; volume of extrusives and extinction intensity are unrelated and neither is there any apparent relationship with the rapidity of province formation. Violence of eruptions (proportions of pyroclastics) also appears unimportant. Six out of 11 provinces coincide with episodes of global warming and marine anoxia/dysoxia, a relationship that suggests that volcanic CO 2 emissions may have an important effect on global climate. Conversely, there is little, if any, geological evidence for cooling associated with continental flood basalt eruptions suggesting little long-term impact of SO 2 emissions. Large carbon isotope excursions are associated with some extinction events and intervals of flood basalt eruption but these are too great to be accounted for by the release of volcanic CO 2 alone. Thus, voluminous volcanism may in some circumstances trigger calamitous global environmental changes (runaway greenhouses

  1. Greenhouse‑icehouse transition in the Late Ordovician marks a step change in extinction regime in the marine plankton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crampton, James S.; Cooper, Roger A.; Sadler, Peter M.; Foote, Michael

    2016-02-01

    Two distinct regimes of extinction dynamic are present in the major marine zooplankton group, the graptolites, during the Ordovician and Silurian periods (486-418 Ma). In conditions of "background" extinction, which dominated in the Ordovician, taxonomic evolutionary rates were relatively low and the probability of extinction was highest among newly evolved species ("background extinction mode"). A sharp change in extinction regime in the Late Ordovician marked the onset of repeated severe spikes in the extinction rate curve; evolutionary turnover increased greatly in the Silurian, and the extinction mode changed to include extinction that was independent of species age ("high-extinction mode"). This change coincides with a change in global climate, from greenhouse to icehouse conditions. During the most extreme episode of extinction, the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction, old species were selectively removed ("mass extinction mode"). Our analysis indicates that selective regimes in the Paleozoic ocean plankton switched rapidly (generally in <0.5 My) from one mode to another in response to environmental change, even when restoration of the full ecosystem was much slower (several million years). The patterns observed are not a simple consequence of geographic range effects or of taxonomic changes from Ordovician to Silurian. Our results suggest that the dominant primary controls on extinction throughout the lifespan of this clade were abiotic (environmental), probably mediated by the microphytoplankton.

  2. Greenhouse-icehouse transition in the Late Ordovician marks a step change in extinction regime in the marine plankton.

    PubMed

    Crampton, James S; Cooper, Roger A; Sadler, Peter M; Foote, Michael

    2016-02-01

    Two distinct regimes of extinction dynamic are present in the major marine zooplankton group, the graptolites, during the Ordovician and Silurian periods (486-418 Ma). In conditions of "background" extinction, which dominated in the Ordovician, taxonomic evolutionary rates were relatively low and the probability of extinction was highest among newly evolved species ("background extinction mode"). A sharp change in extinction regime in the Late Ordovician marked the onset of repeated severe spikes in the extinction rate curve; evolutionary turnover increased greatly in the Silurian, and the extinction mode changed to include extinction that was independent of species age ("high-extinction mode"). This change coincides with a change in global climate, from greenhouse to icehouse conditions. During the most extreme episode of extinction, the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction, old species were selectively removed ("mass extinction mode"). Our analysis indicates that selective regimes in the Paleozoic ocean plankton switched rapidly (generally in <0.5 My) from one mode to another in response to environmental change, even when restoration of the full ecosystem was much slower (several million years). The patterns observed are not a simple consequence of geographic range effects or of taxonomic changes from Ordovician to Silurian. Our results suggest that the dominant primary controls on extinction throughout the lifespan of this clade were abiotic (environmental), probably mediated by the microphytoplankton. PMID:26811471

  3. Greenhouse−icehouse transition in the Late Ordovician marks a step change in extinction regime in the marine plankton

    PubMed Central

    Crampton, James S.; Cooper, Roger A.; Sadler, Peter M.; Foote, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Two distinct regimes of extinction dynamic are present in the major marine zooplankton group, the graptolites, during the Ordovician and Silurian periods (486−418 Ma). In conditions of “background” extinction, which dominated in the Ordovician, taxonomic evolutionary rates were relatively low and the probability of extinction was highest among newly evolved species (“background extinction mode”). A sharp change in extinction regime in the Late Ordovician marked the onset of repeated severe spikes in the extinction rate curve; evolutionary turnover increased greatly in the Silurian, and the extinction mode changed to include extinction that was independent of species age (“high-extinction mode”). This change coincides with a change in global climate, from greenhouse to icehouse conditions. During the most extreme episode of extinction, the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction, old species were selectively removed (“mass extinction mode”). Our analysis indicates that selective regimes in the Paleozoic ocean plankton switched rapidly (generally in <0.5 My) from one mode to another in response to environmental change, even when restoration of the full ecosystem was much slower (several million years). The patterns observed are not a simple consequence of geographic range effects or of taxonomic changes from Ordovician to Silurian. Our results suggest that the dominant primary controls on extinction throughout the lifespan of this clade were abiotic (environmental), probably mediated by the microphytoplankton. PMID:26811471

  4. The Late Ordovician Extinction: How it became the best understood of the five major extinctions.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheehan, P.

    2003-04-01

    The end Ordovician extinction has become arguably the best-understood major extinction event in Earth History. A plethora of workers have established the pattern of faunal change and causes of the extinction with remarkably little disagreement. The first indication of increased extinction at the end of the Ordovician was a graph of global diversity patterns by Norman Newell in 1967, although he did not recognize it as a major event. The presence of a major extinction event became clear as William Berry and Art Boucot assembled data for Silurian correlation charts in the late 1960s. The first reports of North African glaciation in the late 1960s provided a cause for the extinction and study of the event snowballed. It was no accident that recognition of the extinction began in North America, because it was there that the extinction completely overturned faunas in the epicontinental seas. Glacio-eustatic regression of shallow seaway coincided with the disappearance of endemic Laurentian faunas and replacement by a highly cosmopolitan fauna in the Silurian. Once the event was established in North America, paleontologists soon found evidence of the event around the globe. The well-documented Hirnantia Fauna was found to correspond to the glacial interval, and Pat Brenchley soon recognized that there were two pulses of extinction, at the beginning and end of the glaciation. At the same time that the faunal changes were being documented geologic studies of the glaciation provided information on the environmental changes associated with the extinction. The timing of the glacial maximum was established in Africa and by the presence of dropstones in high latitude marine rocks. The 1990s saw geochemical techniques employed that allowed examination of atmospheric CO2 and temperature changes. In many places carbonate deposition declined. Glacio-eustatic regression was obvious in many areas, and a sea-level decline in the range of 50-100 m was established. Shallow

  5. Mass Extinctions and Biosphere-Geosphere Stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rothman, Daniel; Bowring, Samuel

    2015-04-01

    Five times in the past 500 million years, mass extinctions have resulted in the loss of greater than three-fourths of living species. Each of these events is associated with significant environmental change recorded in the carbon-isotopic composition of sedimentary rocks. There are also many such environmental events in the geologic record that are not associated with mass extinctions. What makes them different? Two factors appear important: the size of the environmental perturbation, and the time scale over which it occurs. We show that the natural perturbations of Earth's carbon cycle during the past 500 million years exhibit a characteristic rate of change over two orders of magnitude in time scale. This characteristic rate is consistent with the maximum rate that limits quasistatic (i.e., near steady-state) evolution of the carbon cycle. We identify this rate with marginal stability, and show that mass extinctions occur on the fast, unstable side of the stability boundary. These results suggest that the great extinction events of the geologic past, and potentially a "sixth extinction" associated with modern environmental change, are characterized by common mechanisms of instability.

  6. Asynchronous extinction of late Quaternary sloths on continents and islands

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Martin, Paul S.; MacPhee, Ross D. E.; Jull, A. J. T.; McDonald, H. Gregory; Woods, Charles A.; Iturralde-Vinent, Manuel; Hodgins, Gregory W. L.

    2005-01-01

    Whatever the cause, it is extraordinary that dozens of genera of large mammals became extinct during the late Quaternary throughout the Western Hemisphere, including 90% of the genera of the xenarthran suborder Phyllophaga (sloths). Radiocarbon dates directly on dung, bones, or other tissue of extinct sloths place their “last appearance” datum at ≈11,000 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP) or slightly less in North America, ≈10,500 yr BP in South America, and ≈4,400 yr BP on West Indian islands. This asynchronous situation is not compatible with glacial–interglacial climate change forcing these extinctions, especially given the great elevational, latitudinal, and longitudinal variation of the sloth-bearing continental sites. Instead, the chronology of last appearance of extinct sloths, whether on continents or islands, more closely tracks the first arrival of people. PMID:16085711

  7. Mass extinctions: Persistent problems and new directions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jablonski, D.

    1994-01-01

    Few contest that mass extinctions have punctuated the history of life, or that those events were so pervasive environmentally, taxonomically, and geographically that physical forcing factors were probably involved. However, consensus remains elusive on the nature of those factors, and on how a given perturbation - impact, volcanism, sea-level change, or ocean anoxic event - could actually generate the observed intensity and selectivity of biotic losses. At least two basic problems underlie these long-standing disagreements: difficulties in resolving the fine details of taxon ranges and abundances immediately prior to and after an extinction boundary and the scarcity of simple, unitary cause-and-effect relations in complex biological systems.

  8. A life-history approach to the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction.

    PubMed

    Zuo, Wenyun; Smith, Felisa A; Charnov, Eric L

    2013-10-01

    A major criticism of the "overkill" theory for the late Pleistocene extinction in the Americas has been the seeming implausibility of a relatively small number of humans selectively killing off millions of large-bodied mammals. Critics argue that early Paleoindian hunters had to be extremely selective to have produced the highly size-biased extinction pattern characteristic of this event. Here, we derive a probabilistic extinction model that predicts the extinction risk of mammals at any body mass without invoking selective human harvest. The new model systematically analyzes the variability in life-history characteristics, such as the instantaneous mortality rate, age of first reproduction, and the maximum net reproductive rate. It captures the body size-biased extinction pattern in the late Pleistocene and precisely predicts the percentage of unexpectedly persisting large mammals and extinct small ones. A test with a global late Quaternary mammal database well supports the model. The model also emphasizes that quantitatively analyzing patterns of variability in ecological factors can shed light on diverse behaviors and patterns in nature. From a macro-scale conservation perspective, our model can be modified to predict the fate of biota under the pressures from both climate change and human impacts. PMID:24021404

  9. Ecological impacts of the late Quaternary megaherbivore extinctions.

    PubMed

    Gill, Jacquelyn L

    2014-03-01

    As a result of the late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions (50,000-10,000 before present (BP)), most continents today are depauperate of megaherbivores. These extinctions were time-transgressive, size- and taxonomically selective, and were caused by climate change, human hunting, or both. The surviving megaherbivores often act as ecological keystones, which was likely true in the past. In spite of this and extensive research on the causes of the Late Quaternary Extinctions, the long-term ecological consequences of the loss of the Pleistocene megafauna remained unknown until recently, due to difficulties in linking changes in flora and fauna in paleorecords. The quantification of Sporormiella and other dung fungi have recently allowed for explicit tests of the ecological consequences of megafaunal extirpations in the fossil pollen record. In this paper, I review the impacts of the loss of keystone megaherbivores on vegetation in several paleorecords. A growing number of studies support the hypothesis that the loss of the Pleistocene megafauna resulted in cascading effects on plant community composition, vegetation structure and ecosystem function, including increased fire activity, novel communities and shifts in biomes. Holocene biota thus exist outside the broader evolutionary context of the Cenozoic, and the Late Quaternary Extinctions represent a regime shift for surviving plant and animal species. PMID:24649488

  10. Biogeochemical modeling at mass extinction boundaries

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Caldeira, K. G.

    1991-01-01

    The causes of major mass extinctions is a subject of considerable interest to those concerned with the history and evolution of life on earth. The primary objectives of the proposed plan of research are: (1) to develop quantitative time-dependent biogeochemical cycle models, coupled with an ocean atmosphere in order to improve the understanding of global scale physical, chemical, and biological processes that control the distribution of elements important for life at times of mass extinctions; and (2) to develop a comprehensive data base of the best available geochemical, isotopic, and other relevant geologic data from sections across mass extinction boundaries. These data will be used to constrain and test the biogeochemical model. These modeling experiments should prove useful in: (1) determining the possible cause(s) of the environmental changes seen at bio-event boundaries; (2) identifying and quantifying little-known feedbacks among the oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere; and (3) providing additional insights into the possible responses of the earth system to perturbations of various timescales. One of the best known mass extinction events marks the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary (66 Myr ago). Data from the K/T boundary are used here to constrain a newly developed time-dependent biogeochemical cycle model that is designed to study transient behavior of the earth system. Model results predict significant fluctuations in ocean alkalinity, atmospheric CO2, and global temperatures caused by extinction of calcareous plankton and reduction in the sedimentation rates of pelagic carbonates and organic carbon. Oxygen-isotome and other paleoclimatic data from K/T time provide some evidence that such climatic fluctuations may have occurred, but stabilizing feedbacks may have acted to reduce the ocean alkalinity and carbon dioxide fluctuations.

  11. Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Stinnesbeck, Wolfgang; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Urrutia Fucugauchi, Jaime; Kramar, Utz; Stüben, Doris

    2004-01-01

    Since the early l990s the Chicxulub crater on Yucatan, Mexico, has been hailed as the smoking gun that proves the hypothesis that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs and caused the mass extinction of many other organisms at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary 65 million years ago. Here, we report evidence from a previously uninvestigated core, Yaxcopoil-1, drilled within the Chicxulub crater, indicating that this impact predated the K-T boundary by ≈300,000 years and thus did not cause the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as commonly believed. The evidence supporting a pre-K-T age was obtained from Yaxcopoil-1 based on five independent proxies, each with characteristic signals across the K-T transition: sedimentology, biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, stable isotopes, and iridium. These data are consistent with earlier evidence for a late Maastrichtian age of the microtektite deposits in northeastern Mexico. PMID:15004276

  12. Surviving Mass Extinctions through Biomineralized DNA.

    PubMed

    Turon, Pau; Puiggalí, Jordi; Bertrán, Oscar; Alemán, Carlos

    2015-12-21

    Even in the worst of conditions, such as those which occurred during mass extinction events, life on Earth never totally stopped. Aggressive chemical and physical attacks able to sterilize or poison living organisms occurred repeatedly. Surprisingly, DNA was not degraded, denatured or modified to the point of losing the capability of transferring the genetic information to the next generations. After the events of mass extinction life was able to survive and thrive. DNA was passed on despite being an extremely fragile biomolecule. The potential implications of hydroxyapatite protection of DNA are discussed in this Concept article including how DNA acts as a template for hydroxyapatite (HAp) formation, how cell death can trigger biomineralization, and how DNA can be successfully released from HAp when the conditions are favorable for life. PMID:26542146

  13. Eutrophication, microbial-sulfate reduction and mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    In post-Cambrian time, life on Earth experienced 5 major extinction events, likely instigated by adverse environmental conditions. Biodiversity loss among marine taxa, for at least 3 of these mass extinction events (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic), has been connected with widespread oxygen-depleted and sulfide-bearing marine water. Furthermore, geochemical and sedimentary evidence suggest that these events correlate with rather abrupt climate warming and possibly increased terrestrial weathering. This suggests that biodiversity loss may be triggered by mechanisms intrinsic to the Earth system, notably, the biogeochemical sulfur and carbon cycle. This climate warming feedback produces large-scale eutrophication on the continental shelf, which, in turn, expands oxygen minimum zones by increased respiration, which can turn to a sulfidic state by increased microbial-sulfate reduction due to increased availability of organic matter. A plankton community turnover from a high-diversity eukaryote to high-biomass bacterial dominated food web is the catalyst proposed in this anoxia-extinction scenario and stands in stark contrast to the postulated productivity collapse suggested for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. This cascade of events is relevant for the future ocean under predicted greenhouse driven climate change. The exacerbation of anoxic "dead" zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase due to climate induced continental weathering and resulting eutrophication of the oceans. PMID:27066181

  14. Eutrophication, microbial-sulfate reduction and mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT In post-Cambrian time, life on Earth experienced 5 major extinction events, likely instigated by adverse environmental conditions. Biodiversity loss among marine taxa, for at least 3 of these mass extinction events (Late Devonian, end-Permian and end-Triassic), has been connected with widespread oxygen-depleted and sulfide-bearing marine water. Furthermore, geochemical and sedimentary evidence suggest that these events correlate with rather abrupt climate warming and possibly increased terrestrial weathering. This suggests that biodiversity loss may be triggered by mechanisms intrinsic to the Earth system, notably, the biogeochemical sulfur and carbon cycle. This climate warming feedback produces large-scale eutrophication on the continental shelf, which, in turn, expands oxygen minimum zones by increased respiration, which can turn to a sulfidic state by increased microbial-sulfate reduction due to increased availability of organic matter. A plankton community turnover from a high-diversity eukaryote to high-biomass bacterial dominated food web is the catalyst proposed in this anoxia-extinction scenario and stands in stark contrast to the postulated productivity collapse suggested for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. This cascade of events is relevant for the future ocean under predicted greenhouse driven climate change. The exacerbation of anoxic “dead” zones is already progressing in modern oceanic environments, and this is likely to increase due to climate induced continental weathering and resulting eutrophication of the oceans. PMID:27066181

  15. The biology of mass extinction: a palaeontological view

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jablonski, D.; Raup, D. M. (Principal Investigator)

    1989-01-01

    Extinctions are not biologically random: certain taxa or functional/ecological groups are more extinction-prone than others. Analysis of molluscan survivorship patterns for the end-Cretaceous mass extinctions suggests that some traits that tend to confer extinction resistance during times of normal ('background') levels of extinction are ineffectual during mass extinction. For genera, high species-richness and possession of widespread individual species imparted extinction-resistance during background times but not during the mass extinction, when overall distribution of the genus was an important factor. Reanalysis of Hoffman's (1986) data (Neues Jb. Geol. Palaont. Abh. 172, 219) on European bivalves, and preliminary analysis of a new northern European data set, reveals a similar change in survivorship rules, as do data scattered among other taxa and extinction events. Thus taxa and adaptations can be lost not because they were poorly adapted by the standards of the background processes that constitute the bulk of geological time, but because they lacked--or were not linked to--the organismic, species-level or clade-level traits favoured under mass-extinction conditions. Mass extinctions can break the hegemony of species-rich, well-adapted clades and thereby permit radiation of taxa that had previously been minor faunal elements; no net increase in the adaptation of the biota need ensue. Although some large-scale evolutionary trends transcend mass extinctions, post extinction evolutionary pathways are often channelled in directions not predictable from evolutionary patters during background times.

  16. The End-Permian mass extinction: What really happened and did it matter?

    PubMed

    Erwin, D H

    1989-08-01

    Marine communities of the Paleozoic differ markedly from those of the post-Paleozoic, a dichotomy long recognized as the most fundamental change between the Cambrian metazoan radiation and the present. The end-Permian mass extinction of about 54% of marine families eliminated many of the groups that dominated Paleozoic communities. Correlative changes occurred in terrestrial vertebrate and plant communities, but there is no clear evidence that these changes are related to the marine extinction. The marine extinction occurred during a period of physical change, and a variety of extinction mechanisms have been proposed, most related to a major Late Permian marine regression or to climatic changes. Unfortunately, the regression has made it difficult to gather data on the rate, timing and pattern of extinction, and the available data exclude only a few hypotheses. Thus the largest mass extinction, and the one with the greatest evolutionary importance, is also the most poorly understood. PMID:21227355

  17. Late cretaceous and paroxysmal cretaceous/tertiary extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Officer, Charles B.; Drake, Charles L.; Hallam, Anthony; Devine, Joseph D.

    1987-03-01

    The various geological signatures at Cretaceous/Tertiary time including iridium and other associated elements, microspherules, and shock deformation features are compatible with the suggestion that the transition is marked by a period of intense volcanism. The volatile emissions from this volcanism would lead to acid rain, reduction in the alkalinity and pH of the surface ocean, global atmospheric temperature changes, and ozone layer depletion. These environmental effects coupled with those related to the major sea level regression of the late Cretaceous provide the framework for an explanation of the selective nature of the observed extinction record.

  18. Late Quaternary Megafaunal Extinctions in Northern Eurasia: Latest Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stuart, Anthony

    2010-05-01

    Anthony J. Stuart1 & Adrian M. Lister2 1 Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK. Email: tony.s@megafauna.org.uk 2 Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. Email: a.lister@nhm.ac.uk. The global extinction of many spectacular species of megafauna (large terrestrial mammals, together with a few large reptiles and birds) within the last c. 50,000 years (Late Quaternary) has been attributed on the one hand to ‘overkill' by human hunters and on the other to environmental change. However, in spite of more than half a century of active interest and research the issue remains unresolved, largely because there are insufficient dated records of megafaunal species for most parts of the world. Northern Eurasia is an especially fruitful region in which to research megafaunal extinctions as it has a wealth of megafaunal material and crucially most extinctions occurred well within the range of radiocarbon dating. Our approach, in a series of projects over the last decade funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), involves amassing radiocarbon dates made directly on megafaunal material from across the entire region: a) by submitting a substantial number of samples (so far c. 500 dates) for AMS dating at Oxford (ORAU); b) obtaining AMS dates from colleagues working on aDNA projects; and c) carefully screening (‘auditing') dates from the literature. The dates (calibrated using OxCal) are plotted as time-sliced maps and as chronological/geographical charts. In our previous work we targeted a range of extinct species from Northern Eurasia: woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant deer, cave bear (in collaboration with Martina Pacher), cave lion, and spotted hyaena (which survives today only in Sub-Saharan Africa). By this means we have established a reliable chronology for these extinctions which we are able to compare with the climatic, vegetational and

  19. Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hames, Willis

    The stories behind the greatest scientific controversies are more than entertaining. They provide windows into the evolution of scientific thought, scientific method, technological achievements and their research applications, and the influence of individuals and personalities on a community's acceptance of a theory Epic controversies surround the theories for Earth's mass extinction events, and none is more spectacular than the continuing polemic over the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) mass extinctions and ultimate demise of the dinosaurs.In contrast to other great scientific debates, we tend to view the K/T event in the context of a crime scene, where the spectacularly diverse flora and fauna of a primordial Eden were unwittingly slain by one or more ruthless and efficient killers. A “foreign” suspect has been fingered; an intruder that killed suddenly and randomly has become the principal suspect. The main clues uncovered in the case include a global K/T iridium anomaly; shock-deformed minerals in K/T boundary sediments; the ˜6 5 m.y-old Deccan flood-basalt province, which covered an area roughly the size of France; and the ˜6 5 m.y-old Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatan peninsula, which seems to be among the largest to have formed in the inner solar system over the past billion years.

  20. Constraining the time of extinction of the South American fox Dusicyon avus (Carnivora, Canidae) during the late Holocene.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prevosti, Francisco; Santiago, Fernando; Prates, Luciano; Salemme, Mónica; Martin, Fabiana

    2010-05-01

    The mass extinction at the end of the Pleistocene affected South America during the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene, when megamammals and large mammals disappeared. Several carnivores became extinct, like the sabretooth Smilodon, the short face bear (Arctotherium) and some large canids (i.e. Protocyon, Canis dirus). After this mass event virtually no carnivores became extinct in South America. The only exception is the fox Dusicyon avus, a middle sized canid (estimated body mass between 10-15 kg) with a more carnivore diet than the living South American foxes (i.e. Lycalopex culpaeus). The last record of the species comes from middle-late Holocene archaeological sites in the Pampean Region (Argentina) and Patagonia (Argentina and Chile). During the Late Pleistocene D. avus had a wide distribution, that covered part of Uruguay, Argentina (Buenos Aires province) and the southernmost Chile. Albeit some remains from late Holocene sites have been published, these remains lack of isotopic dates that could (allow?) constraint (to determine) the date of extinction of this fox. In this contribution we present several new records from the Pampean Region and Patagonia, and several taxon dates. The new records indicate that D. avus disappeared in the late Holocene at least ≈ 3000 years BP in the island of Tierra del Fuego (Patagonia) and ≈ 1600 BP in the continent. Since at this time humans were occupying most of the Pampas and Patagonia a revision of the causes behind the extinction of this fox is required.

  1. Synchroneity of climatic change and extinctions in the Late Triassic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simms, Michael J.; Ruffell, Alastair H.

    1989-03-01

    Although the Late Triassic was a time of widespread aridity, evidence exists for a significant increase in rainfall during the middle to late Carnian. Upper Triassic playa-lake sediments were interrupted by late Carnian fluviatile sandstones with erosive bases and high kao-linite/illite ratios. There was also an increase in the clastic component of marine sequences during this interval. Middle and upper Carnian marine carbonates show an extreme depletion in δ13C values, consistent with increased fresh-water influx. Large-scale karstic phenomena in limestone areas subaerially exposed during the Late Triassic are a further indication of increased rainfall. Important faunal and floral changes occurred during the Carnian-Norian interval; marine invertebrate turnover was greatest at the lower/middle Carnian boundary, and terrestrial extinctions were concentrated at the Carnian/Norian boundary. The cause of this Carnian pluvial episode may have been related to the rifting of Pangea, through disruption of atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns, eustatic changes, or the effects of volcanism associated with rifting. A change in surface ocean temperature, salinity or pH, or habitat loss may have caused the decline of many shallow-marine invertebrates at the start of the middle Carnian; a return to arid conditions at the Carnian/Norian boundary would account for the turnover among terrestrial vertebrates and plants.

  2. Science observed: The mass-extinction debates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glen, W.

    1994-01-01

    The upheaval triggered in 1980 by the Alvarez-Berkeley group impact hypothesis transformed the literature of mass extinctions from an unfocused, sporadic collection of papers that virtually ignored extraterrestrial causes and treated endogenous ones only sparingly better to an integrated, diverse body of literature. Research programs organized seemingly overnight spawned collaborative teams whose members, often from distant, isolated disciplines, redirected their careers in order to address the captivating, high-stakes issues. The initial, generally skeptical, cool reception of the impact hypothesis might have been predicted for any of a number of reasons: such an instantaneous catastrophe contravened earth science's reigning philosophy of uniformitarianism; it was formulated from a form of evidence - siderophile element anomalies - alien to the community charged with its appraisal; it advanced a causal mechanism that was improbable in terms of canonical knowledge; and it was proffered mainly by specialists alien to earth and biological science, especially paleobiology. Early on it became clear that irrespective of which causal hypothesis was chosen, the chosen one would be the strongest predictor of how the chooser would select and apply standards in assessing evidence bearing on all such hypothesis. Less strong correlation also appeared between disciplinary speciality and the assessment of evidence. Such correlations varied with the level of specialization; the most robust correlations appeared in the broadest areas of science practice. The gestalt (mindset) seemingly engendered by the embrace of an extinction hypothesis overrode, or was stronger than, the intellectual predispositions attributable to disciplinary specialty.

  3. Science observed: The mass-extinction debates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glen, W.

    The upheaval triggered in 1980 by the Alvarez-Berkeley group impact hypothesis transformed the literature of mass extinctions from an unfocused, sporadic collection of papers that virtually ignored extraterrestrial causes and treated endogenous ones only sparingly better to an integrated, diverse body of literature. Research programs organized seemingly overnight spawned collaborative teams whose members, often from distant, isolated disciplines, redirected their careers in order to address the captivating, high-stakes issues. The initial, generally skeptical, cool reception of the impact hypothesis might have been predicted for any of a number of reasons: such an instantaneous catastrophe contravened earth science's reigning philosophy of uniformitarianism; it was formulated from a form of evidence - siderophile element anomalies - alien to the community charged with its appraisal; it advanced a causal mechanism that was improbable in terms of canonical knowledge; and it was proffered mainly by specialists alien to earth and biological science, especially paleobiology. Early on it became clear that irrespective of which causal hypothesis was chosen, the chosen one would be the strongest predictor of how the chooser would select and apply standards in assessing evidence bearing on all such hypothesis. Less strong correlation also appeared between disciplinary speciality and the assessment of evidence. Such correlations varied with the level of specialization; the most robust correlations appeared in the broadest areas of science practice. The gestalt (mindset) seemingly engendered by the embrace of an extinction hypothesis overrode, or was stronger than, the intellectual predispositions attributable to disciplinary specialty.

  4. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Witts, James D.; Whittle, Rowan J.; Wignall, Paul B.; Crame, J. Alistair; Francis, Jane E.; Newton, Robert J.; Bowman, Vanessa C.

    2016-01-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K–Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous–Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian. PMID:27226414

  5. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Witts, James D; Whittle, Rowan J; Wignall, Paul B; Crame, J Alistair; Francis, Jane E; Newton, Robert J; Bowman, Vanessa C

    2016-01-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K-Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous-Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian. PMID:27226414

  6. Macrofossil evidence for a rapid and severe Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witts, James D.; Whittle, Rowan J.; Wignall, Paul B.; Crame, J. Alistair; Francis, Jane E.; Newton, Robert J.; Bowman, Vanessa C.

    2016-05-01

    Debate continues about the nature of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event. An abrupt crisis triggered by a bolide impact contrasts with ideas of a more gradual extinction involving flood volcanism or climatic changes. Evidence from high latitudes has also been used to suggest that the severity of the extinction decreased from low latitudes towards the poles. Here we present a record of the K-Pg extinction based on extensive assemblages of marine macrofossils (primarily new data from benthic molluscs) from a highly expanded Cretaceous-Paleogene succession: the López de Bertodano Formation of Seymour Island, Antarctica. We show that the extinction was rapid and severe in Antarctica, with no significant biotic decline during the latest Cretaceous, contrary to previous studies. These data are consistent with a catastrophic driver for the extinction, such as bolide impact, rather than a significant contribution from Deccan Traps volcanism during the late Maastrichtian.

  7. The effect of geographic range on extinction risk during background and mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Payne, Jonathan L.; Finnegan, Seth

    2007-01-01

    Wide geographic range is generally thought to buffer taxa against extinction, but the strength of this effect has not been investigated for the great majority of the fossil record. Although the majority of genus extinctions have occurred between major mass extinctions, little is known about extinction selectivity regimes during these “background” intervals. Consequently, the question of whether selectivity regimes differ between background and mass extinctions is largely unresolved. Using logistic regression, we evaluated the selectivity of genus survivorship with respect to geographic range by using a global database of fossil benthic marine invertebrates spanning the Cambrian through the Neogene periods, an interval of ≈500 My. Our results show that wide geographic range has been significantly and positively associated with survivorship for the great majority of Phanerozoic time. Moreover, the significant association between geographic range and survivorship remains after controlling for differences in species richness and abundance among genera. However, mass extinctions and several second-order extinction events exhibit less geographic range selectivity than predicted by range alone. Widespread environmental disturbance can explain the reduced association between geographic range and extinction risk by simultaneously affecting genera with similar ecological and physiological characteristics on global scales. Although factors other than geographic range have certainly affected extinction risk during many intervals, geographic range is likely the most consistently significant predictor of extinction risk in the marine fossil record. PMID:17563357

  8. Lognormals for SETI, Evolution and Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2014-12-01

    In a series of recent papers (Refs. [1-5,7,8]) and in a book (Ref. [6]), this author suggested a new mathematical theory capable of merging Darwinian Evolution and SETI into a unified statistical framework. In this new vision, Darwinian Evolution, as it unfolded on Earth over the last 3.5 billion years, is defined as just one particular realization of a certain lognormal stochastic process in the number of living species on Earth, whose mean value increased in time exponentially. SETI also may be brought into this vision since the number of communicating civilizations in the Galaxy is given by a lognormal distribution (Statistical Drake Equation). Now, in this paper we further elaborate on all that particularly with regard to two important topics: The introduction of the general lognormal stochastic process L(t) whose mean value may be an arbitrary continuous function of the time, m(t), rather than just the exponential mGBM (t) =N0eμt typical of the Geometric Brownian Motion (GBM). This is a considerable generalization of the GBM-based theory used in Refs. [1-8]. The particular application of the general stochastic process L(t) to the understanding of Mass Extinctions like the K-Pg one that marked the dinosaurs' end 65 million years ago. We first model this Mass Extinction as a decreasing Geometric Brownian Motion (GBM) extending from the asteroid's impact time all through the ensuing 'nuclear winter'. However, this model has a flaw: the 'final value' of the GBM cannot have a horizontal tangent, as requested to enable the recovery of life again after this 'final extinction value'. That flaw, however, is removed if the rapidly decreasing mean value function of L(t) is the left branch of a parabola extending from the asteroid's impact time all through the ensuing 'nuclear winter' and up to the time when the number of living species on Earth started growing up again, as we show mathematically in Section 3. In conclusion, we have uncovered an important generalization

  9. Preventing the Next Mass Extinction: Ethical Obligations

    SciTech Connect

    Tonn, Bruce Edward

    2009-11-01

    This paper presents a framework to judge whether we are meeting our ethical responsibilities for preventing massive species extinction. The framework is a generalization from another framework, one that addresses ethical responsibilities related to preventing premature, involuntary human deaths from environmental risks and the extinction of the human race. The resulting ethical risk standards are quite stringent and it is argued that we are nowhere close to meeting any standards, except in the cases of human extinction and extinction of all life on earth, which are met by chance, not by design. Much work is needed to build the 'technology' needed to estimate probabilities associated with massive losses of human life and species extinction over the suggested 1000 year planning horizon.

  10. Mass extinction in poorly known taxa

    PubMed Central

    Régnier, Claire; Achaz, Guillaume; Lambert, Amaury; Cowie, Robert H.; Bouchet, Philippe; Fontaine, Benoît

    2015-01-01

    Since the 1980s, many have suggested we are in the midst of a massive extinction crisis, yet only 799 (0.04%) of the 1.9 million known recent species are recorded as extinct, questioning the reality of the crisis. This low figure is due to the fact that the status of very few invertebrates, which represent the bulk of biodiversity, have been evaluated. Here we show, based on extrapolation from a random sample of land snail species via two independent approaches, that we may already have lost 7% (130,000 extinctions) of the species on Earth. However, this loss is masked by the emphasis on terrestrial vertebrates, the target of most conservation actions. Projections of species extinction rates are controversial because invertebrates are essentially excluded from these scenarios. Invertebrates can and must be assessed if we are to obtain a more realistic picture of the sixth extinction crisis. PMID:26056308

  11. Giant comets and mass extinctions of life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Napier, W. M.

    2015-03-01

    I find evidence for clustering in age of well-dated impact craters over the last 500 Myr. At least nine impact episodes are identified, with durations whose upper limits are set by the dating accuracy of the craters. Their amplitudes and frequency are inconsistent with an origin in asteroid breakups or Oort cloud disturbances, but are consistent with the arrival and disintegration in near-Earth orbits of rare, giant comets, mainly in transit from the Centaur population into the Jupiter family and Encke regions. About 1 in 10 Centaurs in Chiron-like orbits enter Earth-crossing epochs, usually repeatedly, each such epoch being generally of a few thousand years' duration. On time-scales of geological interest, debris from their breakup may increase the mass of the near-Earth interplanetary environment by two or three orders of magnitude, yielding repeated episodes of bombardment and stratospheric dusting. I find a strong correlation between these bombardment episodes and major biostratigraphic and geological boundaries, and propose that episodes of extinction are most effectively driven by prolonged encounters with meteoroid streams during bombardment episodes. Possible mechanisms are discussed.

  12. Resilience of Pacific pelagic fish across the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Hull, Pincelli M.; Norris, Richard D.

    2014-09-01

    Open-ocean ecosystems experienced profound disruptions to biodiversity and ecological structure during the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction about 66 million years ago. It has been suggested that during this mass extinction, a collapse of phytoplankton production rippled up the food chain, causing the wholesale loss of consumers and top predators. Pelagic fish represent a key trophic link between primary producers and top predators, and changes in their abundance provide a means to examine trophic relationships during extinctions. Here we analyse accumulation rates of microscopic fish teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) in sediments from the Pacific Ocean and Tethys Sea across the Cretaceous/Palaeogene extinction to reconstruct fish abundance. We find geographic differences in post-disaster ecosystems. In the Tethys Sea, fish abundance fell abruptly at the Cretaceous/Palaeogene boundary and remained depressed for at least 3 million years. In contrast, fish abundance in the Pacific Ocean remained at or above pre-boundary levels for at least four million years following the mass extinction, despite marked extinctions in primary producers and other zooplankton consumers in this region. We suggest that the mass extinction did not produce a uniformly dead ocean or microbially dominated system. Instead, primary production, at least regionally, supported ecosystems with mid-trophic-level abundances similar to or above those of the Late Cretaceous.

  13. Lessons from the past: Biotic recoveries from mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Erwin, Douglas H.

    2001-01-01

    Although mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of less than 5% of all extinct species, the evolutionary opportunities they have created have had a disproportionate effect on the history of life. Theoretical considerations and simulations have suggested that the empty niches created by a mass extinction should refill rapidly after extinction ameliorates. Under logistic models, this biotic rebound should be exponential, slowing as the environmental carrying capacity is approached. Empirical studies reveal a more complex dynamic, including positive feedback and an exponential growth phase during recoveries. Far from a model of refilling ecospace, mass extinctions appear to cause a collapse of ecospace, which must be rebuilt during recovery. Other generalities include the absence of a clear correlation between the magnitude of extinction and the pace of recovery or the resulting ecological and evolutionary disruption the presence of a survival interval, with few originations, immediately after an extinction and preceding the recovery phase, and the presence of many lineages that persist through an extinction event only to disappear during the subsequent recovery. Several recoveries include numerous missing lineages, groups that are found before the extinction, then latter in the recovery, but are missing during the initial survival–recovery phase. The limited biogeographic studies of recoveries suggest considerable variability between regions. PMID:11344285

  14. Lessons from the past: biotic recoveries from mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Erwin, D H

    2001-05-01

    Although mass extinctions probably account for the disappearance of less than 5% of all extinct species, the evolutionary opportunities they have created have had a disproportionate effect on the history of life. Theoretical considerations and simulations have suggested that the empty niches created by a mass extinction should refill rapidly after extinction ameliorates. Under logistic models, this biotic rebound should be exponential, slowing as the environmental carrying capacity is approached. Empirical studies reveal a more complex dynamic, including positive feedback and an exponential growth phase during recoveries. Far from a model of refilling ecospace, mass extinctions appear to cause a collapse of ecospace, which must be rebuilt during recovery. Other generalities include the absence of a clear correlation between the magnitude of extinction and the pace of recovery or the resulting ecological and evolutionary disruption the presence of a survival interval, with few originations, immediately after an extinction and preceding the recovery phase, and the presence of many lineages that persist through an extinction event only to disappear during the subsequent recovery. Several recoveries include numerous missing lineages, groups that are found before the extinction, then latter in the recovery, but are missing during the initial survival-recovery phase. The limited biogeographic studies of recoveries suggest considerable variability between regions. PMID:11344285

  15. Mass extinction caused by large bolide impacts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alvarez, Luis W.

    1987-01-01

    A history and development status assessment is presented for the hypothesis that the great extinction of living species 65 million years ago, at the boundary between the Tertiary and Cretaceous geological ages, was due to the collision of a meteoroid, asteroid, or comet with the earth. The initial, deeply suggestive indication of the extraterrestial origin of the extinction-initiating mechanism was the detection of an exceptionally high concentration of iridium at the stratigraphic position of the extinction. Detailed computer modeling of the atmospheric effect of such a bolide impact has shown that the earth would have first grown intensely cold during a period of darkness due to particulate debris clouds in the upper atmosphere, followed by an enormous increase in global temperatures as the debris cleared, created by the persistence of greenhouse-effect gases; this heating would have been especially lethal to numerous forms of life.

  16. Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This volume contains extended abstracts that have been accepted for presentation at the conference on Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinctions: Impacts and Beyond, July 9-12, 2000, in Vienna, Austria.

  17. Rarity in mass extinctions and the future of ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hull, Pincelli M; Darroch, Simon A F; Erwin, Douglas H

    2015-12-17

    The fossil record provides striking case studies of biodiversity loss and global ecosystem upheaval. Because of this, many studies have sought to assess the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis relative to past crises-a task greatly complicated by the need to extrapolate extinction rates. Here we challenge this approach by showing that the rarity of previously abundant taxa may be more important than extinction in the cascade of events leading to global changes in the biosphere. Mass rarity may provide the most robust measure of our current biodiversity crisis relative to those past, and new insights into the dynamics of mass extinction. PMID:26672552

  18. Rarity in mass extinctions and the future of ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hull, Pincelli M.; Darroch, Simon A. F.; Erwin, Douglas H.

    2015-12-01

    The fossil record provides striking case studies of biodiversity loss and global ecosystem upheaval. Because of this, many studies have sought to assess the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis relative to past crises—a task greatly complicated by the need to extrapolate extinction rates. Here we challenge this approach by showing that the rarity of previously abundant taxa may be more important than extinction in the cascade of events leading to global changes in the biosphere. Mass rarity may provide the most robust measure of our current biodiversity crisis relative to those past, and new insights into the dynamics of mass extinction.

  19. Mass extinctions caused by large bolide impacts

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, L.W.

    1987-07-01

    Evidence indicates that the collision of Earth and a large piece of Solar System derbris such as a meteoroid, asteroid or comet caused the great extinctions of 65 million years ago, leading to the transition from the age of the dinosaurs to the age of the mammals.

  20. A review and synthesis of late Pleistocene extinction modeling: progress delayed by mismatches between ecological realism, interpretation, and methodological transparency.

    PubMed

    Yule, Jeffrey V; Fournier, Robert J; Jensen, Christopher X J; Yang, Jinyan

    2014-06-01

    Late Pleistocene extinctions occurred globally over a period of about 50,000 years, primarily affecting mammals of > or = 44 kg body mass (i.e., megafauna) first in Australia, continuing in Eurasia and, finally, in the Americas. Polarized debate about the cause(s) of the extinctions centers on the role of climate change and anthropogenic factors (especially hunting). Since the late 1960s, investigators have developed mathematical models to simulate the ecological interactions that might have contributed to the extinctions. Here, we provide an overview of the various methodologies used and conclusions reached in the modeling literature, addressing both the strengths and weaknesses of modeling as an explanatory tool. Although late Pleistocene extinction models now provide a solid foundation for viable future work, we conclude, first, that single models offer less compelling support for their respective explanatory hypotheses than many realize; second, that disparities in methodology (both in terms of model parameterization and design) prevent meaningful comparison between models and, more generally, progress from model to model in increasing our understanding of these extinctions; and third, that recent models have been presented and possibly developed without sufficient regard for the transparency of design that facilitates scientific progress. PMID:24984323

  1. Holocene extinction dynamics of Equus hydruntinus, a late-surviving European megafaunal mammal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crees, Jennifer J.; Turvey, Samuel T.

    2014-05-01

    The European wild ass (Equus hydruntinus) is a globally extinct Eurasian equid. This species was widespread in Europe and southwest Asia during the Late Pleistocene, but its distribution became restricted to southern Europe and adjacent geographic regions in the Holocene. Previous research on E. hydruntinus has focused predominantly on its taxonomy and Late Pleistocene distribution. However, its Holocene distribution and extinction remain poorly understood, despite the fact that the European wild ass represents one of Europe's very few globally extinct Holocene megafaunal mammal species. We summarise all available Holocene zooarchaeological spatio-temporal occurrence data for the species, and analyse patterns of its distribution and extinction using point pattern analysis (kernel density estimation and Clark Evans index) and optimal linear estimation. We demonstrate that the geographic range of E. hydruntinus became highly fragmented into discrete subpopulations during the Holocene, which were associated with separate regions of open habitat and which became progressively extinct between the Neolithic and Iron Age. These data challenge previous suggestions of the late survival of E. hydruntinus into the medieval period in Spain, and instead suggest that postglacial climate-driven vegetational changes were a primary factor responsible for extinction of the species, driving isolation of small remnant subpopulations that may have been increasingly vulnerable to human exploitation. This study contributes to a more nuanced understanding of Late Quaternary species extinctions in Eurasia, suggesting that they were temporally staggered and distinct in their respective extinction trajectories.

  2. Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Roopnarine, Peter D; Angielczyk, Kenneth D

    2015-10-01

    The fossil record contains exemplars of extreme biodiversity crises. Here, we examined the stability of terrestrial paleocommunities from South Africa during Earth's most severe mass extinction, the Permian-Triassic. We show that stability depended critically on functional diversity and patterns of guild interaction, regardless of species richness. Paleocommunities exhibited less transient instability—relative to model communities with alternative community organization—and significantly greater probabilities of being locally stable during the mass extinction. Functional patterns that have evolved during an ecosystem's history support significantly more stable communities than hypothetical alternatives. PMID:26430120

  3. Community stability and selective extinction during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roopnarine, Peter D.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.

    2015-10-01

    The fossil record contains exemplars of extreme biodiversity crises. Here, we examined the stability of terrestrial paleocommunities from South Africa during Earth's most severe mass extinction, the Permian-Triassic. We show that stability depended critically on functional diversity and patterns of guild interaction, regardless of species richness. Paleocommunities exhibited less transient instability—relative to model communities with alternative community organization—and significantly greater probabilities of being locally stable during the mass extinction. Functional patterns that have evolved during an ecosystem's history support significantly more stable communities than hypothetical alternatives.

  4. Ecological consequences of Late Quaternary extinctions of megafauna

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, C.N.

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Large herbivorous vertebrates have strong interactions with vegetation, affecting the structure, composition and dynamics of plant communities in many ways. Living large herbivores are a small remnant of the assemblages of giants that existed in most terrestrial ecosystems 50 000 years ago. The extinction of so many large herbivores may well have triggered large changes in plant communities. In several parts of the world, palaeoecological studies suggest that extinct megafauna once maintained vegetation openness, and in wooded landscapes created mosaics of different structural types of vegetation with high habitat and species diversity. Following megafaunal extinction, these habitats reverted to more dense and uniform formations. Megafaunal extinction also led to changes in fire regimes and increased fire frequency due to accumulation of uncropped plant material, but there is a great deal of variation in post-extinction changes in fire. Plant communities that once interacted with extinct large herbivores still contain many species with obsolete defences against browsing and non-functional adaptations for seed dispersal. Such plants may be in decline, and, as a result, many plant communities may be in various stages of a process of relaxation from megafauna-conditioned to megafauna-naive states. Understanding the past role of giant herbivores provides fundamental insight into the history, dynamics and conservation of contemporary plant communities. PMID:19324773

  5. Chicxulub impact, climate changes and mass-extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smit, J.

    2010-03-01

    The mass-extinctions at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K/PgB) are probably caused by environmental changes induced by the Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula. Even so, at least three other impacts of similar size must have taken place in the Phanerozoic. Yet after 30 years of intensive search, the connection between impact and extinction has remained largely speculative. What is so special about the Chicxulub impact? Or are the mass-extinctions due to a fortuitous concurrence of Deccan traps volcanism, sealevel changes and multiple impacts? We explore the last, complex, scenario first. The exact stratigraphic succession across K/PgB must be known in detail before the role of each of the components can be assessed. The Deccan traps began to extrude about 0.6-0.7My before K/Pg, based on marine Os isotopes (Ravizza, 2003). The Deccan traps may have led to a temperature increase in the deep south Atlantic, but surface waters were unaffected. In the last 3.8myr of the Maastrichtian, planktic foraminiferal faunas remain extremely diverse (>70 species). Only one species disappears and two appear. If ocean surface temperatures in this period had changed as consequence of the Deccan trap extrusions, it should have been visible as a change in diversity of planktic species. None has been observed before the K/PgB. Sealevel changes have been invoked (Gale, 2008) as cause for mass-extinctions at K/Pg. The sedimentology of the late Maastrichtian in shallow marine sequences in the US Gulf coast, Denmark, Holland and Spain, provides conflicting sequence stratigraphic interpretations. In the Maastrichtian type section in the ENCI quarry and Denmark (Stevns) a pronounced shallowing is documented in the last 0.3ma of the Maastrichtian, while in the Zumaya section the temporary disappearance of ammonite shells suggests the opposite: a deepening at 0.25ma followed by shallowing at 40ky before K/PgB. A well defined Sequence Boundary occurs about 0.1 my after the K/PgB, in the

  6. Mesozoic mass extinctions and angiosperm radiation: does the molecular clock tell something new?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruban, Dmitry A.

    2012-03-01

    Angiosperms evolved rapidly in the late Mesozoic. Data from the genetic-based approach called ‘molecular clock’ permit an evaluation of the radiation of flowering plants through geological time and of the possible influences of Mesozoic mass extinctions. A total of 261 divergence ages of angiosperm families are considered. The radiation of flowering plants peaked in the Albian, early Campanian, and Maastrichtian. From the three late Mesozoic mass extinctions (Jurassic/Cretaceous, Cenomanian/Turonian, and Cretaceous/Palaeogene), only the Cretaceous/Palaeogene event coincided with a significant, abrupt, and long-term decline in angiosperm radiation. If their link will be further proven, this means that global-scale environmental perturbation precluded from many innovations in the development of plants. This decline was, however, not unprecedented in the history of the angiosperms. The implication of data from the molecular clock for evolutionary reconstructions is limited, primarily because this approach deals with only extant lineages.

  7. A sudden end-Permian mass extinction (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, S.

    2013-12-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction is the largest of the Phanerozoic. In the immediate aftermath the marine ecosystem was dominated by microbial and communities with disaster taxa. Plausible kill mechanism includes an extremely rapid, explosive release of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide. Siberian flood volcanism has been suggested as the most possible mechanism to trigger the massive release of greenhouse gases from volcanic eruptions and interaction of magmas with carbon from thick organic-rich deposits or rapid venting of coal-derived methane or massive combustion of coal. A sharp δ13C isotopic excursion, rapid disappearance of carbonate benthic communities and δ18O data from conodont apatite suggest rapid global warming. The end-Permian mass extinction occurred in less than 200,000 years. This extinction interval is constrained by two ash beds (Beds 25 and 28) at the Meishan section. However, the extinction patterns remain controversial largely due to the condensed nature of the Meishan sections. Geochemical signals and their interpretations are also contentious. Thus, the level of achievable stratigraphic resolution becomes crucial to determine the nature of the event and a detailed study of the extinction interval is essential to unravel the extinction pattern, chemostratigraphy, and the causes. However, the extinction interval at Meishan is only 26 cm thick and contains distinct gaps at the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) and possibly the base of Bed 25. Thus, it is impossible to resolve a detailed extinction pattern. Studying expanded sections is crucial to understand the detailed events before, during and after the main extinction. In this report, we show a highly-expanded Permian-Triassic boundary section in Guangxi Province, South China. The last 4.5 m between beds 22 and 28 of the Meishan sections is represented by a sequence of ~560 m at the section and the extinction interval between beds 24e and 28 at Meishan is represented

  8. Calcium isotope constraints on the end-Permian mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Payne, Jonathan L.; Turchyn, Alexandra V.; Paytan, Adina; DePaolo, Donald J.; Lehrmann, Daniel J.; Yu, Meiyi; Wei, Jiayong

    2010-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction horizon is marked by an abrupt shift in style of carbonate sedimentation and a negative excursion in the carbon isotope (δ13C) composition of carbonate minerals. Several extinction scenarios consistent with these observations have been put forward. Secular variation in the calcium isotope (δ44/40Ca) composition of marine sediments provides a tool for distinguishing among these possibilities and thereby constraining the causes of mass extinction. Here we report δ44/40Ca across the Permian-Triassic boundary from marine limestone in south China. The δ44/40Ca exhibits a transient negative excursion of ∼0.3‰ over a few hundred thousand years or less, which we interpret to reflect a change in the global δ44/40Ca composition of seawater. CO2-driven ocean acidification best explains the coincidence of the δ44/40Ca excursion with negative excursions in the δ13C of carbonates and organic matter and the preferential extinction of heavily calcified marine animals. Calcium isotope constraints on carbon cycle calculations suggest that the average δ13C of CO2 released was heavier than -28‰ and more likely near -15‰; these values indicate a source containing substantial amounts of mantle- or carbonate-derived carbon. Collectively, the results point toward Siberian Trap volcanism as the trigger of mass extinction. PMID:20421502

  9. The ``Shiva Hypothesis'': Impacts, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Haggerty, Bruce M.

    1996-02-01

    The “Shiva Hypothesis”, in which recurrent, cyclical mass extinctions of life on Earth result from impacts of comets or asteroids, provides a possible unification of important processes in astrophysics, planetary geology, and the history of life. Collisions with Earth-crossing asteroids and comets ≥ a few km in diameter are calculated to produce widespread environmental disasters (dust clouds, wildfires), and occur with the proper frequency to account for the record of five major mass extinctions (from ≥ 108 Mt TNT impacts) and ~ 20 minor mass extinctions (from 107 108 Mt impacts) recorded in the past 540 million years. Recent studies of a number of extinctions show evidence of severe environmental disturbances and mass mortality consistent with the expected after-effects (dust clouds, wildfires) of catastrophic impacts. At least six cases of features generally considered diagnostic of large impacts (e.g., large impact craters, layers with high platinum-group elements, shock-related minerals, and/or microtektites) are known at or close to extinction-event boundaries. Six additional cases of elevated iridium levels at or near extinction boundaries are of the amplitude that might be expected from collision of relatively low-Ir objects such as comets. The records of cratering and mass extinction show a correlation, and might be explained by a combination of periodic and stochastic impactors. The mass extinction record shows evidence for a periodic component of about 26 to 30 Myr, and an ~ 30 Myr periodic component has been detected in impact craters by some workers, with recent pulses of impacts in the last 2 3 million years, and at ~ 35, 65, and 95 million years ago. A cyclical astronomical pacemaker for such pulses of impacts may involve the motions of the Earth through the Milky Way Galaxy. As the Solar System revolves around the galactic center, it also oscillates up and down through the plane of the disk-shaped galaxy with a half-cycle ~ 30±3 Myr. This

  10. Impact Crises, Mass Extinctions, and Galactic Dynamics: A Unified Theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M.R.

    1997-01-01

    A general hypothesis linking mass extinctions of life with impacts of large asteroids and comets is based on astronomical data, impact dynamics, and geological information. The waiting times of large-body impacts on the Earth, derived from the flux of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets, and the estimated size of impacts capable of causing large-scale environmental disasters predict that impacts of objects (sup 3)5 km in diameter ((sup 3)10(exp 7) Mt TNT equivalent) could be sufficient to explain the record of about 25 extinction pulses in the last 540 m.y., with the five recorded major mass extinctions related to the impacts of the largest objects of (sup 3)10 km in diameter ( (sup 3)10(exp 8) Mt events). Smaller impacts (about 10(exp 6)-10(exp 7) Mt), with significant regional and even global environmental effects, could be responsible for the lesser boundaries in the geologic record. Tests of the "kill curve" relationship for impact-induced extinctions based on new data on extinction intensities and several well-dated large impact craters suggest that major mass extinctions require large impacts, and that a step in the kill curve may exist at impacts that produce craters of -100 km diameter, with smaller impacts capable of only relatively weak extinction pulses. Single impact craters < about 60 km in diameter should not be associated with global extinction pulses detectable in the Sepkoski database (although they may explain stage and zone boundaries marked by lesser faunal turnover), but multiple impacts in that size range may produce significant stepped extinction pulses. Statistical tests of the last occurrences of species at mass-extinction boundaries are generally consistent with predictions for abrupt or stepped extinctions, and several boundaries are known to show "catastrophic" signatures of environmental disasters and biomass crash, impoverished postextinction fauna and flora dominated by stress-tolerant and opportunistic species, and gradual ecological

  11. Climate modelling of mass-extinction events: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feulner, Georg

    2009-07-01

    Despite tremendous interest in the topic and decades of research, the origins of the major losses of biodiversity in the history of life on Earth remain elusive. A variety of possible causes for these mass-extinction events have been investigated, including impacts of asteroids or comets, large-scale volcanic eruptions, effects from changes in the distribution of continents caused by plate tectonics, and biological factors, to name but a few. Many of these suggested drivers involve or indeed require changes of Earth's climate, which then affect the biosphere of our planet, causing a global reduction in the diversity of biological species. It can be argued, therefore, that a detailed understanding of these climatic variations and their effects on ecosystems are prerequisites for a solution to the enigma of biological extinctions. Apart from investigations of the paleoclimate data of the time periods of mass extinctions, climate-modelling experiments should be able to shed some light on these dramatic events. Somewhat surprisingly, however, only a few comprehensive modelling studies of the climate changes associated with extinction events have been undertaken. These studies will be reviewed in this paper. Furthermore, the role of modelling in extinction research in general and suggestions for future research are discussed.

  12. Anoxia pre-dates Frasnian-Famennian boundary mass extinction horizon in the Great Basin, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bratton, John F.; Berry, William B.N.; Morrow, Jared R.

    1999-01-01

    Major and trace metal results from three Great Basin stratigraphic sections with strong conodont biostratigraphy identify a distinct anoxic interval that precedes, but ends approximately 100 kyr before, the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F, mid-Late Devonian) boundary mass extinction horizon. This horizon corresponds to the final and most severe step of a more protracted extinction period. These results are inconsistent with data reported by others from the upper Kellwasser horizon in Europe, which show anoxia persisting up to the F–F boundary in most sections. Conditions returned to fully oxygenated prior to the F–F boundary in the study area. These data indicate that the worst part of the F–F extinction was not related directly to oceanic anoxia in this region and potentially globally.

  13. Early Triassic stromatolites as post-mass extinction disaster forms

    SciTech Connect

    Schubert, J.K.; Bottjer, D.J. )

    1992-10-01

    Aftermaths of mass extinctions have been thought to be characterized by relaxation of ecological constraints accompanied by increased prominence of opportunistic generalists. Such taxa, termed 'disaster forms,' have been shown to increase dramatically in range and abundance after several mass extinction events. The Cambrian-Ordovician stromatolite decline in normal-marine level-bottom environments has been explained as a direct or indirect consequence of increases in ecological constraints, such as greater levels of predation and/or bioturbation of microbial communities, caused by early Paleozoic benthic invertebrate evolution and diversification. Thus, one would predict that in post-Ordovician strata, stromatolites might appear in normal-marine level-bottom environments as disaster forms in the aftermaths of mass extinction particularly devastating to the benthic biota, such as during Early Triassic time. Mounded stromatolites are present in two beds (up to 1.5 m thick) of the Lower Triassic (Spathian) Virgin Limestone Member (Moenkopi Formation) in the southwestern Spring Mountains of Nevada. Stromatolites from level-bottom normal-marine subtidal environments have also been described from other Lower Triassic strata in North America, Europe, and Asia. These stromatolites, unusual in level-bottom normal-marine settings, may have developed locally during the long aftermath (4-5 m.y.) of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction because of partial relaxation of the ecological constraints that typically restricted them from unstressed subtidal, normal-marine, level-bottom environments.

  14. Lessons from the past: evolutionary impacts of mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, D

    2001-05-01

    Mass extinctions have played many evolutionary roles, involving differential survivorship or selectivity of taxa and traits, the disruption or preservation of evolutionary trends and ecosystem organization, and the promotion of taxonomic and morphological diversifications-often along unexpected trajectories-after the destruction or marginalization of once-dominant clades. The fossil record suggests that survivorship during mass extinctions is not strictly random, but it often fails to coincide with factors promoting survival during times of low extinction intensity. Although of very serious concern, present-day extinctions have not yet achieved the intensities seen in the Big Five mass extinctions of the geologic past, which each removed > or =50% of the subset of relatively abundant marine invertebrate genera. The best comparisons for predictive purposes therefore will involve factors such as differential extinction intensities among regions, clades, and functional groups, rules governing postextinction biotic interchanges and evolutionary dynamics, and analyses of the factors that cause taxa and evolutionary trends to continue unabated, to suffer setbacks but resume along the same trajectory, to survive only to fall into a marginal role or disappear ("dead clade walking"), or to undergo a burst of diversification. These issues need to be addressed in a spatially explicit framework, because the fossil record suggests regional differences in postextinction diversification dynamics and biotic interchanges. Postextinction diversifications lag far behind the initial taxonomic and morphological impoverishment and homogenization; they do not simply reoccupy vacated adaptive peaks, but explore opportunities as opened and constrained by intrinsic biotic factors and the ecological and evolutionary context of the radiation. PMID:11344284

  15. Lessons from the past: Evolutionary impacts of mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Jablonski, David

    2001-01-01

    Mass extinctions have played many evolutionary roles, involving differential survivorship or selectivity of taxa and traits, the disruption or preservation of evolutionary trends and ecosystem organization, and the promotion of taxonomic and morphological diversifications—often along unexpected trajectories—after the destruction or marginalization of once-dominant clades. The fossil record suggests that survivorship during mass extinctions is not strictly random, but it often fails to coincide with factors promoting survival during times of low extinction intensity. Although of very serious concern, present-day extinctions have not yet achieved the intensities seen in the Big Five mass extinctions of the geologic past, which each removed ≥50% of the subset of relatively abundant marine invertebrate genera. The best comparisons for predictive purposes therefore will involve factors such as differential extinction intensities among regions, clades, and functional groups, rules governing postextinction biotic interchanges and evolutionary dynamics, and analyses of the factors that cause taxa and evolutionary trends to continue unabated, to suffer setbacks but resume along the same trajectory, to survive only to fall into a marginal role or disappear (“dead clade walking”), or to undergo a burst of diversification. These issues need to be addressed in a spatially explicit framework, because the fossil record suggests regional differences in postextinction diversification dynamics and biotic interchanges. Postextinction diversifications lag far behind the initial taxonomic and morphological impoverishment and homogenization; they do not simply reoccupy vacated adaptive peaks, but explore opportunities as opened and constrained by intrinsic biotic factors and the ecological and evolutionary context of the radiation. PMID:11344284

  16. Chicxulub impact, climate changes and mass-extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smit, J.

    2010-03-01

    The mass-extinctions at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K/PgB) are probably caused by environmental changes induced by the Chicxulub impact on the Yucatan peninsula. Even so, at least three other impacts of similar size must have taken place in the Phanerozoic. Yet after 30 years of intensive search, the connection between impact and extinction has remained largely speculative. What is so special about the Chicxulub impact? Or are the mass-extinctions due to a fortuitous concurrence of Deccan traps volcanism, sealevel changes and multiple impacts? We explore the last, complex, scenario first. The exact stratigraphic succession across K/PgB must be known in detail before the role of each of the components can be assessed. The Deccan traps began to extrude about 0.6-0.7My before K/Pg, based on marine Os isotopes (Ravizza, 2003). The Deccan traps may have led to a temperature increase in the deep south Atlantic, but surface waters were unaffected. In the last 3.8myr of the Maastrichtian, planktic foraminiferal faunas remain extremely diverse (>70 species). Only one species disappears and two appear. If ocean surface temperatures in this period had changed as consequence of the Deccan trap extrusions, it should have been visible as a change in diversity of planktic species. None has been observed before the K/PgB. Sealevel changes have been invoked (Gale, 2008) as cause for mass-extinctions at K/Pg. The sedimentology of the late Maastrichtian in shallow marine sequences in the US Gulf coast, Denmark, Holland and Spain, provides conflicting sequence stratigraphic interpretations. In the Maastrichtian type section in the ENCI quarry and Denmark (Stevns) a pronounced shallowing is documented in the last 0.3ma of the Maastrichtian, while in the Zumaya section the temporary disappearance of ammonite shells suggests the opposite: a deepening at 0.25ma followed by shallowing at 40ky before K/PgB. A well defined Sequence Boundary occurs about 0.1 my after the K/PgB, in the

  17. The role of Deccan volcanism during the K-T mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.; Gertsch, B.

    2012-12-01

    The potential role of major volcanic provinces has long been neglected as potential cause for major mass extinctions in Earth's history. This is despite the fact that volcanic activity is implicated in four of the five Phanerozoic mass extinctions, whereas a large asteroid impact is only associated with the K-T mass extinction. After 28 years of nearly unchallenged perception that a large impact (Chicxulub) on Yucatan caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, this theory is facing its most serious challenge from Deccan volcanism in India. Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies show that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between

  18. Operation of the breeze tunnel to determine mass extinction coefficients

    SciTech Connect

    Sehmel, G.A.; Bonfante, R.; Catalano, E.; Rouse, W.G.; Banks, D.R.

    1993-06-01

    The breeze tunnel at the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (ERDEC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is a unique facility for determining the efficacy of released smoke/obscurants in flowing air as a function of controlling variables. Optimum material feed characteristics and generator operating conditions can be determined. The facility allows investigation of the effects of different generator operating variables, airborne concentrations, and airborne particle sizes on mass extinction coefficients. The breeze tunnel is now available for Department of Defense (DoD) trials. During trials in the breeze tunnel, obscurants have been released from the compact-disc-generator, the IR-Log generator, and the XM56 generator. Obscurant release rates have ranged from an instantaneous puff to a continuous release of 10 lb/min. Extinction can be measured in the visual, infrared, and millimeter ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Experimental conditions allow calculation of mass extinction coefficients as a function of generator variables, including material release rates. Average mass extinction coefficients address attenuation from obscurants, both single primary particles and aggregates.

  19. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L.; Elmore, Aurora C.; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J.; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-06-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal `bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ~0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity.

  20. Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Clarkson, M O; Kasemann, S A; Wood, R A; Lenton, T M; Daines, S J; Richoz, S; Ohnemueller, F; Meixner, A; Poulton, S W; Tipper, E T

    2015-04-10

    Ocean acidification triggered by Siberian Trap volcanism was a possible kill mechanism for the Permo-Triassic Boundary mass extinction, but direct evidence for an acidification event is lacking. We present a high-resolution seawater pH record across this interval, using boron isotope data combined with a quantitative modeling approach. In the latest Permian, increased ocean alkalinity primed the Earth system with a low level of atmospheric CO2 and a high ocean buffering capacity. The first phase of extinction was coincident with a slow injection of carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean pH remained stable. During the second extinction pulse, however, a rapid and large injection of carbon caused an abrupt acidification event that drove the preferential loss of heavily calcified marine biota. PMID:25859043

  1. Human influence on distribution and extinctions of the late Pleistocene Eurasian megafauna.

    PubMed

    Pushkina, Diana; Raia, Pasquale

    2008-06-01

    Late Pleistocene extinctions are of interest to paleontological and anthropological research. In North America and Australia, human occupation occurred during a short period of time and overexploitation may have led to the extinction of mammalian megafauna. In northern Eurasia megafaunal extinctions are believed to have occurred over a relatively longer period of time, perhaps as a result of changing environmental conditions, but the picture is much less clear. To consider megafaunal extinction in Eurasia, we compare differences in the geographical distribution and commonness of extinct and extant species between paleontological and archaeological localities from the late middle Pleistocene to Holocene. Purely paleontological localities, as well as most extinct species, were distributed north of archaeological sites and of the extant species, suggesting that apart from possible differences in adaptations between humans and other species, humans could also have a detrimental effect on large mammal distribution. However, evidence for human overexploitation applies only to the extinct steppe bison Bison priscus. Other human-preferred species survive into the Holocene, including Rangifer tarandus, Equus ferus, Capreolus capreolus, Cervus elaphus, Equus hemionus, Saiga tatarica, and Sus scrofa. Mammuthus primigenius and Megaloceros giganteus were rare in archaeological sites. Carnivores appear little influenced by human presence, although they become rarer in Holocene archaeological sites. Overall, the data are consistent with the conclusion that humans acted as efficient hunters selecting for the most abundant species. Our study supports the idea that the late Pleistocene extinctions were environmentally driven by climatic changes that triggered habitat fragmentation, species range reduction, and population decrease, after which human interference either by direct hunting or via indirect activities probably became critical. PMID:18199470

  2. Serial population extinctions in a small mammal indicate Late Pleistocene ecosystem instability

    PubMed Central

    Brace, Selina; Palkopoulou, Eleftheria; Dalén, Love; Lister, Adrian M.; Miller, Rebecca; Otte, Marcel; Germonpré, Mietje; Blockley, Simon P. E.; Stewart, John R.; Barnes, Ian

    2012-01-01

    The Late Pleistocene global extinction of many terrestrial mammal species has been a subject of intensive scientific study for over a century, yet the relative contributions of environmental changes and the global expansion of humans remain unresolved. A defining component of these extinctions is a bias toward large species, with the majority of small-mammal taxa apparently surviving into the present. Here, we investigate the population-level history of a key tundra-specialist small mammal, the collared lemming (Dicrostonyx torquatus), to explore whether events during the Late Pleistocene had a discernible effect beyond the large mammal fauna. Using ancient DNA techniques to sample across three sites in North-West Europe, we observe a dramatic reduction in genetic diversity in this species over the last 50,000 y. We further identify a series of extinction-recolonization events, indicating a previously unrecognized instability in Late Pleistocene small-mammal populations, which we link with climatic fluctuations. Our results reveal climate-associated, repeated regional extinctions in a keystone prey species across the Late Pleistocene, a pattern likely to have had an impact on the wider steppe-tundra community, and one that is concordant with environmental change as a major force in structuring Late Pleistocene biodiversity. PMID:23185018

  3. A new chronology for the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, M. H. L.; Ruhl, M.; Bonis, N. R.; Krijgsman, W.; Kuerschner, W. M.; Reitsma, M.; van Bergen, M. J.

    2010-03-01

    The transition from the Triassic to Jurassic Period, initiating the 'Age of the dinosaurs', approximately 200 Ma, is marked by a profound mass extinction with more than 50% genus loss in both marine and continental realms. This event closely coincides with a period of extensive volcanism in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) associated with the initial break-up of Pangaea but a causal relationship is still debated. The Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary is recently proposed in the marine record at the first occurrence datum of Jurassic ammonites, post-dating the extinction interval that concurs with two distinct perturbations in the carbon isotope record. The continental record shows a major palynological turnover together with a prominent change in tetrapod taxa, but a direct link to the marine events is still equivocal. Here we develop an accurate chronostratigraphic framework for the T-J boundary interval and establish detailed trans-Atlantic and marine-continental correlations by integrating astrochronology, paleomagnetism, basalt geochemistry and geobiology. We show that the oldest CAMP basalts are diachronous by 20 kyr across the Atlantic Ocean, and that these two volcanic pulses coincide with the end-Triassic extinction interval in the marine realm. Our results support the hypotheses of Phanerozoic mass extinctions resulting from emplacement of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and provide crucial time constraints for numerical modelling of Triassic-Jurassic climate change and global carbon-cycle perturbations.

  4. Dietary controls on extinction versus survival among avian megafauna in the late Pleistocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Stidham, Thomas A.; Bowen, Gabriel J.; Emslie, Steven D.; Koch, Paul L.

    2006-08-01

    The late Pleistocene extinction decimated terrestrial megafaunal communities in North America, but did not affect marine mammal populations. In coastal regions, marine megafauna may have provided a buffer that allowed some large predators or scavengers, such as California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), to survive into the Holocene. To track the influence of marine resources on avifaunas we analyzed the carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope composition of collagen from late Pleistocene vultures and raptors, including species that survived the extinction (condor, bald eagle, golden eagle) and extinct species (teratorn, black vulture). At the Rancho La Brea and McKittrick tar pits of southern California, isotope values for extinct teratorns (Teratornis merriami, n = 10) and black vultures (Coragyps occidentalis, n = 8) show that they fed entirely in a terrestrial C3 ecosystem. In contrast, La Brea condors cluster into two groups, one with a terrestrial diet (n = 4), and the other with a strong marine influence (n = 5). At localities in the American southwest, Texas, and Florida, where condors became extinct, they have isotope values indicating entirely terrestrial diets (n = 10). Our results suggest that dependence upon terrestrial megafaunal carrion as a food source led to the extinction of inland California condor populations and coastal populations of teratorns and black vultures at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, whereas use of marine foods allowed coastal condor populations to survive.

  5. New Evidence links Deccan Traps to the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, T.; Keller, G.

    2012-04-01

    Recent studies indicate that Deccan Trap volcanism began with a relatively minor eruption phase (~6% of total volume) during the late Maastrichtian magnetic polarity C30n. The main eruption phase (~80%) occurred over a short period in C29r just below the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) and the last Deccan phase (~14%) erupted in the early Danian C29n. Multiproxy studies from sections in Meghalaya (NE India), Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), 6 quarry outcrops from Rajahmundry (SE India), 10 deep wells from the Krishna-Godavari Basin (K-G) (Andhra Pradesh) place the KTB mass extinction near the end of the main Deccan phase coincident with the mass extinction. These studies show that the second and third phase of eruptions each produced the world's largest and longest lava megaflows ~1500 km across India through the K-G Basin into the Bay of Bengal. These megaflows are separated by sand, silt and shale which record the mass extinction across an interval that spans zones CF1-CF2 and most of the nannofossil Micula prinsii zone and is correlative with the rapid global warming and subsequent cooling near the end of the Maastrichtian. The mass extinction began preceding the first of the four mega-flows in C29r. Planktic foraminifera suffered a 50% drop in species richness. Survivors suffered another 50% drop after the first mega-flow, leaving just 7 to 8 survivor species. No recovery occurred between the next three mega-flows and the mass extinction was complete with the last phase-2 megaflow at the KTB. The last phase of Deccan volcanism and its 3 to 4 megaflows in the early Danian C29n (zone P1b) delayed biotic recovery of marine plankton. Correlative with these intense volcanic phases, climate changed from humid/tropical to arid conditions and returned to normal tropical humidity after the last phase of volcanism. Similar environmental conditions, mass extinction and delayed recovery patterns are observed in Meghalaya, NE India.The mass extinction was

  6. Comet showers as a cause of mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hut, Piet; Alvarez, Walter; Elder, William P.; Kauffman, Erle G.; Hansen, Thor; Keller, Gerta; Shoemaker, Eugene M.; Weissman, Paul R.

    1987-01-01

    Three independent pieces of evidence supporting a connection between comet showers and clustering in terrestrial cratering and mass extinctions are presented. The temporal profile of a comet shower triggered by a star passing through the Oort cloud is calculated. Four weak peaks are found in the age of distribution of impact craters over the past 100 Myr, as well as two compact clusters of ages of impact glass broadly coincident with crater-age peaks. Recent paleontological observations are reviewed that indicate a stepwise character for some well-documented mass extinctions in the past 100 Myr which roughly coincide with three of the four peaks in crater ages and which have a duration compatible with comet shower predictions.

  7. Periodic Comet Showers, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.; Stothers, R. B.

    2000-01-01

    Geologic data on mass extinctions of life and evidence of large impacts on the Earth are thus far consistent with a quasi-periodic modulation of the flux of Oort cloud comets. Impacts of large comets and asteroids are capable of causing mass extinction of species, and the records of large impact craters and mass show a correlation. Impacts and extinctions display periods in the range of approximately 31 +/- 5 m.y., depending on dating methods, published time scales, length of record, and number of events analyzed. Statistical studies show that observed differences in the formal periodicity of extinctions and craters are to be expected, taking into consideration problems in dating and the likelihood that both records would be mixtures of periodic and random events. These results could be explained by quasi-periodic showers of Oort Cloud comets with a similar cycle. The best candidate for a pacemaker for comet showers is the Sun's vertical oscillation through the plane of the Galaxy, with a half-period over the last 250 million years in the same range. We originally suggested that the probability of encounters with molecular clouds that could perturb the Oort comet cloud and cause comet showers is modulated by the Sun's vertical motion through the galactic disk. Tidal forces produced by the overall gravitational field of the Galaxy can also cause perturbations of cometary orbits. Since these forces vary with the changing position of the solar system in the Galaxy, they provide a mechanism for the periodic variation in the flux of Oort cloud comets into the inner solar system. The cycle time and degree of modulation depend critically on the mass distribution in the galactic disk. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  8. Flourishing ocean drives the end-Permian marine mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2015-08-18

    The end-Permian mass extinction, the most severe biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic, was accompanied by climate change and expansion of oceanic anoxic zones. The partitioning of sulfur among different exogenic reservoirs by biological and physical processes was of importance for this biodiversity crisis, but the exact role of bioessential sulfur in the mass extinction is still unclear. Here we show that globally increased production of organic matter affected the seawater sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope signature that has been recorded in carbonate rock spanning the Permian-Triassic boundary. A bifurcating temporal trend is observed for the strata spanning the marine mass extinction with carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope excursions toward decreased and increased values, respectively. By coupling these results to a box model, we show that increased marine productivity and successive enhanced microbial sulfate reduction is the most likely scenario to explain these temporal trends. The new data demonstrate that worldwide expansion of euxinic and anoxic zones are symptoms of increased biological carbon recycling in the marine realm initiated by global warming. The spatial distribution of sulfidic water column conditions in shallow seafloor environments is dictated by the severity and geographic patterns of nutrient fluxes and serves as an adequate model to explain the scale of the marine biodiversity crisis. Our results provide evidence that the major biodiversity crises in Earth's history do not necessarily implicate an ocean stripped of (most) life but rather the demise of certain eukaryotic organisms, leading to a decline in species richness. PMID:26240323

  9. Mass Extinction and the Structure of the Milky Way

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Filipovic, M. D.; Horner, J.; Crawford, E. J.; Tothill, N. F. H.; White, G. L.

    2013-12-01

    We use the most up-to-date Milky Way model and solar orbit data in order to test the hypothesis that the Sun's galactic spiral arm crossings cause mass extinction events on Earth. To do this, we created a new model of the Milky Way's spiral arms by combining a large quantity of data from several surveys. We then combined this model with a recently derived solution for the solar orbit to determine the timing of the Sun's historical passages through the Galaxy's spiral arms. Our new model was designed with a symmetrical appearance, with the major alteration being the addition of a spur at the far side of the Galaxy. A correlation was found between the times at which the Sun crosses the spiral arms and six known mass extinction events. Furthermore, we identify five additional historical mass extinction events that might be explained by the motion of the Sun around our Galaxy. These five additional significant drops in marine genera that we find include significant reductions in diversity at 415, 322, 300, 145 and 33~Myr ago. Our simulations indicate that the Sun has spent ˜60 per cent of its time passing through our Galaxy's various spiral arms. Also, we briefly discuss and combine previous work on the Galactic Habitable Zone with the new Milky Way model.

  10. Effect of environmental variables on body size evolution of crinoids between periods of mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jani, T.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    Body size plays a major role in determining whether or not an organism can sustain in its local environment. The ecosystem of an animal has a major effect on the fitness of organisms, and it would be interesting to note the degree to which various environmental factors alter body size. In my project, I identify three environmental factors that seem to affect body size of crinoids, marine invertebrates from phylum Echinodermata, and explore how these variables play out in the intervals between the five mass extinctions. The particular factors I study include atmospheric CO2 concentration (proxy for temperature), O2 concentration, and sea level. Although the r and p values for all of these factors were statistically insignificant to definitively make any correlation, there was a visual correlation. For O2, I noted a generally positive correlation with body size over time. CO2 trends suggested a negative correlation until the K-T boundary, but a positive correlation afterwards. Correlation with sea level was a little more complicated: correlation was positive from the start of the Phanerozoic to the Permian extinction; it turned negative until the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary; afterwards, it again became positive. However, for all three variables, statistical values are too low to say definitively mark any correlation. Out of all three factors, CO2 levels had the highest correlation and lowest p-values in the most time intervals: from the start of the Phanerozoic to Ordovician-Silurian Extinction, from the Late Devonian to the Permian Extinction, and from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary to the present. When considering first differences, CO2 levels also had the highest correlation from the Permian Extinction to Triassic-Jurassic Extinction and from the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction to Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction. Using PaleoTS, I found that body size evolution patterns either seemed to follow either an unbiased random walk (URW) or stasis in the intervals between

  11. Deccan Volcanism likely cause for K-T Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.; Adatte, T.; Gertsch, B.; Bajpai, S.; Garg, R.; Prasad, V.; Upadhyay, H.; Bhowmick, P. K.

    2009-04-01

    Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies suggest that the main phase of eruptions occurred rapidly over tens of thousands of years near the end of the Maastrichtian (Chenet et al. 2007, 2008) and may have caused the mass extinction as initially discovered in intertrappean sediments exposed in quarries of Rajahmundry, SE India. In these shallow marine sediments early Danian zone P1a planktic foraminifera were deposited in C29r immediately above the last mega eruption of the main volcanic phase (Keller et al. (2008). At Jhilmili in central India (Madhya Pradesh), early Danian zone P1a assemblages were also discovered in intertrappean sediments, which mark a marine incursion in a predominantly terrestrial sequence which signals a major seaway existed at K-T time. In Meghalaya, NE India, about 600 km from the Deccan volcanic province the K-T boundary and mass extinction identified from planktic foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils and palynomorphs is marked by very large Ir (11.8 ppb), Ru, Rh and Pd anomalies. High biotic stress conditions precede the KTB. Critical new data linking Deccan volcanism to the K-T mass extinction comes also from investigations of subsurface cores drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, eastern India, by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC). In eight subsurface cores examined, a total of 4 volcanic megaflows have been identified as occurring in very rapid succession near the end of the Maastrichtian. These megaflows span a 1000 km across India and out to the Gulf of Bengal. They are the longest lava flows known in Earth's history. Preliminary evaluation of the biotic effects of these megaflows on planktic foraminifera indicate that after the first megaflow up to 50% of the species disappeared and with each new megaflow more species died out culminating in near total mass extinction coincident with the last megaflow by K-T boundary time. After the mass extinction, no megaflows reached the Krishna-Godavari Basin for about 250

  12. Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary.

    PubMed

    Longrich, Nicholas R; Tokaryk, Tim; Field, Daniel J

    2011-09-13

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) (formerly Cretaceous-Tertiary, K-T) mass extinction on avian evolution is debated, primarily because of the poor fossil record of Late Cretaceous birds. In particular, it remains unclear whether archaic birds became extinct gradually over the course of the Cretaceous or whether they remained diverse up to the end of the Cretaceous and perished in the K-Pg mass extinction. Here, we describe a diverse avifauna from the latest Maastrichtian of western North America, which provides definitive evidence for the persistence of a range of archaic birds to within 300,000 y of the K-Pg boundary. A total of 17 species are identified, including 7 species of archaic bird, representing Enantiornithes, Ichthyornithes, Hesperornithes, and an Apsaravis-like bird. None of these groups are known to survive into the Paleogene, and their persistence into the latest Maastrichtian therefore provides strong evidence for a mass extinction of archaic birds coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Most of the birds described here represent advanced ornithurines, showing that a major radiation of Ornithurae preceded the end of the Cretaceous, but none can be definitively referred to the Neornithes. This avifauna is the most diverse known from the Late Cretaceous, and although size disparity is lower than in modern birds, the assemblage includes both smaller forms and some of the largest volant birds known from the Mesozoic, emphasizing the degree to which avian diversification had proceeded by the end of the age of dinosaurs. PMID:21914849

  13. Mass extinction of birds at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary

    PubMed Central

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Tokaryk, Tim; Field, Daniel J.

    2011-01-01

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) (formerly Cretaceous–Tertiary, K–T) mass extinction on avian evolution is debated, primarily because of the poor fossil record of Late Cretaceous birds. In particular, it remains unclear whether archaic birds became extinct gradually over the course of the Cretaceous or whether they remained diverse up to the end of the Cretaceous and perished in the K–Pg mass extinction. Here, we describe a diverse avifauna from the latest Maastrichtian of western North America, which provides definitive evidence for the persistence of a range of archaic birds to within 300,000 y of the K–Pg boundary. A total of 17 species are identified, including 7 species of archaic bird, representing Enantiornithes, Ichthyornithes, Hesperornithes, and an Apsaravis-like bird. None of these groups are known to survive into the Paleogene, and their persistence into the latest Maastrichtian therefore provides strong evidence for a mass extinction of archaic birds coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Most of the birds described here represent advanced ornithurines, showing that a major radiation of Ornithurae preceded the end of the Cretaceous, but none can be definitively referred to the Neornithes. This avifauna is the most diverse known from the Late Cretaceous, and although size disparity is lower than in modern birds, the assemblage includes both smaller forms and some of the largest volant birds known from the Mesozoic, emphasizing the degree to which avian diversification had proceeded by the end of the age of dinosaurs. PMID:21914849

  14. A new chronology for the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, Martijn H. L.; Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R.; Krijgsman, Wout; Kuerschner, Wolfram M.; van Bergen, Manfred J.

    2010-05-01

    The link between the end-Triassic mass extinction (~200 Ma), one of the big five, and the emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), one of the biggest flood basalt provinces, has been controversial. Here we show with a multi-disciplinary approach that the onset of volcanism in Morocco is synchronous with the extinction events documented in the terrestrial Newark basin (US) and in the marine realm (UK). Roughly 20 kyr later the main pulse of initial CAMP volcanism is synchronously recorded throughout the rest of the northern CAMP province. This event also seems to be short-lived (<100 kyr), probably occurring in distinct instantaneous pulses. Additional cyclostratigraphic control on the marine St. Audrie's Bay Tr-J boundary section (UK) indicates that both these two CAMP pulses occurred before the recently defined (first occurrence Jurassic ammonites) Triassic Jurassic boundary. This boundary, which can be considered as a first recovery event, occurs about 6 precession cycles (~120 kyr) after the end-Triassic mass extinction level.

  15. Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia.

    PubMed

    Saltré, Frédérik; Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Brook, Barry W; Johnson, Christopher N; Turney, Chris S M; Alroy, John; Cooper, Alan; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I; Fordham, Damien A; Gillespie, Richard; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Jacobs, Zenobia; Miller, Gifford H; Nogués-Bravo, David; Prideaux, Gavin J; Roberts, Richard G; Bradshaw, Corey J A

    2016-01-01

    Late Quaternary megafauna extinctions impoverished mammalian diversity worldwide. The causes of these extinctions in Australia are most controversial but essential to resolve, because this continent-wide event presaged similar losses that occurred thousands of years later on other continents. Here we apply a rigorous metadata analysis and new ensemble-hindcasting approach to 659 Australian megafauna fossil ages. When coupled with analysis of several high-resolution climate records, we show that megafaunal extinctions were broadly synchronous among genera and independent of climate aridity and variability in Australia over the last 120,000 years. Our results reject climate change as the primary driver of megafauna extinctions in the world's most controversial context, and instead estimate that the megafauna disappeared Australia-wide ∼13,500 years after human arrival, with shorter periods of coexistence in some regions. This is the first comprehensive approach to incorporate uncertainty in fossil ages, extinction timing and climatology, to quantify mechanisms of prehistorical extinctions. PMID:26821754

  16. Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Saltré, Frédérik; Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Brook, Barry W.; Johnson, Christopher N; Turney, Chris S. M.; Alroy, John; Cooper, Alan; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I.; Fordham, Damien A.; Gillespie, Richard; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Jacobs, Zenobia; Miller, Gifford H.; Nogués-Bravo, David; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Roberts, Richard G.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.

    2016-01-01

    Late Quaternary megafauna extinctions impoverished mammalian diversity worldwide. The causes of these extinctions in Australia are most controversial but essential to resolve, because this continent-wide event presaged similar losses that occurred thousands of years later on other continents. Here we apply a rigorous metadata analysis and new ensemble-hindcasting approach to 659 Australian megafauna fossil ages. When coupled with analysis of several high-resolution climate records, we show that megafaunal extinctions were broadly synchronous among genera and independent of climate aridity and variability in Australia over the last 120,000 years. Our results reject climate change as the primary driver of megafauna extinctions in the world's most controversial context, and instead estimate that the megafauna disappeared Australia-wide ∼13,500 years after human arrival, with shorter periods of coexistence in some regions. This is the first comprehensive approach to incorporate uncertainty in fossil ages, extinction timing and climatology, to quantify mechanisms of prehistorical extinctions. PMID:26821754

  17. The late Quaternary extinction and future resurrection of birds on Pacific islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steadman, David W.; Martin, Paul S.

    2003-04-01

    People have lived on tropical Pacific islands over the past 30,000 years (Bismarcks, Solomons) or 3000 to 1000 years (the rest of Oceania). Their activities have led to the loss of many thousands of populations and as many as 2000 species of birds that probably otherwise would exist today. This extinction event is documented by avian fossils from archaeological (cultural) and paleontological (noncultural) sites from nearly 70 islands in 19 island groups. Extinction of birds in Oceania rivals the late Pleistocene loss of large mammals in North America as the best substantiated rapid extinction episode in the vertebrate fossil record. Some avian extinctions in Oceania occurred within a century or less after human arrival, while others required millennia or even tens of millennia. Any of these time frames is rapid in an evolutionary or geochronological sense. Inter-island differences in the speed and extent of extinction can be explained by variation in abiotic (A), biotic (B), and cultural (C) factors. Levels of extinction on large, near islands can be comparable to those on small, remote islands when C factors (such as high human population density and introduction of invasive plants and animals) override A factors (such as large land area or little isolation) or B factors (such as rich indigenous floras and faunas). An innovative, proactive conservation strategy is needed not only to prevent further extinctions of birds in Oceania, but also to restart evolution of some of the lineages that have suffered the most loss, such as flightless rails. This strategy should focus on islands with ABC traits that retard rather than enhance extinction.

  18. Can we avoid the Sixth Mass Extinction? Setting today's extinction crisis in the context of the Big Five

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnosky, A. D.

    2012-12-01

    While the ultimate extinction driver now—Homo sapiens—is unique with respect to the drivers of past extinctions, comparison of parallel neontological and paleontological information helps calibrate how far the so-called Sixth Mass Extinction has progressed and whether it is inevitable. Such comparisons document that rates of extinction today are approaching or exceeding those that characterized the Big Five Mass Extinctions. Continuation of present extinction rates for vertebrates, for example, would result in 75% species loss—the minimum benchmark exhibited in the Big Five extinctions—within 3 to 22 centuries, assuming constant rates of loss and no threshold effects. Preceding and during each of the Big Five, the global ecosystem experienced major changes in climate, atmospheric chemisty, and ocean chemistry—not unlike what is being observed presently. Nevertheless, only 1-2% of well-assessed modern species have been lost over the past five centuries, still far below what characterized past mass extinctions in the strict paleontological sense. For mammals, adding in the end-Pleistocene species that died out would increase the species-loss percentage by some 5%. If threatened vertebrate species were to actually go extinct, losses would rise to between 14 and 40%, depending on the group. Such observations highlight that, although many species have already had their populations drastically reduced to near-critical levels, the Sixth Mass Extinction has not yet progressed to the point where it is unavoidable. Put another way, the vast majority of species that have occupied the world in concert with Homo sapiens are still alive and are possible to save. That task, however, will require slowing the abnormally high extinction rates that are now in progress, which in turn requires unified efforts to cap human population growth, decrease the average human footprint, reduce fossil fuel use while simultaneously increasing clean energy technologies, integrate

  19. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Halliday, Thomas John Dixon; Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-06-29

    The effect of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K-Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K-Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K-Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene. PMID:27358361

  20. Eutherians experienced elevated evolutionary rates in the immediate aftermath of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Goswami, Anjali

    2016-01-01

    The effect of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) mass extinction on the evolution of many groups, including placental mammals, has been hotly debated. The fossil record suggests a sudden adaptive radiation of placentals immediately after the event, but several recent quantitative analyses have reconstructed no significant increase in either clade origination rates or rates of character evolution in the Palaeocene. Here we use stochastic methods to date a recent phylogenetic analysis of Cretaceous and Palaeocene mammals and show that Placentalia likely originated in the Late Cretaceous, but that most intraordinal diversification occurred during the earliest Palaeocene. This analysis reconstructs fewer than 10 placental mammal lineages crossing the K–Pg boundary. Moreover, we show that rates of morphological evolution in the 5 Myr interval immediately after the K–Pg mass extinction are three times higher than background rates during the Cretaceous. These results suggest that the K–Pg mass extinction had a marked impact on placental mammal diversification, supporting the view that an evolutionary radiation occurred as placental lineages invaded new ecological niches during the Early Palaeocene. PMID:27358361

  1. Provincialization of terrestrial faunas following the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sidor, Christian A; Vilhena, Daril A; Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Huttenlocker, Adam K; Nesbitt, Sterling J; Peecook, Brandon R; Steyer, J Sébastien; Smith, Roger M H; Tsuji, Linda A

    2013-05-14

    In addition to their devastating effects on global biodiversity, mass extinctions have had a long-term influence on the history of life by eliminating dominant lineages that suppressed ecological change. Here, we test whether the end-Permian mass extinction (252.3 Ma) affected the distribution of tetrapod faunas within the southern hemisphere and apply quantitative methods to analyze four components of biogeographic structure: connectedness, clustering, range size, and endemism. For all four components, we detected increased provincialism between our Permian and Triassic datasets. In southern Pangea, a more homogeneous and broadly distributed fauna in the Late Permian (Wuchiapingian, ∼257 Ma) was replaced by a provincial and biogeographically fragmented fauna by Middle Triassic times (Anisian, ∼242 Ma). Importantly in the Triassic, lower latitude basins in Tanzania and Zambia included dinosaur predecessors and other archosaurs unknown elsewhere. The recognition of heterogeneous tetrapod communities in the Triassic implies that the end-Permian mass extinction afforded ecologically marginalized lineages the ecospace to diversify, and that biotic controls (i.e., evolutionary incumbency) were fundamentally reset. Archosaurs, which began diversifying in the Early Triassic, were likely beneficiaries of this ecological release and remained dominant for much of the later Mesozoic. PMID:23630295

  2. Late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinction Consistent With YDB Impact Hypothesis at Younger Dryas Onset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennett, J. P.; Kennett, D. J.

    2008-12-01

    At least 35 mammal and 19 bird genera became extinct across North America near the end of the Pleistocene. Modern increases in stratigraphic and dating resolution suggest that this extinction occurred relatively rapidly near 12.9 ka (11 radiocarbon kyrs). Within the context of a long-standing debate about its cause, Firestone et al., (2007) proposed that this extinction resulted from an extraterrestrial (ET) impact over North America at 12.9 ka. This hypothesis predicts that the extinction of most of these animals should have occurred abruptly at 12.9 ka. To test this hypothesis, we have critically examined radiocarbon ages and the extinction stratigraphy of these taxa. From a large data pool, we selected only radiocarbon dates with low error margins with a preference for directly dated biological materials (e.g., bone, dung, etc.) and modern chemical purification techniques. A relatively small number of acceptable dates indicate that at least 16 animal genera and several other species became extinct close to 12.9 ka. These taxa include the most common animals of the late Pleistocene such as horses, camels, and mammoths. Also, the remains of extinct taxa are reportedly found up to, but not above, the base of a widely distributed carbon-rich layer called the black mat. This stratum forms an abrupt, major biostratigraphic boundary at the Younger Dryas onset (12.9 ka), which also contains multiple ET markers comprising the impact layer (the YDB). Surviving animal populations were abruptly reduced at the YDB (e.g., Bison), with major range restrictions and apparent evolutionary bottlenecks. The abruptness of this major extinction is inconsistent with the hypotheses of human overkill and climatic change. We argue that extinction ages older than 12.9 ka for many less common species result from the Signor-Lipps effect, but the impact hypothesis predicts that as new dates are acquired, they will approach ever closer to 12.9 ka. The megafaunal extinction is strongly

  3. Biological selectivity of extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kitchell, Jennifer A.

    Selective survival across major extinction event horizons is both a bothersome puzzle and an opportunity to delimit the biologically interesting question of causality. Heritable differences in characters may have predictable consequences in terms of differential species survival. Differences in magnitude and intensity of extinction are insufficient to distinguish background from mass extinction regimes. Biological adaptations may establish links of causality between abnormal times of mass extinction and normal times of background extinction. A current hypothesis, developed from a comparison of extinction patterns among Late Cretaceous molluscs, is that biological adaptations of organisms, effective during normal times of Earth history, are ineffectual during times of crises. A counter example is provided by data from high-latitude laminated marine strata that preserve evidence of an actively exploited life-history strategy among Late Cretaceous phytoplankton. These data illustrate a causal dependency between a biological character selected for during times of background extinction and macroevolutionary survivorship during an unusual time of crisis.

  4. Atmospheric methane injection caused end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R.; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Kürschner, Wolfram M.

    2010-05-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (~201.5 Ma), marked by major terrestrial ecosystem changes and a 50% loss in marine biodiversity, coincides with a distinct negative perturbation in marine C-isotope records. These events have been attributed to the onset of intensified volcanic activity in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), the largest igneous province on earth. However, global carbon cycle disruption has been questioned due to varying magnitudes of the observed negative excursion between different sedimentary basins. Here, we present compound specific C-isotope data of long-chain n-alkanes derived from waxes of land plants, showing a ~8.5‰ negative excursion coincident with the extinction interval. These data suggest strong 13C depletion of the end-Triassic atmosphere, within 10-20 kyr. The magnitude and rate of C-cycle disruption can only be explained by the injection of ~12x103 Gt of isotopically depleted carbon from the methane-hydrate reservoir. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence the end-Triassic extinction is, for the first time, mechanistically linked to massive carbon release and associated climate change.

  5. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution.

    PubMed

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L; Elmore, Aurora C; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal 'bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ∼0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity. PMID:27311937

  6. Surviving mass extinction by bridging the benthic/planktic divide

    PubMed Central

    Darling, Kate F.; Thomas, Ellen; Kasemann, Simone A.; Seears, Heidi A.; Smart, Christopher W.; Wade, Christopher M.

    2009-01-01

    Evolution of planktic organisms from benthic ancestors is commonly thought to represent unidirectional expansion into new ecological domains, possibly only once per clade. For foraminifera, this evolutionary expansion occurred in the Early–Middle Jurassic, and all living and extinct planktic foraminifera have been placed within 1 clade, the Suborder Globigerinina. The subsequent radiation of planktic foraminifera in the Jurassic and Cretaceous resulted in highly diverse assemblages, which suffered mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, leaving an impoverished assemblage dominated by microperforate triserial and biserial forms. The few survivor species radiated to form diverse assemblages once again in the Cenozoic. There have, however, long been doubts regarding the monophyletic origin of planktic foraminifera. We present surprising but conclusive genetic evidence that the Recent biserial planktic Streptochilus globigerus belongs to the same biological species as the benthic Bolivina variabilis, and geochemical evidence that this ecologically flexible species actively grows within the open-ocean surface waters, thus occupying both planktic and benthic domains. Such a lifestyle (tychopelagic) had not been recognized as adapted by foraminifera. Tychopelagic are endowed with great ecological advantage, enabling rapid recolonization of the extinction-susceptible pelagic domain from the benthos. We argue that the existence of such forms must be considered in resolving foraminiferal phylogeny. PMID:19574452

  7. Mid Pleistocene foraminiferal mass extinction coupled with phytoplankton evolution

    PubMed Central

    Kender, Sev; McClymont, Erin L.; Elmore, Aurora C.; Emanuele, Dario; Leng, Melanie J.; Elderfield, Henry

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the interaction between climate and biotic evolution is crucial for deciphering the sensitivity of life. An enigmatic mass extinction occurred in the deep oceans during the Mid Pleistocene, with a loss of over 100 species (20%) of sea floor calcareous foraminifera. An evolutionarily conservative group, benthic foraminifera often comprise >50% of eukaryote biomass on the deep-ocean floor. Here we test extinction hypotheses (temperature, corrosiveness and productivity) in the Tasman Sea, using geochemistry and micropalaeontology, and find evidence from several globally distributed sites that the extinction was caused by a change in phytoplankton food source. Coccolithophore evolution may have enhanced the seasonal ‘bloom' nature of primary productivity and fundamentally shifted it towards a more intra-annually variable state at ∼0.8 Ma. Our results highlight intra-annual variability as a potential new consideration for Mid Pleistocene global biogeochemical climate models, and imply that deep-sea biota may be sensitive to future changes in productivity. PMID:27311937

  8. Behavior of lophophorates during the end-Permian mass extinction and recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Powers, Catherine M.; Bottjer, David J.

    2009-11-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction devastated most marine communities and the recovery was a protracted event lasting several million years into the Early Triassic. Environmental and biological processes undoubtedly controlled patterns of recovery for marine invertebrates in the aftermath of the extinction, but are often difficult to single-out. The global diversity and distribution of marine lophophorates during the aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction indicates that stenolaemate bryozoans, rhynchonelliform brachiopods, and lingulid brachiopods displayed distinct recovery patterns. Bryozoans were the most susceptible of the lophophorates, experiencing relatively high rates of extinction at the end of the Permian, and becoming restricted to the Boreal region during the Early Triassic. The recovery of bryozoans was also delayed until the Late Triassic and characterized by very low diversity and abundance. Following the final disappearance of Permian rhynchonelliform brachiopod survivors, Early Triassic rhynchonelliform brachiopod abundance remained suppressed despite a successful re-diversification and a global distribution, suggesting a decoupling between global taxonomic and ecological processes likely driven by lingering environmental stress. In contrast with bryozoans and rhynchonelliforms, lingulid brachiopods rebounded rapidly, colonizing shallow marine settings left vacant by the extinction. Lingulid dominance, characterized by low diversity but high numerical abundance, was short-lived and they were once again displaced back into marginal settings as environmental stress changed through the marine recovery. The presence in lingulid brachiopods of the respiratory pigment hemerythrin, known to increase the efficacy of oxygen storage and transport, when coupled with other morphological and physiological adaptations, may have given lingulids a survival advantage in environmentally stressed Early Triassic settings.

  9. Flourishing ocean drives the end-Permian marine mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Schobben, Martin; Stebbins, Alan; Ghaderi, Abbas; Strauss, Harald; Korn, Dieter; Korte, Christoph

    2015-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, the most severe biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic, was accompanied by climate change and expansion of oceanic anoxic zones. The partitioning of sulfur among different exogenic reservoirs by biological and physical processes was of importance for this biodiversity crisis, but the exact role of bioessential sulfur in the mass extinction is still unclear. Here we show that globally increased production of organic matter affected the seawater sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope signature that has been recorded in carbonate rock spanning the Permian−Triassic boundary. A bifurcating temporal trend is observed for the strata spanning the marine mass extinction with carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur and oxygen isotope excursions toward decreased and increased values, respectively. By coupling these results to a box model, we show that increased marine productivity and successive enhanced microbial sulfate reduction is the most likely scenario to explain these temporal trends. The new data demonstrate that worldwide expansion of euxinic and anoxic zones are symptoms of increased biological carbon recycling in the marine realm initiated by global warming. The spatial distribution of sulfidic water column conditions in shallow seafloor environments is dictated by the severity and geographic patterns of nutrient fluxes and serves as an adequate model to explain the scale of the marine biodiversity crisis. Our results provide evidence that the major biodiversity crises in Earth’s history do not necessarily implicate an ocean stripped of (most) life but rather the demise of certain eukaryotic organisms, leading to a decline in species richness. PMID:26240323

  10. 2MASS wide-field extinction maps. V. Corona Australis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alves, João; Lombardi, Marco; Lada, Charles J.

    2014-05-01

    We present a near-infrared extinction map of a large region (~870 deg2) covering the isolated Corona Australis complex of molecular clouds. We reach a 1-σ error of 0.02 mag in the K-band extinction with a resolution of 3 arcmin over the entire map. We find that the Corona Australis cloud is about three times as large as revealed by previous CO and dust emission surveys. The cloud consists of a 45 pc long complex of filamentary structure from the well known star forming Western-end (the head, N ≥ 1023 cm-2) to the diffuse Eastern-end (the tail, N ≤ 1021 cm-2). Remarkably, about two thirds of the complex both in size and mass lie beneath AV ~ 1 mag. We find that the probability density function (PDF) of the cloud cannot be described by a single log-normal function. Similar to prior studies, we found a significant excess at high column densities, but a log-normal + power-law tail fit does not work well at low column densities. We show that at low column densities near the peak of the observed PDF, both the amplitude and shape of the PDF are dominated by noise in the extinction measurements making it impractical to derive the intrinsic cloud PDF below AK < 0.15 mag. Above AK ~ 0.15 mag, essentially the molecular component of the cloud, the PDF appears to be best described by a power-law with index -3, but could also described as the tail of a broad and relatively low amplitude, log-normal PDF that peaks at very low column densities. FITS files of the extinction maps are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/565/A18

  11. Chicxulub Impact and K-T Mass Extinction in Mexico and Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Berner, Z.; Stueben, D.

    2007-05-01

    New cores and outcrops from El Penon, NE Mexico, and the Brazos River, Falls County, Texas, reveal the stratigraphic and temporal separation between the Chicxulub impact, the sandstone complex (commonly interpreted as "impact-tsunami") and the K-T mass extinction. In NE Mexico, where deposition occurred in about 500 m water depth, the original Chicxulub impact ejecta was discovered in a 1.8 m thick impact glass spherule layer within undisturbed pelagic marls more than 4 m below the base of the sandstone complex. At Brazos, Texas, where deposition occurred in shallow waters (20-80 m), the original spherule ejecta layer was found in a 3 cm thick clay-altered impact spherule layer within undisturbed late Maastrichtian claystones, about 60 cm below the sandstone complex. In both localities, the base of the sandstone complex contains spherules and clasts from shallow nearshore areas, which were eroded from the original impact spherule layer and transported into deeper waters during the latest Maastrichtian sea level lowstand. The K-T mass extinction and Ir anomaly occurred at a much later time. The Chicxulub impact is dated at 300 ky before the K-T boundary and the sea level lowstand about 100 ky before. These data reveal that the K-T mass extinction was not directly related to either the Chicxulub impact, or the sea level lowstand. The discovery of the original Chicxulub impact ejecta spherule layer in Mexico and Texas permits evaluation of the biotic effects of this large impact upon marine faunas and floras in both deep and shallow water environments at 1000 km and 1700 km from the impact crater, respectively. Quantitative analysis of planktic foraminifera reveals a major surprise: No species extinctions or significant species population changes occurred at the time of the Chicxulub impact. The impact coincides with greenhouse warming associated with Deccan volcanism, but appears to have caused no significant environmental stress even within 1000 km, let alone

  12. A late Devonian impact event and its association with a possible extinction event on Eastern Gondwana

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, K.; Geldsetzer, H. H. J.

    1992-01-01

    Evidence from South China and Western Australia for a 365-Ma impact event in the Lower crepida conodont zone of the Famennian stage of the Late Devonian (about 1.5 Ma after the Frasnian/Famennian extinction event) includes microtektitelike glassy microspherules, geochemical anomalies (including a weak Ir), a probable impact crater (greater than 70 k) at Taihu in South China, and an Ir anomaly in Western Australia. A brachiopod faunal turnover in South China, and the 'strangelove ocean'-like c-delta 13 excursions in both Chinese and Australian sections indicate that at least a regional-scale extinction might have occurred at the time of the impact. A paleoreconstruction shows that South China was very close to and facing Western Australia in the Late Devonian. The carbon isotopic excursions, which occur at the same stratigraphic level in both South China and Western Australia cannot be explained as being coincidental. The c-delta 13 excursions and the brachiopod faunal turnover in South China indicate that there might have been at least a regional (possibly global) extinction in the Lower crepida zone. The impact-derived microspherules and geochemical anomalies (especially the Ir) indicate a Lower crepida zone impact event on eastern Gondwana. The location, type of target rocks, and possibly age of the Taihu Lake crater qualify as the probable site of this Late Devonian impact.

  13. Flood basalt eruptions, comet showers, and mass extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Stothers, Richard B.

    1988-01-01

    A chronology of initiation dates of the major continental flood basalt episodes has been established from compilation of published K-Ar and Ar-Ar ages of basaltic flows and related basic intrusions. The dating is therefore independent of the biostratigraphic and paleomagnetic time scales, and the estimated errors of the inititation dates are approximately + or - 4 pct. There are 11 distinct episodes of continental flood basalts known during the past 250 Myr. The data show that flood basalt episodes are generally relatively brief geologic events, with intermittent eruptions during peak output periods lasting ony 2 to 3 Myr or less. Statistical analyses suggest that these episodes may have occurred quasi-periodically with a mean cycle time of 32 + or - 1 Myr. The initiation dates of the flood basalts are close to the estimated dates of marine mass extinctions and impact-crater clusters. Although a purely internal forcing might be argued for the flood basalt volcanism, quasi-periodic comet impacts may be the trigger for both the flood basalts and the extinctions. Impact cratering models suggest that large-body impactors lead to deep initial cratering, and therefore may cause mantle disturbances and initiate mantle plume activity. The flood basalt episodes commonly mark the initiation or jump of a mantle hotspot, and are often followed by continental rifting and separation. Evidence from dynamical studies of impacts, occurrences of craters and hotspots, and the geochemistry of boundary layers is synthesized to provide a possible model of impact-generated volcanism. Flood basalt eruptions may themselves have severe effects on climate, and possibly on life. Impacts might, as a result, have led to mass extinctions through direct atmospheric disturbances, and/or indirectly through prolonged flood basalt volcanism.

  14. Could a Nearby Supernova Explosion have Caused a Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellis, John; Schramm, David N.

    1995-01-01

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of γ-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth's ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the "KT boundary." The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events.

  15. CO2 and the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Beerling, David

    2002-01-24

    The end of the Triassic period was marked by one of the largest and most enigmatic mass-extinction events in Earth's history and, with few reliable marine geochemical records, terrestrial sediments offer an important means of deciphering environmental changes at this time. Tanner et al. describe an isotopic study of Mesozoic fossil soils which suggests that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (pCO2) across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary was relatively constant (within 250 p.p.m.v.), but this is inconsistent with high-resolution evidence from the stomatal characters of fossil leaves. Here I show that the temporal resolution of the fossil-soil samples may have been inadequate for detecting a transient rise in pCO2. I also show that the fossil-soil data are consistent with a large increase in pCO2 across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary when variations in the stable carbon isotope (denoted as delta13C) in terrestrial plant leaves are taken into account. These factors suggest that the linkage between pCO2, global warming and the end-Triassic mass extinction remains intact. PMID:11807542

  16. Could a nearby supernova explosion have caused a mass extinction?

    SciTech Connect

    Ellis, J.; Schramm, D.N. |

    1995-01-03

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of {gamma}-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth`s ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the {open_quotes}KT boundary.{close_quotes} The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events. 24 refs.

  17. Could a nearby supernova explosion have caused a mass extinction?

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, J; Schramm, D N

    1995-01-01

    We examine the possibility that a nearby supernova explosion could have caused one or more of the mass extinctions identified by paleontologists. We discuss the possible rate of such events in the light of the recent suggested identification of Geminga as a supernova remnant less than 100 parsec (pc) away and the discovery of a millisecond pulsar about 150 pc away and observations of SN 1987A. The fluxes of gamma-radiation and charged cosmic rays on the Earth are estimated, and their effects on the Earth's ozone layer are discussed. A supernova explosion of the order of 10 pc away could be expected as often as every few hundred million years and could destroy the ozone layer for hundreds of years, letting in potentially lethal solar ultraviolet radiation. In addition to effects on land ecology, this could entail mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, with disastrous consequences for marine life as well. A supernova extinction should be distinguishable from a meteorite impact such as the one that presumably killed the dinosaurs at the "KT boundary." The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events. PMID:11607506

  18. Quantifying UV-B flux over the Late Triassic Carnian Pluvial Extinction Event (c. 233-229 Ma).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Charlotte; Fraser, Wesley; Jardine, Phil; Kürschner, Wolfram

    2015-04-01

    The geological record contains numerous episodes of global environmental change associated with pronounced transient perturbations to the global carbon cycle, some of which are closely linked with ocean acidification and mass extinction. Here, we focus on the Late Triassic mass extinction during the Carnian Pluvial Event (CPE) which occurred c. 233-229 million-years-ago (Ma). The CPE extinction remains one of the least studied and most controversial biotic crises due primarily to the lack of well-dated sedimentary successions. The CPE interval features a -4 o δ13C excursion, which is interpreted as a massive atmospheric injection of 13C-depleted carbon from the Wrangellia Flood Basalts. The associated increase in atmospheric pCO2 may then have accelerated the hydrological cycle, resulting in increased weathering and enhanced siliciclastic delivery to shallow carbonate basins. Volcanic activity is known to significantly alter the amount of incoming solar UV-B radiation via dimming processes, the destruction of ozone and increased cloud formation via the addition of cloud condensation nuclei to the atmosphere. To reconstruct variations in UV-B flux we have measured the abundance of phenolic components (UV-B absorbing compounds) contained within the cell wall of Ovalipollis pollen grains across the CPE, from samples taken from the Lunz region (Austria). These phenolic components are part of the defensive system of plants, where the abundance of phenolics increases with elevated UV-B flux. Our preliminary data indicate i) that the highest abundance of phenolics occur in the latter stages of the CPE, ii) the abundance of phenolics are highly variable throughout the CPE, and iii) the abundance of phenolics broadly increase towards the end of the Late Triassic. Here we will discuss the significance of the obtained data in terms of palaeoclimatic variability and the impact of volcanism during the Carnian Pluvial Event.

  19. Anoxia Precedes the end-Triassic Mass Extinction: Evidence from the Kennecott Point Formation, British Columbia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kasprak, A. H.; Sepúlveda, J.; Price-Waldman, R.; Williford, K. H.; Whiteside, J. H.; Summons, R. E.

    2011-12-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (ETE), at 201.4 million years ago, is one of the five largest ecologic disasters of the Phanerozoic eon. Few geologic sections offer the potential to reconstruct environmental and ecological changes at this time in the marine realm with global significance. The Kennecott Point Formation in Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, preserves a thick sequence of calcareous shales and siltstones deposited on late Triassic basaltic rocks interpreted to be an oceanic plateau resting within the Panthalassic basin, the largest ocean basin at the time of the Triassic-Jurassic transition. This section, which spans the late Norian to the mid-Hettangian, is plausibly the most representative of the global ocean system at this time; however, environmental reconstructions have been mostly based on bulk carbon and sulfur isotope records. Here, we present a record of molecular fossils (biomarkers) and indices indicative of ecological and redox changes (i.e., algal steranes and bacterial hopanes, gammacerane index, homohopane index, 2- and 3- methyl hopane indices) from the Kennecott Point Formation to argue for a period of low oxygen conditions associated with increased stratification, ecological changes, and disrupted nutrient cycling directly preceding the end-Triassic mass extinction. We couple these results with biomarkers indicative of terrestrial input and vegetation disturbance (tricyclic diterpanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to clarify the relationship between ocean biogeochemistry and environmental changes in the terrestrial realm. This record provides new evidence for changing marine conditions preceding and associated with the ETE and allows for a more rigorous investigation into the chronology of events hypothesized to be mechanistically linked to this mass extinction, including abrupt global warming, major alterations to marine primary productivity, and terrestrial vegetation die-off.

  20. Rebuilding Biodiversity of Patagonian Marine Molluscs after the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Aberhan, Martin; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2014-01-01

    We analysed field-collected quantitative data of benthic marine molluscs across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary in Patagonia to identify patterns and processes of biodiversity reconstruction after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. We contrast diversity dynamics from nearshore environments with those from offshore environments. In both settings, Early Palaeogene (Danian) assemblages are strongly dominated by surviving lineages, many of which changed their relative abundance from being rare before the extinction event to becoming the new dominant forms. Only a few of the species in the Danian assemblages were newly evolved. In offshore environments, however, two newly evolved Danian bivalve species attained ecological dominance by replacing two ecologically equivalent species that disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous. In both settings, the total number of Danian genera at a locality remained below the total number of late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) genera at that locality. We suggest that biotic interactions, in particular incumbency effects, suppressed post-extinction diversity and prevented the compensation of diversity loss by originating and invading taxa. Contrary to the total number of genera at localities, diversity at the level of individual fossiliferous horizons before and after the boundary is indistinguishable in offshore environments. This indicates an evolutionary rapid rebound to pre-extinction values within less than ca 0.5 million years. In nearshore environments, by contrast, diversity of fossiliferous horizons was reduced in the Danian, and this lowered diversity lasted for the entire studied post-extinction interval. In this heterogeneous environment, low connectivity among populations may have retarded the recolonisation of nearshore habitats by survivors. PMID:25028930

  1. Using Ichthyoliths to Determine the Fish Response to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, E. C.; Norris, R. D.; Hull, P. M.

    2012-12-01

    Ichthyoliths are the small calcium phosphate fossil teeth, scales, and bone shards of fish and sharks. While it is extremely rare to find full body-fossils of fish, ichthyoliths are relatively abundant in oceanic sediments, with 10s to 100s of identifiable ichthyoliths in a few grams of sediment, most in the <100 μm size fraction. Ichthyolith accumulation rates and morphology, alone or in conjunction with more traditional microfossil and geochemical proxies, can be used to study the response of pelagic consumers and ecosystems to major events in Earth's history. As the only available high-resolution, continuous fossil record of vertebrates, ichthyoliths can be extremely valuable in understanding how higher order organisms respond to environmental forcing. Here we use this novel proxy to show that export flux of ichthyoliths to the deep North Pacific was stable across the K-Pg boundary despite major changes in flux of calcareous phytoplankton and foraminifera. Total consumer-level export production in the North Pacific remained at or above Cretaceous levels for at least 4 million years post-extinction. Similar studies across the extinction from the South Pacific and the Atlantic suggest that there is considerable regional geographic variation in the accumulation of ichthyoliths spanning the boundary, with the Pacific small fish seeming to fare better than their Atlantic counterparts in the post-extinction ecosystem. The regional differences in productivity of these post-disaster ecosystems suggest that the mass extinction did not produce a uniformly dead or microbially dominated surface ocean. Rather, despite widespread extinction and upheaval in lower trophic levels, the earliest Paleocene ocean, in some regions of the planet, appears to have had ecosystems capable of supporting levels of fish comparable to or even above those of the Late Cretaceous.

  2. Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota

    PubMed Central

    Darroch, Simon A. F.; Sperling, Erik A.; Boag, Thomas H.; Racicot, Rachel A.; Mason, Sara J.; Morgan, Alex S.; Tweedt, Sarah; Myrow, Paul; Johnston, David T.; Erwin, Douglas H.; Laflamme, Marc

    2015-01-01

    The latest Neoproterozoic extinction of the Ediacara biota has been variously attributed to catastrophic removal by perturbations to global geochemical cycles, ‘biotic replacement’ by Cambrian-type ecosystem engineers, and a taphonomic artefact. We perform the first critical test of the ‘biotic replacement’ hypothesis using combined palaeoecological and geochemical data collected from the youngest Ediacaran strata in southern Namibia. We find that, even after accounting for a variety of potential sampling and taphonomic biases, the Ediacaran assemblage preserved at Farm Swartpunt has significantly lower genus richness than older assemblages. Geochemical and sedimentological analyses confirm an oxygenated and non-restricted palaeoenvironment for fossil-bearing sediments, thus suggesting that oxygen stress and/or hypersalinity are unlikely to be responsible for the low diversity of communities preserved at Swartpunt. These combined analyses suggest depauperate communities characterized the latest Ediacaran and provide the first quantitative support for the biotic replacement model for the end of the Ediacara biota. Although more sites (especially those recording different palaeoenvironments) are undoubtedly needed, this study provides the first quantitative palaeoecological evidence to suggest that evolutionary innovation, ecosystem engineering and biological interactions may have ultimately caused the first mass extinction of complex life. PMID:26336166

  3. Atmospheric carbon injection linked to end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ruhl, Micha; Bonis, Nina R; Reichart, Gert-Jan; Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S; Kürschner, Wolfram M

    2011-07-22

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (~201.4 million years ago), marked by terrestrial ecosystem turnover and up to ~50% loss in marine biodiversity, has been attributed to intensified volcanic activity during the break-up of Pangaea. Here, we present compound-specific carbon-isotope data of long-chain n-alkanes derived from waxes of land plants, showing a ~8.5 per mil negative excursion, coincident with the extinction interval. These data indicate strong carbon-13 depletion of the end-Triassic atmosphere, within only 10,000 to 20,000 years. The magnitude and rate of this carbon-cycle disruption can be explained by the injection of at least ~12 × 10(3) gigatons of isotopically depleted carbon as methane into the atmosphere. Concurrent vegetation changes reflect strong warming and an enhanced hydrological cycle. Hence, end-Triassic events are robustly linked to methane-derived massive carbon release and associated climate change. PMID:21778394

  4. Periodic mass extinctions and the Planet X model reconsidered

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitmire, Daniel P.

    2016-01-01

    The 27 Myr period in the fossil extinction record has been confirmed in modern data bases dating back 500 Myr, which is twice the time interval of the original analysis from 30 years ago. The surprising regularity of this period has been used to reject the Nemesis model. A second model based on the Sun's vertical Galactic oscillations has been challenged on the basis of an inconsistency in period and phasing. The third astronomical model originally proposed to explain the periodicity is the Planet X model in which the period is associated with the perihelion precession of the inclined orbit of a trans-Neptunian planet. Recently, and unrelated to mass extinctions, a trans-Neptunian super-Earth planet has been proposed to explain the observation that the inner Oort cloud objects Sedna and 2012VP113 have perihelia that lie near the ecliptic plane. In this Letter, we reconsider the Planet X model in light of the confluence of the modern palaeontological and outer Solar system dynamical evidence.

  5. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous−Paleogene mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Norris, Richard D.

    2015-01-01

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous−Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern “age of fishes.” PMID:26124114

  6. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sibert, Elizabeth C; Norris, Richard D

    2015-07-14

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern "age of fishes." PMID:26124114

  7. New Age of Fishes initiated by the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibert, Elizabeth C.; Norris, Richard D.

    2015-07-01

    Ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) comprise nearly half of all modern vertebrate diversity, and are an ecologically and numerically dominant megafauna in most aquatic environments. Crown teleost fishes diversified relatively recently, during the Late Cretaceous and early Paleogene, although the exact timing and cause of their radiation and rise to ecological dominance is poorly constrained. Here we use microfossil teeth and shark dermal scales (ichthyoliths) preserved in deep-sea sediments to study the changes in the pelagic fish community in the latest Cretaceous and early Paleogene. We find that the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) extinction event marked a profound change in the structure of ichthyolith communities around the globe: Whereas shark denticles outnumber ray-finned fish teeth in Cretaceous deep-sea sediments around the world, there is a dramatic increase in the proportion of ray-finned fish teeth to shark denticles in the Paleocene. There is also an increase in size and numerical abundance of ray-finned fish teeth at the boundary. These changes are sustained through at least the first 24 million years of the Cenozoic. This new fish community structure began at the K/Pg mass extinction, suggesting the extinction event played an important role in initiating the modern "age of fishes."

  8. Mass extinctions and cosmic collisions - A lunar test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Horz, F.

    1985-01-01

    The possibility has been considered that some or all major mass extinctions in the geologic record of earth are caused by the collision of massive, cosmic objects. Thus, it has been proposed that the unusual concentration of siderophile elements in strata at which the boundary between the Cretaceous (K) and Tertiary (T) geologic time periods has been placed must represent the remnants of a gigantic meteorite. However, a large 65-m.y.-old crater which could have been the result of the impact of this meteorite is not presently known on earth. One approach to evaluate the merits of the collisional hypothesis considered is based on the study of the probability of collision between a cosmic object of a suitable size and the earth. As moon and earth were subject to the same bombardment history and the preservation of craters on the moon is much better than on earth, a consideration of the lunar cratering record may provide crucial information.

  9. Meteoritic trace element toxification and the terminal Mesozoic mass extinction

    SciTech Connect

    Dickson, S.M.; Erickson, D.J. III

    1985-01-01

    Calculations of trace element fluxes to the earth associated with 5 and 10 kilometer diameter Cl chondrites and iron meteorites are presented. The data indicate that the masses of certain trace elements contained in the bolide, such as Fe, Co, Ni, Cr, Pb, and Cu, are as large as or larger than the world ocean burden. The authors believe that this pulse of trace elements was of sufficient magnitude to perturb the biogeochemical cycles operative 65 million years ago, a probably time of meteorite impact. Geochemical anomalies in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sediments suggest that elevated concentrations of trace elements may have persisted for thousands of years in the ocean. Through direct exposure and bioaccumulation, many trophic levels of the global food chain, including that of the dinosaurs, would have been adversely affected by these meteoritic trace elements. The trace element toxification hypothesis may account for the selective extinction of both marine and terrestrial species in the enigmatic terminal Mesozoic event.

  10. Mass extinctions and cosmic collisions - A lunar test

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horz, F.

    The possibility has been considered that some or all major mass extinctions in the geologic record of earth are caused by the collision of massive, cosmic objects. Thus, it has been proposed that the unusual concentration of siderophile elements in strata at which the boundary between the Cretaceous (K) and Tertiary (T) geologic time periods has been placed must represent the remnants of a gigantic meteorite. However, a large 65-m.y.-old crater which could have been the result of the impact of this meteorite is not presently known on earth. One approach to evaluate the merits of the collisional hypothesis considered is based on the study of the probability of collision between a cosmic object of a suitable size and the earth. As moon and earth were subject to the same bombardment history and the preservation of craters on the moon is much better than on earth, a consideration of the lunar cratering record may provide crucial information.

  11. Stress-enhanced fear learning in rats is resistant to the effects of immediate massed extinction

    PubMed Central

    Long, Virginia A.; Fanselow, Michael S.

    2014-01-01

    Enhanced fear learning occurs subsequent to traumatic or stressful events and is a persistent challenge to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Facilitation of learning produced by prior stress can elicit an exaggerated fear response to a minimally aversive event or stimulus. Stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL) is a rat model of PTSD; rats previously exposed to the SEFL 15 electrical shocks procedure exhibit several behavioral responses similar to those seen in patients with PTSD. However, past reports found that SEFL is not mitigated by extinction (a model of exposure therapy) when the spaced extinction began 24 h after stress. Recent studies found that extinction from 10 min to 1 h subsequent to fear conditioning “erased” learning, whereas later extinction, occurring from 24 to 72 h after conditioning did not. Other studies indicate that massed extinction is more effective than spaced procedures. Therefore, we examined the time-dependent nature of extinction on the stress-induced enhancement of fear learning using a massed trial’s procedure. Experimental rats received 15 foot shocks and were given either no extinction or massed extinction 10 min or 72 h later. Our present data indicate that SEFL, following traumatic stress, is resistant to immediate massed extinction. Experimental rats showed exaggerated new fear learning regardless of when extinction training occurred. Thus, post-traumatic reactivity such as SEFL does not seem responsive to extinction treatments. PMID:22176467

  12. The Permian-Triassic boundary & mass extinction in China

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Metcalfe, I.; Nicoll, R.S.; Mundil, R.; Foster, C.; Glen, J.; Lyons, J.; Xiaofeng, W.; Cheng-Yuan, W.; Renne, P.R.; Black, L.; Xun, Q.; Xiaodong, M.

    2001-01-01

    The first appearance of Hindeodus parvus (Kozur & Pjatakova) at the Permian-Triassic (P-T) GSSP level (base of Bed 27c) at Meishan is here confirmed. Hindeodus changxingensis Wang occurs from Beds 26 to 29 at Meishan and appears to be restricted to the narrow boundary interval immediately above the main mass extinction level in Bed 25. It is suggested that this species is therefore a valuable P-T boundary interval index taxon. Our collections from the Shangsi section confirm that the first occurrence of Hindeodus parvus in that section is about 5 in above the highest level from which a typical Permian fauna is recovered. This may suggest that that some section may be missing at Meishan. The age of the currently defined Permian-Triassic Boundary is estimated by our own studies and a reassessment of previous worker's data at c. 253 Ma, slightly older than our IDTIMS 206Pb/238U age of 252.5 ??0.3 Ma for Bed 28, just 8 cm above the GSSP boundary (Mundil et al., 2001). The age of the main mass extinction, at the base of Bed 25 at Meishan, is estimated at slightly older than 254 Ma based on an age of >254 Ma for the Bed 25 ash. Regardless of the absolute age of the boundary, it is evident that the claimed <165,000 y short duration for the negative carbon isotope excursion at the P-T boundary (Bowring et al., 1998) cannot be confirmed. Purportedly extraterrestrial fullerenes at the boundary (Hecker et al., 2001) have equivocal significance due to their chronostratigraphic non-uniqueness and their occurrence in a volcanic ash.

  13. Bivalve network reveals latitudinal selectivity gradient at the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Vilhena, Daril A.; Harris, Elisha B.; Bergstrom, Carl T.; Maliska, Max E.; Ward, Peter D.; Sidor, Christian A.; Strömberg, Caroline A. E.; Wilson, Gregory P.

    2013-01-01

    Biogeographic patterns of survival help constrain the causal factors responsible for mass extinction. To test whether biogeography influenced end-Cretaceous (K-Pg) extinction patterns, we used a network approach to delimit biogeographic units (BUs) above the species level in a global Maastrichtian database of 329 bivalve genera. Geographic range is thought to buffer taxa from extinction, but the number of BUs a taxon occurred in superseded geographic range as an extinction predictor. Geographically, we found a latitudinal selectivity gradient for geographic range in the K-Pg, such that higher latitude BUs had lower extinction than expected given the geographic ranges of the genera, implying that (i) high latitude BUs were more resistant to extinction, (ii) the intensity of the K-Pg kill mechanism declined with distance from the tropics, or (iii) both. Our results highlight the importance of macroecological structure in constraining causal mechanisms of extinction and estimating extinction risk of taxa.

  14. Mass extinction of lizards and snakes at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2012-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary is marked by a major mass extinction, yet this event is thought to have had little effect on the diversity of lizards and snakes (Squamata). A revision of fossil squamates from the Maastrichtian and Paleocene of North America shows that lizards and snakes suffered a devastating mass extinction coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Species-level extinction was 83%, and the K-Pg event resulted in the elimination of many lizard groups and a dramatic decrease in morphological disparity. Survival was associated with small body size and perhaps large geographic range. The recovery was prolonged; diversity did not approach Cretaceous levels until 10 My after the extinction, and resulted in a dramatic change in faunal composition. The squamate fossil record shows that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was far more severe than previously believed, and underscores the role played by mass extinctions in driving diversification.

  15. Mass extinction of lizards and snakes at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

    PubMed Central

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S.; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2012-01-01

    The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary is marked by a major mass extinction, yet this event is thought to have had little effect on the diversity of lizards and snakes (Squamata). A revision of fossil squamates from the Maastrichtian and Paleocene of North America shows that lizards and snakes suffered a devastating mass extinction coinciding with the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Species-level extinction was 83%, and the K-Pg event resulted in the elimination of many lizard groups and a dramatic decrease in morphological disparity. Survival was associated with small body size and perhaps large geographic range. The recovery was prolonged; diversity did not approach Cretaceous levels until 10 My after the extinction, and resulted in a dramatic change in faunal composition. The squamate fossil record shows that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction was far more severe than previously believed, and underscores the role played by mass extinctions in driving diversification. PMID:23236177

  16. Relationship between mass extinction and iridium across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, K.G.; Sherrell, Robert M.; Browning, J.V.; Field, M.P.; Gallagher, W.; Olsson, R.K.; Sugarman, P.J.; Tuorto, S.; Wahyudi, H.

    2010-01-01

    We directly link iridium (Ir) anomalies in New Jersey to the mass extinction of marine plankton marking the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. We confirm previous reports of an Ir anomaly 20 cm below the extinction of Cretaceous macrofauna (the "Pinna" bed) with new results from a muddy sand section from Tighe Park, Freehold, New Jersey (United States), but we also show that Ir anomalies correlate with marine mass extinctions at three other clay-rich New Jersey sections. Thus, we attribute the anomaly at Freehold to the downward movement of Ir and reaffirm the link between impact and mass extinction. ?? 2010 Geological Society of America.

  17. Mass extinctions, galactic orbits in the solar neighborhood and the Sun: a connection?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porto de Mello, G. F.; Dias, W. S.; Lépine, J. R. D.; Lorenzo-Oliveira, D.; Siqueira, R. K.

    2014-10-01

    The orbits of the stars in the disk of the Galaxy, and their passages through the Galactic spiral arms, are a rarely mentioned factor of biosphere stability which might be important for long-term planetary climate evolution, with a possible bearing on mass extinctions. The Sun lies very near the co-rotation radius, where stars revolve around the Galaxy in the same period as the density wave perturbations of the spiral arms. Conventional wisdom generally considers that this status makes for few passages through the spiral arms. Controversy still surrounds whether time spent inside or around spiral arms is dangerous to biospheres and conducive to mass extinctions. Possible threats include giant molecular clouds disturbing the Oort comet cloud and provoking heavy bombardment; a higher exposure to cosmic rays near star forming regions triggering increased cloudiness in Earth's atmosphere and ice ages; and the destruction of Earth's ozone layer posed by supernova explosions. We present detailed calculations of the history of spiral arm passages for all 212 solar-type stars nearer than 20 parsecs, including the total time spent inside the spiral arms in the last 500 Myr, when the spiral arm position can be traced with good accuracy. We found that there is a large diversity of stellar orbits in the solar neighborhood, and the time fraction spent inside spiral arms can vary from a few percent to nearly half the time. The Sun, despite its proximity to the galactic co-rotation radius, has exceptionally low eccentricity and a low vertical velocity component, and therefore spends 30% of its lifetime crossing the spiral arms, more than most nearby stars. We discuss the possible implications of this fact to the long-term habitability of the Earth, and possible correlations of the Sun's passage through the spiral arms with the five great mass extinctions of the Earth's biosphere from the Late Ordovician to the Cretaceous-Tertiary.

  18. Timing and dynamics of Late Pleistocene mammal extinctions in southwestern Australia.

    PubMed

    Prideaux, Gavin J; Gully, Grant A; Couzens, Aidan M C; Ayliffe, Linda K; Jankowski, Nathan R; Jacobs, Zenobia; Roberts, Richard G; Hellstrom, John C; Gagan, Michael K; Hatcher, Lindsay M

    2010-12-21

    Explaining the Late Pleistocene demise of many of the world's larger terrestrial vertebrates is arguably the most enduring and debated topic in Quaternary science. Australia lost >90% of its larger species by around 40 thousand years (ka) ago, but the relative importance of human impacts and increased aridity remains unclear. Resolving the debate has been hampered by a lack of sites spanning the last glacial cycle. Here we report on an exceptional faunal succession from Tight Entrance Cave, southwestern Australia, which shows persistence of a diverse mammal community for at least 100 ka leading up to the earliest regional evidence of humans at 49 ka. Within 10 millennia, all larger mammals except the gray kangaroo and thylacine are lost from the regional record. Stable-isotope, charcoal, and small-mammal records reveal evidence of environmental change from 70 ka, but the extinctions occurred well in advance of the most extreme climatic phase. We conclude that the arrival of humans was probably decisive in the southwestern Australian extinctions, but that changes in climate and fire activity may have played facilitating roles. One-factor explanations for the Pleistocene extinctions in Australia are likely oversimplistic. PMID:21127262

  19. Timing and dynamics of Late Pleistocene mammal extinctions in southwestern Australia

    PubMed Central

    Prideaux, Gavin J.; Gully, Grant A.; Couzens, Aidan M. C.; Ayliffe, Linda K.; Jankowski, Nathan R.; Jacobs, Zenobia; Roberts, Richard G.; Hellstrom, John C.; Gagan, Michael K.; Hatcher, Lindsay M.

    2010-01-01

    Explaining the Late Pleistocene demise of many of the world's larger terrestrial vertebrates is arguably the most enduring and debated topic in Quaternary science. Australia lost >90% of its larger species by around 40 thousand years (ka) ago, but the relative importance of human impacts and increased aridity remains unclear. Resolving the debate has been hampered by a lack of sites spanning the last glacial cycle. Here we report on an exceptional faunal succession from Tight Entrance Cave, southwestern Australia, which shows persistence of a diverse mammal community for at least 100 ka leading up to the earliest regional evidence of humans at 49 ka. Within 10 millennia, all larger mammals except the gray kangaroo and thylacine are lost from the regional record. Stable-isotope, charcoal, and small-mammal records reveal evidence of environmental change from 70 ka, but the extinctions occurred well in advance of the most extreme climatic phase. We conclude that the arrival of humans was probably decisive in the southwestern Australian extinctions, but that changes in climate and fire activity may have played facilitating roles. One-factor explanations for the Pleistocene extinctions in Australia are likely oversimplistic. PMID:21127262

  20. THE OBSERVED RELATION BETWEEN STELLAR MASS, DUST EXTINCTION, AND STAR FORMATION RATE IN LOCAL GALAXIES

    SciTech Connect

    Zahid, H. J.; Kewley, L. J.; Kudritzki, R. P.; Yates, R. M.

    2013-02-15

    In this study, we investigate the relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and star formation rate (SFR) using {approx}150,000 star-forming galaxies from SDSS DR7. We show that the relation between dust extinction and SFR changes with stellar mass. For galaxies at the same stellar mass, dust extinction is anti-correlated with the SFR at stellar masses <10{sup 10} M {sub Sun }. There is a sharp transition in the relation at a stellar mass of 10{sup 10} M {sub Sun }. At larger stellar masses, dust extinction is positively correlated with the SFR for galaxies at the same stellar mass. The observed relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and SFR presented in this study helps to confirm similar trends observed in the relation between stellar mass, metallicity, and SFR. The relation reported in this study provides important new constraints on the physical processes governing the chemical evolution of galaxies. The correlation between SFR and dust extinction for galaxies with stellar masses >10{sup 10} M {sub Sun} is shown to extend to the population of quiescent galaxies suggesting that the physical processes responsible for the observed relation between stellar mass, dust extinction, and SFR may be related to the processes leading to the shutdown of star formation in galaxies.

  1. Bioessential element-depleted ocean following the euxinic maximum of the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahashi, Satoshi; Yamasaki, Shin-ichi; Ogawa, Yasumasa; Kimura, Kazuhiko; Kaiho, Kunio; Yoshida, Takeyoshi; Tsuchiya, Noriyoshi

    2014-05-01

    We describe variations in trace element compositions that occurred on the deep seafloor of palaeo-superocean Panthalassa during the end-Permian mass extinction based on samples of sedimentary rock from one of the most continuous Permian-Triassic boundary sections of the pelagic deep sea exposed in north-eastern Japan. Our measurements revealed low manganese (Mn) enrichment factor (normalised by the composition of the average upper continental crust) and high cerium anomaly values throughout the section, suggesting that a reducing condition already existed in the depositional environment in the Changhsingian (Late Permian). Other redox-sensitive trace-element (vanadium [V], chromium [Cr], molybdenum [Mo], and uranium [U]) enrichment factors provide a detailed redox history ranging from the upper Permian to the end of the Permian. A single V increase (representing the first reduction state of a two-step V reduction process) detected in uppermost Changhsingian chert beds suggests development into a mildly reducing deep-sea condition less than 1 million years before the end-Permian mass extinction. Subsequently, a more reducing condition, inferred from increases in Cr, V, and Mo, developed in overlying Changhsingian grey siliceous claystone beds. The most reducing sulphidic condition is recognised by the highest peaks of Mo and V (second reduction state) in the uppermost siliceous claystone and overlying lowermost black claystone beds, in accordance with the end-Permian mass extinction event. This significant increase in Mo in the upper Changhsingian led to a high Mo/U ratio, much larger than that of modern sulphidic ocean regions. This trend suggests that sulphidic water conditions developed both at the sediment-water interface and in the water column. Above the end-Permian mass extinction horizon, Mo, V and Cr decrease significantly. On this trend, we provide an interpretation of drawdown of these elements in seawater after the massive element precipitation event

  2. Elemental abundance anomalies in the late Cenomanian extinction interval: a search for the source(s)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Orth, C.J.; Attrep, M., Jr.; Quintana, L.R.; Elder, W.P.; Kauffman, E.G.; Diner, R.; Villamil, T.

    1993-01-01

    Elemental abundances have been measured by neutron activation methods across the Cenomanian-Turonian (late Cretaceous) extinction interval in samples collected from sixteen sites in the Western Interior Basin of North America and from twelve widely separated locations around the globe, including six ODP/DSDP sites. In most Western Interior Basin sites, in Colombia, and in western Europe (weaker), two closely spaced elemental abundance peaks occur in the upper Cenomanian (??? 92 m.y.), spanning the ammonite zones of Sciponoceras gracile through Neocardioceras juddii. Elements with anomalously high concentrations include Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Ir, Pt and Au. The lower peak coincides with the disappearance (extinction) of the foraminifer Rotalipora cushmani. In North American sections R. greenhornensis also disappears at or just below this horizon, but in Europe it disappears considerably earlier than R. cushmani. A series of molluscan extinction and speciation or migration events also begins near the stratigraphic level of the lower elemental abundance peak. The well-documented positive ?? 13C excursion begins just before the extinctions and the elemental anomalies, and continues into the lower Turonian, well above the upper anomaly. This carbon isotope excursion has been observed in East European sections where we find little or no evidence of the elemental anomalies, suggesting that the two phenomena may not be tightly coupled. Elemental abundance ratios in the anomalies closely resemble those of Mid-Atlantic Ridge basalt or Hawaiian lava (tholeiitic), but not those of C1 chondrite, black shale, average crustal rocks, or lamproite and kimberlite of roughly similar age in southeastern Kansas. The excess Ir and other siderophiles hint at possible large-body impact(s) for the source. However, we have not located microspherules (other than biogenic calcispheres) or shocked mineral grains in any of our samples. Furthermore, Sc, Ti, V and Mn are not enriched in

  3. Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Barnosky, Anthony D.; García, Andrés; Pringle, Robert M.; Palmer, Todd M.

    2015-01-01

    The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing. PMID:26601195

  4. The global vegetation pattern across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction interval: A template for other extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vajda, Vivi; Bercovici, Antoine

    2014-11-01

    Changes in pollen and spore assemblages across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary elucidate the vegetation response to a global environmental crisis triggered by an asteroid impact in Mexico 66 Ma. The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary clay, associated with the Chicxulub asteroid impact event, constitutes a unique, global marker bed enabling comparison of the world-wide palynological signal spanning the mass extinction event. The data from both hemispheres are consistent, revealing diverse latest Cretaceous assemblages of pollen and spores that were affected by a major diversity loss as a consequence of the K-Pg event. Here we combine new results with past studies to provide an integrated global perspective of the terrestrial vegetation record across the K-Pg boundary. We further apply the K-Pg event as a template to asses the causal mechanism behind other major events in Earths history. The end-Permian, end-Triassic, and the K-Pg mass-extinctions were responses to different causal processes that resulted in essentially similar succession of decline and recovery phases, although expressed at different temporal scales. The events share a characteristic pattern of a bloom of opportunistic "crisis" tax followed by a pulse in pioneer communities, and finally a recovery in diversity including evolution of new taxa. Based on their similar extinction and recovery patterns and the fact that the Last and First Appearance Datums associated with the extinctions are separated in time, we recommend using the K-Pg event as a model and to use relative abundance data for the stratigraphic definition of mass-extinction events and the placement of associated chronostratigraphic boundaries.

  5. Dynamic anoxic ferruginous conditions during the end-Permian mass extinction and recovery.

    PubMed

    Clarkson, M O; Wood, R A; Poulton, S W; Richoz, S; Newton, R J; Kasemann, S A; Bowyer, F; Krystyn, L

    2016-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, ∼252 million years ago, is notable for a complex recovery period of ∼5 Myr. Widespread euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) oceanic conditions have been proposed as both extinction mechanism and explanation for the protracted recovery period, yet the vertical distribution of anoxia in the water column and its temporal dynamics through this time period are poorly constrained. Here we utilize Fe-S-C systematics integrated with palaeontological observations to reconstruct a complete ocean redox history for the Late Permian to Early Triassic, using multiple sections across a shelf-to-basin transect on the Arabian Margin (Neo-Tethyan Ocean). In contrast to elsewhere, we show that anoxic non-sulfidic (ferruginous), rather than euxinic, conditions were prevalent in the Neo-Tethys. The Arabian Margin record demonstrates the repeated expansion of ferruginous conditions with the distal slope being the focus of anoxia at these times, as well as short-lived episodes of oxia that supported diverse biota. PMID:27433855

  6. Dynamic anoxic ferruginous conditions during the end-Permian mass extinction and recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clarkson, M. O.; Wood, R. A.; Poulton, S. W.; Richoz, S.; Newton, R. J.; Kasemann, S. A.; Bowyer, F.; Krystyn, L.

    2016-07-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, ~252 million years ago, is notable for a complex recovery period of ~5 Myr. Widespread euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) oceanic conditions have been proposed as both extinction mechanism and explanation for the protracted recovery period, yet the vertical distribution of anoxia in the water column and its temporal dynamics through this time period are poorly constrained. Here we utilize Fe-S-C systematics integrated with palaeontological observations to reconstruct a complete ocean redox history for the Late Permian to Early Triassic, using multiple sections across a shelf-to-basin transect on the Arabian Margin (Neo-Tethyan Ocean). In contrast to elsewhere, we show that anoxic non-sulfidic (ferruginous), rather than euxinic, conditions were prevalent in the Neo-Tethys. The Arabian Margin record demonstrates the repeated expansion of ferruginous conditions with the distal slope being the focus of anoxia at these times, as well as short-lived episodes of oxia that supported diverse biota.

  7. Dynamic anoxic ferruginous conditions during the end-Permian mass extinction and recovery

    PubMed Central

    Clarkson, M. O.; Wood, R. A.; Poulton, S. W.; Richoz, S.; Newton, R. J.; Kasemann, S. A.; Bowyer, F.; Krystyn, L.

    2016-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, ∼252 million years ago, is notable for a complex recovery period of ∼5 Myr. Widespread euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) oceanic conditions have been proposed as both extinction mechanism and explanation for the protracted recovery period, yet the vertical distribution of anoxia in the water column and its temporal dynamics through this time period are poorly constrained. Here we utilize Fe–S–C systematics integrated with palaeontological observations to reconstruct a complete ocean redox history for the Late Permian to Early Triassic, using multiple sections across a shelf-to-basin transect on the Arabian Margin (Neo-Tethyan Ocean). In contrast to elsewhere, we show that anoxic non-sulfidic (ferruginous), rather than euxinic, conditions were prevalent in the Neo-Tethys. The Arabian Margin record demonstrates the repeated expansion of ferruginous conditions with the distal slope being the focus of anoxia at these times, as well as short-lived episodes of oxia that supported diverse biota. PMID:27433855

  8. Multiple microtektite horizons in upper Eocene marine sediments: No evidence for mass extinctions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keller, G.; D'Hondt, S.; Vallier, T.L.

    1983-01-01

    Microtektites have been recovered from three horizons in eight middle Eocene to middle Oligocene marine sediment sequences. Five of these occurrences are coeval and of latest Eocene age (37.5 to 38.0 million years ago); three are coeval and of early late Eocene age (38.5 to 39.5 million years ago); and three are of middle Oligocene age (31 to 32 million years ago). In addition, rare probable microtektites have been found in sediments with ages of about 36.0 to 36.5 million years. The microtektite horizon at 37.5 to 38.0 million years can be correlated with the North American tektite-strewn field, which has a fission track age (minimum) of 34 to 35 million years and a paleomagnetic age of 37.5 to 38.0 million years. There is no evidence for mass faunal extinctions at any of the microtektite horizons. Many of the distinct faunal changes that occurred in the middle Eocene to middle Oligocene can be related to the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet and the associated cooling phenomena and intensification of bottom currents that led to large-scale dissolution of calcium carbonate and erosion, which created areally extensive hiatuses in the deep-sea sediment records. The occurrence of microtektite horizons of several ages and the lack of evidence for faunal extinctions suggest that the effects of extraterrestrial bolide impacts may be unimportant in the biologic realm during middle Eocene to middle Oligocene time.

  9. The Chicxulub asteroid impact and mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

    PubMed

    Schulte, Peter; Alegret, Laia; Arenillas, Ignacio; Arz, José A; Barton, Penny J; Bown, Paul R; Bralower, Timothy J; Christeson, Gail L; Claeys, Philippe; Cockell, Charles S; Collins, Gareth S; Deutsch, Alexander; Goldin, Tamara J; Goto, Kazuhisa; Grajales-Nishimura, José M; Grieve, Richard A F; Gulick, Sean P S; Johnson, Kirk R; Kiessling, Wolfgang; Koeberl, Christian; Kring, David A; MacLeod, Kenneth G; Matsui, Takafumi; Melosh, Jay; Montanari, Alessandro; Morgan, Joanna V; Neal, Clive R; Nichols, Douglas J; Norris, Richard D; Pierazzo, Elisabetta; Ravizza, Greg; Rebolledo-Vieyra, Mario; Reimold, Wolf Uwe; Robin, Eric; Salge, Tobias; Speijer, Robert P; Sweet, Arthur R; Urrutia-Fucugauchi, Jaime; Vajda, Vivi; Whalen, Michael T; Willumsen, Pi S

    2010-03-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary approximately 65.5 million years ago marks one of the three largest mass extinctions in the past 500 million years. The extinction event coincided with a large asteroid impact at Chicxulub, Mexico, and occurred within the time of Deccan flood basalt volcanism in India. Here, we synthesize records of the global stratigraphy across this boundary to assess the proposed causes of the mass extinction. Notably, a single ejecta-rich deposit compositionally linked to the Chicxulub impact is globally distributed at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. The temporal match between the ejecta layer and the onset of the extinctions and the agreement of ecological patterns in the fossil record with modeled environmental perturbations (for example, darkness and cooling) lead us to conclude that the Chicxulub impact triggered the mass extinction. PMID:20203042

  10. Evidence from ammonoids and conodonts for multiple Early Triassic mass extinctions

    PubMed Central

    Stanley, Steven M.

    2009-01-01

    Ammonoids and conodonts, being characterized by exceptionally high background rates of origination and extinction, were vulnerable to global environmental crises, which characteristically intensified background rates of extinction. Thus, it is not surprising that these taxa suffered conspicuous mass extinctions at the times of three negative Early Triassic global carbon isotopic excursions that resembled those associated with the two preceding Permian mass extinctions. In keeping with their high rates of origination, both the ammonoids and conodonts rediversified dramatically between the Early Triassic crises. Other marine taxa, characterized by much lower intrinsic rates of origination, were held at low levels of diversity by the Early Triassic crises; because global mass extinctions affect all marine life, these taxa must have experienced relatively modest expansions and contractions that have yet to be discovered, because they do not stand out in the fossil record and because the stratigraphic ranges of these taxa, being of little value for temporal correlation, have not been thoroughly studied. PMID:19721005

  11. Could Ocean Acidification Have Caused the End-Permian Mass Extinction? - An Earth System Model Evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cui, Y.; Kump, L. R.; Ridgwell, A.

    2013-12-01

    The end-Permian is associated with a 3-5‰ carbon isotope excursion in the ocean-atmosphere system within 20 kyr, most likely explained by a rapid and large amount of greenhouse gas emission. This has led to the hypothesis that it was ocean acidification that was the primary driver for the end-Permian marine mass extinction event. However, the total carbon emissions and degree of ocean acidification associated with the carbon isotope excursion are currently poorly constrained. To address this, we conduct a series of experiments varying initial and boundary conditions using an Earth system model (GENIE: http://cgenie.seao2.org/). We then invert the model by forcing the atmosphere δ13C to track our prescribed carbon isotopes on a reliable time scale derived from the recently published Meishan section in South China at each time step. The carbon isotope records are statistically treated to remove the noise that could result in unrealistic fluctuations in the derivatives of δ13C. The models are run for ~100 kyr from the initial sharp drop in δ13C (~60 kyr prior to the onset of the extinction event) to its initial recovery phase (~30 kyr after the onset of the extinction event). We test four isotopically distinctive sources, including mantle volcanic source (-9‰), organic matter (-25‰), thermogenic methane (-40‰) and biogenic methane (-60‰) and derive the corresponding carbon emissions consistent with the observed isotopic excursion for each. We also test the importance of the lack of pelagic carbonate production during the late Paleozoic and run the model configured both as a 'Neritan' (shallow carbonate production only) and 'Cretan' (both shallow benthic and open ocean pelagic) ocean scenarios.

  12. Cougars’ key to survival through the Late Pleistocene extinction: insights from dental microwear texture analysis

    PubMed Central

    DeSantis, Larisa R. G.; Haupt, Ryan J.

    2014-01-01

    Cougars (Puma concolor) are one of only two large cats in North America to have survived the Late Pleistocene extinction (LPE), yet the specific key(s) to their relative success remains unknown. Here, we compare the dental microwear textures of Pleistocene cougars with sympatric felids from the La Brea Tar Pits in southern California that went extinct at the LPE (Panthera atrox and Smilodon fatalis), to clarify potential dietary factors that led to the cougar's persistence through the LPE. We further assess whether the physical properties of food consumed have changed over time when compared with modern cougars in southern California. Using dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA), which quantifies surface features in three dimensions, we find that modern and Pleistocene cougars are not significantly different from modern African lions in any DMTA attributes, suggesting moderate durophagy (i.e. bone processing). Pleistocene cougars from La Brea have significantly greater complexity and textural fill volume than Panthera atrox (inferred to have primarily consumed flesh from fresh kills) and significantly greater variance in complexity values than S. fatalis. Ultimately, these results suggest that cougars already used or adopted a more generalized dietary strategy during the Pleistocene that may have been key to their subsequent success. PMID:24759373

  13. Cougars' key to survival through the Late Pleistocene extinction: insights from dental microwear texture analysis.

    PubMed

    Desantis, Larisa R G; Haupt, Ryan J

    2014-01-01

    Cougars (Puma concolor) are one of only two large cats in North America to have survived the Late Pleistocene extinction (LPE), yet the specific key(s) to their relative success remains unknown. Here, we compare the dental microwear textures of Pleistocene cougars with sympatric felids from the La Brea Tar Pits in southern California that went extinct at the LPE (Panthera atrox and Smilodon fatalis), to clarify potential dietary factors that led to the cougar's persistence through the LPE. We further assess whether the physical properties of food consumed have changed over time when compared with modern cougars in southern California. Using dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA), which quantifies surface features in three dimensions, we find that modern and Pleistocene cougars are not significantly different from modern African lions in any DMTA attributes, suggesting moderate durophagy (i.e. bone processing). Pleistocene cougars from La Brea have significantly greater complexity and textural fill volume than Panthera atrox (inferred to have primarily consumed flesh from fresh kills) and significantly greater variance in complexity values than S. fatalis. Ultimately, these results suggest that cougars already used or adopted a more generalized dietary strategy during the Pleistocene that may have been key to their subsequent success. PMID:24759373

  14. Elemental abundance anomalies in the late Cenomanian extinction interval - A search for the source(s)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orth, Charles J.; Attrep, Moses, Jr.; Quintana, Leonard R.; Elder, William P.; Kauffman, Erle G.; Diner, Richard; Villamil, Tomas

    1993-01-01

    Measurements of elemental abundances by neutron activation methods across the Cenomanian-Turonian extinction interval in samples collected from 16 sites in the Western Interior Basin of North America from 12 widely separated locations around the globe, including six ODP/DSDP sites, are reported. In most Western Interior Basin sites, in Colombia, and in Western Europe, two closely spaced elemental abundance peaks occur in the upper Cenomanian (about 92 m.y.), spanning the ammonite zones of Sciponoceras gracile through Neocardioceras juddii. Elements with anomalously high concentrations include Sc, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Ir, Pt, and Au. The lower peak coincides with the disappearance (extinction) of the foraminifer Rotalipora cushmani. In North American sections R. greenhornensis also disappears at or just below this horizon, but in Europe it disappears considerably earlier than R. cushmani. Although the weak geochemical signal from comet impact(s) could be masked by the strong terrestrial-like overprint, these anomalies more likely resulted in the large late Cenomanian through early Turonian eustatic rise and deep-water opening of the South Atlantic.

  15. Can Volcanic Eruptions Produce Ice Ages or Mass Extinctions?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robock, A.; Ammann, C.; Oman, L.; Shindell, D.; Stenchikov, G.

    2006-12-01

    Volcanic eruptions are well known to be important causes of interannual and even interdecadal climate change. But can very large eruptions initiate ice ages, as has been suggested for the Toba eruption ~74,000 years ago? Could flood basalt eruptions, such as the Deccan Traps 65,000,000 years ago or the Siberian Traps 250,000,000 years ago, have produced climate change large enough and long-lasting enough, along with other atmospheric pollution, to have caused mass extinctions? Here we conduct climate model simulations of the effects of a volcanic eruption 100 times larger than the 1991 Pinatubo eruption as a test of the climatic effects of Toba. We use two different state-of-the-art climate models, CCSM 3.0 from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and ModelE from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, to investigate the dependence of the results on the climate model used. We find that although the "Toba" eruption produces very large global cooling for a couple years, of up to 10°C, the volcanic aerosols leave the atmosphere quickly and the climate largely recovers in a decade. We investigated the mechanism of vegetation response to the cold and dark, but this mechanism was not strong enough to prolong the response enough to allow ice sheets to grow. On the other hand, continuous emissions from massive flood basalt eruptions lasting several decades could make it so cold and dark at the Earth's surface that many species would find it hard to survive. On longer time scales, however, continued large greenhouse gas emissions would have a significant warming effect. With good estimates of the amount and timing of gas and particle emissions into the atmosphere, we have the climate modeling tools to calculate their impact on climate.

  16. The Luoping biota: exceptional preservation, and new evidence on the Triassic recovery from end-Permian mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Shi-xue; Zhang, Qi-yue; Chen, Zhong-Qiang; Zhou, Chang-yong; Lü, Tao; Xie, Tao; Wen, Wen; Huang, Jin-yuan; Benton, Michael J.

    2011-01-01

    The timing and nature of biotic recovery from the devastating end-Permian mass extinction (252 Ma) are much debated. New studies in South China suggest that complex marine ecosystems did not become re-established until the middle–late Anisian (Middle Triassic), much later than had been proposed by some. The recently discovered exceptionally preserved Luoping biota from the Anisian Stage of the Middle Triassic, Yunnan Province and southwest China shows this final stage of community assembly on the continental shelf. The fossil assemblage is a mixture of marine animals, including abundant lightly sclerotized arthropods, associated with fishes, marine reptiles, bivalves, gastropods, belemnoids, ammonoids, echinoderms, brachiopods, conodonts and foraminifers, as well as plants and rare arthropods from nearby land. In some ways, the Luoping biota rebuilt the framework of the pre-extinction latest Permian marine ecosystem, but it differed too in profound ways. New trophic levels were introduced, most notably among top predators in the form of the diverse marine reptiles that had no evident analogues in the Late Permian. The Luoping biota is one of the most diverse Triassic marine fossil Lagerstätten in the world, providing a new and early window on recovery and radiation of Triassic marine ecosystems some 10 Myr after the end-Permian mass extinction. PMID:21183583

  17. Evolution and mass extinctions as lognormal stochastic processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maccone, Claudio

    2014-10-01

    -terrestrial civilizations existing in the Galaxy (as a consequence of the central limit theorem of statistics). (5) But the most striking new result is that the well-known `Molecular Clock of Evolution', namely the `constant rate of Evolution at the molecular level' as shown by Kimura's Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution, identifies with growth rate of the entropy of our Evo-SETI model, because they both grew linearly in time since the origin of life. (6) Furthermore, we apply our Evo-SETI model to lognormal stochastic processes other than GBMs. For instance, we provide two models for the mass extinctions that occurred in the past: (a) one based on GBMs and (b) the other based on a parabolic mean value capable of covering both the extinction and the subsequent recovery of life forms. (7) Finally, we show that the Markov & Korotayev (2007, 2008) model for Darwinian Evolution identifies with an Evo-SETI model for which the mean value of the underlying lognormal stochastic process is a cubic function of the time. In conclusion: we have provided a new mathematical model capable of embracing molecular evolution, SETI and entropy into a simple set of statistical equations based upon b-lognormals and lognormal stochastic processes with arbitrary mean, of which the GBMs are the particular case of exponential growth.

  18. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Thibodeau, Alyson M; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A; West, A Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J; Berelson, William M; Bergquist, Bridget A; Corsetti, Frank A

    2016-01-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. PMID:27048776

  19. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Thibodeau, Alyson M.; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A.; West, A. Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J.; Berelson, William M.; Bergquist, Bridget A.; Corsetti, Frank A.

    2016-01-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic–Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. PMID:27048776

  20. Mercury anomalies and the timing of biotic recovery following the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thibodeau, Alyson M.; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce A.; West, A. Joshua; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David J.; Berelson, William M.; Bergquist, Bridget A.; Corsetti, Frank A.

    2016-04-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volcanic volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here we use Hg concentrations and isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg levels rise in the extinction interval, peak before the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, remain above background in association with a depauperate fauna, and fall to pre-extinction levels during significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and palaeontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased.

  1. The changing role of mammal life histories in Late Quaternary extinction vulnerability on continents and islands.

    PubMed

    Lyons, S Kathleen; Miller, Joshua H; Fraser, Danielle; Smith, Felisa A; Boyer, Alison; Lindsey, Emily; Mychajliw, Alexis M

    2016-06-01

    Understanding extinction drivers in a human-dominated world is necessary to preserve biodiversity. We provide an overview of Quaternary extinctions and compare mammalian extinction events on continents and islands after human arrival in system-specific prehistoric and historic contexts. We highlight the role of body size and life-history traits in these extinctions. We find a significant size-bias except for extinctions on small islands in historic times. Using phylogenetic regression and classification trees, we find that while life-history traits are poor predictors of historic extinctions, those associated with difficulty in responding quickly to perturbations, such as small litter size, are good predictors of prehistoric extinctions. Our results are consistent with the idea that prehistoric and historic extinctions form a single continuing event with the same likely primary driver, humans, but the diversity of impacts and affected faunas is much greater in historic extinctions. PMID:27330176

  2. Illawarra Reversal: the onset of the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isozaki, Y.

    2008-12-01

    The Permian magnetostratigraphic records demonstrate that a remarkable change occurred in geomagnetism in the Late Guadalupian (Middle Permian; ca. 265 Ma) from the long-term stable Kiaman Reverse Superchron (throughout the Late Carboniferous and Early-Middle Permian) to the Permian-Triassic Mixed Superchron with frequent polarity change (in the Late Permian and Triassic). This unique episode called the Illawarra Reversal probably reflects a significant mode change in geodynamo in the outer core of the planet after a 50 million year-long stable geomagnetism. The Illawarra Reversal was likely led by the appearance of thermal instability at the 2,900 km-deep core-mantle boundary in connection with mantle superplume activity. The Illawarra Reversal and the Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary event recorded the significant transition from the Paleozoic to Mesozoic-Modern world. Major global environmental changes in the Phanerozoic occurred almost simultaneously in the latest Guadalupian, e.g., 1) mass extinction, 2) ocean redox change, 3) sharp isotopic excursions (C and Sr), 4) sea-level drop, and 5) plume-related volcanism. In addition to the claimed possible link between the above-listed various environmental changes and mantle superplume activity, here I propose an extra explanation that a change in the core's geodynamo may have played another important role in determining the surface climate of the planet and the course of biotic evolution. When a superplume is launched from the core-mantle boundary, resultant thermal instability makes the geodynamo's dipole of the outer core unstable, and lowers the geomagnetic intensity. Being modulated by geo- and heliomagnetism, cosmic ray flux from the outer space into the Earth's atmosphere changes along time. The more cosmic ray penetrates through the atmosphere, the more cloud develops to increase albedo, thus enhances cooling the Earth's surface. The Illawarra Reversal, the Kamura cooling event, and other unique geologic

  3. Mass extinction of ocean organisms at the Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary: Effects and causes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2012-04-01

    At the end of the Permian, at the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic (251.0 ± 0.4 Ma), the largest mass extinction of organisms on the Earth occurred. Up to 96% of the species of marine invertebrates and ˜70% of the terrestrial vertebrates died off. A lot of factors were suggested and substantiated to explain this mass mortality, such as the disappearance of environmental niches in the course of the amalgamation of the continental plates into Pangea, sea level fluctuations, anoxia, an elevated CO2 content, H2S intoxication, volcanism, methane discharge from gas-hydrates, climate changes, impact events (collisions with large asteroids), or combinations of many of these reasons. Some of these factors are in subordination to others, while others are independent. Almost all of these factors developed relatively slowly and could not cause the sudden mass mortality of organisms globally. It could have happened when large asteroids, whose craters have been discovered lately, fell to the Earth. It is suggested that the impact events "finished off" the already suppressed biota. A simultaneous change in many of the factors responsible for the biodiversity, including those not connected in a cause-and-effect relationship, proves the existence of a common extrater-restrial cause that affected both the changes in the internal and external geospheres and the activation of asteroid attacks (the Sun's transit of spiral arms of our galaxy, the Sun's oscillations perpendicularly to the galactic plane, etc).

  4. Paleozoic large igneous provinces of Northern Eurasia: Correlation with mass extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kravchinsky, Vadim A.

    2012-04-01

    This paper assesses data from recently described major Paleozoic large igneous provinces (LIPs), mostly in Northern Eurasia. The 10 LIPs reviewed form a unimodal distribution in terms of volume. Eight LIPs have an initial modal volume greater than 0.1 × 106 km3. The rift associated basalts of 2 LIPs from the end of the Late Cambrian Period and the end of the Late Ordovician Period do not occupy a large volume. Some of the provinces were discovered or rediscovered relatively recently and dating is still approximate, but most provinces fit a simple model in which volcanism persisted on the order of 10-20 Myr, often resulting in continental break-up. Correlation between LIP ages and the ages of geological events in the Paleozoic Era that reflect mass extinctions and oceanic anoxia agrees with correlations suggested by Courtillot (1994) and Courtillot and Renne (2003) for the Cenozoic and Mesozoic eras, considering that the absolute dating of some Paleozoic LIPs needs to be strengthened in the future.

  5. Stellar orbits in the Galaxy and mass extinctions on the Earth: a connection?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porto de Mello, G. F.; Dias, W. S.; Lepine, J.; Lorenzo-Oliveira, D.; Kazu, R. S.

    2014-03-01

    The orbits of the stars in the disk of the Galaxy, and their passages through the Galactic spiral arms, are a rarely mentioned factor of biosphere stability which might be important for long-term planetary climate evolution, with a possible bearing on mass extinctions. The Sun lies very near the co-rotation radius, where stars revolve around the Galaxy in the same period as the density wave perturbations of the spiral arms (Dias & Lepine 2005). Conventional wisdom generally considers that this status makes for few passages through the spiral arms. Controversy still surrounds whether time spent inside or around spiral arms is dangerous to biospheres and conducive to mass extinctions (Bailer-Jones 2009). Possible threats include giant molecular clouds disturbing the Oort comet cloud and provoking heavy bombardment (Clube & Napier 1982); a higher exposure to cosmic rays near star forming regions triggering increased cloudiness in Earth's atmosphere and ice ages (Gies & Helsel 2005); and the destruction of Earth's ozone layer posed by supernova explosions (Gehrels et al 2003). We present detailed calculations of the history of spiral arm passages for all 212 solartype stars nearer than 20 parsecs, including the total time spent inside the spiral arms in the last 500 million years, when the spiral arm position can be traced with good accuracy. There is a very large diversity of stellar orbits amongst solar neighborhood solar-type stars, and the time fraction spent inside spiral arms can vary from a few percent to nearly half the time. The Sun, despite its proximity to the galactic co-rotation radius, has exceptionally low eccentricity and a low vertical velocity component, and therefore spends 40% of its lifetime crossing the spiral arms, more than nearly all nearby stars. We discuss the possible implications of this fact to the long-term habitability of the Earth, and possible correlations of the Sun's passage through the spiral arms with the five great mass

  6. Deccan Volcanism, Chicxulub Impact, Climate Change and the end-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta; Punekar, Jahnavi; Mateo, Paula; Adatte, Thierry; Spangenberg, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    Age control for Deccan volcanism, associated global climate changes, high-stress conditions and the KTB mass extinction is excellent based on biostratigraphy and corroborated by new U-Pb dating providing new evidence for a complex mass extinction scenario. The massive Deccan eruptions of phase-2 began in the latest Maastrichtian C29r and ended at or near the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) depositing ~3000 m of stacked lava flows or 80% of the total Deccan eruptions over a period of just 250 ky. The onset of phase-2 eruptions coincided with rapid global warming on land (8°C) and oceans (4°C) and increasingly high-stress environments evident by dwarfed species and decreased diversity preceding the mass extinction in planktic foraminiferal zones CF2-CF1. Deep cores in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, SE India, document the rapid mass extinction of planktic foraminifera in intertrappean sediments between four major volcanic eruptions known as the longest lava flows on Earth. Maximum stress is observed globally approaching the end of the Maastrichtian with faunal assemblages dominated (~90%) by the disaster opportunist Guembelitria cretacea. This interval correlates with the massive eruptions of the world's longest lava flows, renewed rapid global warming and ocean acidification during the last ~50 ky of the Maastrichtian. The Chicxulub impact occurred during the global warming near the base of zone CF1 preceding the mass extinction by <100 ky (depending on the time scale used). This age estimate is based on the stratigraphically oldest impact spherule layer in NE Mexico, Texas, and Yucatan crater core Yaxcopoil-1. In all other regions (e.g., North Atlantic, Caribbean, Belize, Guatemala, southern Mexico) impact spherules are reworked in early Danian sediments (zone P1a) at least 100 ky after the KTB due to Gulf Stream erosion and increased tectonic activity in the region. No species extinctions are associated with the Chicxulub impact. Any KTB mass extinction scenario

  7. Origination, diversity, and extinction metrics essential for analysis of mass biotic crisis events: An example from cretaceous ammonoidea

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collom, Christopher J.

    1988-01-01

    Traditional mass extinction research has predominently concentrated on statistically demonstrating that mass extinction intervals are significantly above background levels of familial and generic extinction in terms of extinction percentage, extinction rate, and per-taxon extinction rate; mass extinction intervals occur on a set periodicity throughout geologic time, which is estimated to be some 30 MYR in duration. The published literature has given little emphasis to equally important considerations and metrics such as origination rate, standing diversity, and rate of generation of new taxa DURING mass extinction intervals. The extent to which a mass extinction affects the regional or global biota, must ultimately be gauged by taking into consideration both the number of taxa which become extinct at or near the event (stage) boundary, and the number of taxa which are either not affected at all by the extinction or actually evolved during or shortly before/after the extinction interval. These effects can be seen in Cretaceous Ammonoidea (at the genus level), and their combined usage allow better insight into paleobiological dynamics and responses to mass extinction and its affect on this dominant Molluscan organism.

  8. Widespread habitat change through paludification as an interactive mechanism in mass extinction events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klinger, L. F.

    1988-01-01

    The study of mass extinction events has largely focused on defining an environmental factor or factors that might account for specific patterns of faunal demise. Several hypotheses elaborate on how a given environmental factor might affect fauna directly, but differentially, causing extinction in certain taxa but not others. Yet few studies have considered specific habitat changes that might result from natural vegetation processes or from perturbations of vegetation. The role of large-scale habitat change induced by natural successional change from forest to bog (paludification) is examined and how large perturbations (e.g., volcanism, bolide impacts) might favor increased rates of paludification and consequent mass extinctions is considered. This hypothesis has an advantage over other hypotheses for mass extinctions in that modern day analogs of paludification are common throughout the world, thus allowing for considerable testing.

  9. Late Quaternary cave bears and brown bears in Europe: implications for distribution, chronology, and extinction based on a multidisciplinary approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pacher, Martina

    2010-05-01

    Cave bear remains are one of the most numerous fossils found in European caves. Despite their frequency of occurrence, many aspects of cave bear palaeontology still remain poorly understood. New methodological approaches and ongoing studies led to controversial results and discussion about its taxonomy, palaeoecology, and final extinction. Are we dealing with one single or several species of cave bears? Was cave bear exclusively vegetarian or after all more omnivorous? Did he go extinct before or after the Late Glacial Maximum? Was cave bear restricted to Europe or did he also occur in Asia? Late Pleistocene brown bears, on the other hand, are often rare and little is known about the possible co-occurrence of cave and brown bears during the Late Pleistocene. Based on direct radiocarbon dates the distribution pattern of both, cave and brown bears is reconstructed during the Late Pleistocene in Europe. In addition, the reasons for the achieved pattern will be tested leading to the main question - why did cave bear become extinct while brown bears survived until today? To answer this question palaeobiological data of Late Pleistocene cave and brown bears will be tested against results from isotope analyses, while aDNA data may contribute to the question of distinct local population or even species of bears. The current state of evidence will be presented and on the basis of resulting pattern implications for further multi-disciplinary studies will be discussed.

  10. Extinction chronology of the woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis in the context of late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions in northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stuart, Anthony J.; Lister, Adrian M.

    2012-09-01

    Megafaunal extinctions in northern Eurasia (excluding Mediterranean islands) since the Last Interglacial claimed about 37% of species with body weights >44 kg. Here we review the dating evidence for the timings of these extinctions, which were staggered over tens of millennia. Moreover, individual species disappeared at different times in different geographical areas. For example, cave bear probably disappeared ca. 30.5-28.5 ka, at approximately the onset of GS-3 (beginning of 'LGM'), whereas cave lion survived until the Lateglacial ca 14 ka. Others survived into the Holocene: woolly mammoth until ca 10.7 ka in the New Siberian Islands and ca 4 ka on Wrangel Island, giant deer to at least 7.7 ka in western Siberia and European Russia. It is evident that climatic and vegetational changes had major impacts on species' ranges, and moreover the contrasting chronologies and geographical range contractions are consistent with environmental drivers relating to their differing ecologies. However, the possible role of humans in this process has still to be satisfactorily explored. We present a detailed review of the radiocarbon record and extinction chronology of an exclusively northern Eurasian species, the woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis, an animal adapted to feeding on low-growing herbaceous vegetation and a dry climate with minimal snowfall. During the Last Glacial the overall (time-averaged) range of C. antiquitatis extended across most of northern Eurasia, but the species failed to reach North America. On the basis of 233 ultrafiltered AMS radiocarbon dates, together with 50 others which pass our auditing criteria, we reconstruct a detailed chronology for this species. C. antiquitatis was widespread over most of the time span covered by radiocarbon dating, but from ca 35 ka (calibrated) it apparently contracted towards the east, culminating in its probable extinction ca 14 ka, with the latest dates from north-eastern Siberia. It disappeared from Britain, at

  11. Impact Theory of Mass Extinctions and the Invertebrate Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alvarez, Walter; Kauffman, Erle G.; Surlyk, Finn; Alvarez, Luis W.; Asaro, Frank; Michel, Helen V.

    1984-03-01

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact.

  12. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Kauffman, E.G.; Surlyk, F.; Alvarez, L.W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.

    1984-03-16

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact. 50 references, 4 figures.

  13. What caused the mass extinction An extraterrestrial impact

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W. ); Asaro, F. )

    1990-10-01

    The authors and other investigators discovered iridium in the clays that mark the sudden disappearance of dinosaurs from the fossil record. Because iridium is rare in the earth's crust but abundant in some meteorites, they concluded that a giant meteorite collided with the earth, hurling megatons of debris into the atmosphere. This paper describes and discusses the accumulating evidence that suggests an asteroid or comet caused the Cretaceous extinction.

  14. Back-casting sociality in extinct species: new perspectives using mass death assemblages and sex ratios.

    PubMed Central

    Berger, J; Dulamtseren, S; Cain, S; Enkkhbileg, D; Lichtman, P; Namshir, Z; Wingard, G; Reading, R

    2001-01-01

    Despite 150 years of interest in the ecology of dinosaurs, mammoths, proto-hominids and other extinct vertebrates, a general framework to recreate patterns of sociality has been elusive. Based on our recent discovery of a contemporary heterospecific mass death assemblage in the Gobi Desert (Mongolia), we fit predictions about gender-specific associations and group living in extant ungulates to extinct ones. We relied on comparative data on sex-ratio variation and body-size dimorphism, basing analyses on 38 additional mass mortality sites from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America that span 50 million years. Both extant and extinct species died in aggregations with biased adult sex ratios, but the skew (from 1:1) was greater for extinct dimorphic taxa, suggesting that sociality in these extinct species can be predicted from spatial and demographic traits of extant ones. However, extinct rhinos, horses and zebras were inconsistent with predictions about adult sex ratios, which underscores the inherent difficulty in backcasting historic patterns to some monomorphic taxa. These findings shed light not only on the sociality of extinct species but provide a sound, although limited, footing for interpretation of modern death assemblages within the context of the emerging science of taphonomy and palaeobehaviour. PMID:11209882

  15. Phreatomagmatic Pipes of the Tunguska basin (Siberia): Improvement of End-Permian Mass Extinction Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polozov, Alexander; Svensen, Henrik; Planke, Sverre; Jerram, Dougal

    2014-05-01

    Formation of the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province is regarded as key phenomena responsible for the end-Permian mass extinction. Extinct event was accelerating due to release of enormous amount of gases throughout numerous basalt pipes, originated from contact aureoles of dolerite sills intruded into Tunguska Basin. Tunguska sedimentary basin consists of Precambrian and Paleozoic evaporites, carbonates and terrigenous rocks including Late Paleozoic coal-bearing strata. Precambrian and early Paleozoic oil source rocks contain numerous high potential oil and gas fields. Paleozoic evaporites contain rock and potassium salts deposits of commercial grade. Tunguska Basin evaporites are considered as a regional seal for the mineralizing brines. Permian-Triassic volcaniclastic rocks overlie this sequence and intrusive rocks have the numerous evidences of magma-sediment interaction result in basalt pipes formation. Compilation of available Russian literature gives us a chance to make a conclusion that hundreds of basalt pipes occur in the Tunguska Basin. The basalt pipes cross over all known dolerite intrusions and are filled with breccias of magmatic, volcaniclastic and sedimentary rocks altered to varying extents. Pipes from the Tunguska Basin south have a phreatomagmatic origin that is supported by ubiquitous occurrence of altered sedimentary clasts and volcaniclastic lapilli, corroded by brine during initial stages of magma-evaporite (brine) interaction. Corroded lapilli rimmed by diopside, chlorine-bearing hornblende, apatite and magnetite. Our recent study of magnetite-rich coarse lapilli tuffs revealed the garnet lapilli rimmed with magnetite cemented by altered clay groundmass enriched by native metals (Cu, Sn, Zn). This result corroborates our hypothesis about magnetite formation during initial stage of magma-sediment-brine interaction. We suggest that these observations could shed light on end-Permian aerosol flux originated from basalt pipes and could provide

  16. Multiple microtektite horizons in upper eocene marine sediments: no evidence for mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Keller, G; D'Hondt, S; Vallier, T L

    1983-07-01

    Microtektites have been recovered from three horizons in eight middle Eocene to middle Oligocene marine sediment sequences. Five of these occurrences are coeval and of latest Eocene age (37.5 to 38.0 million years ago); three are coeval and of early late Eocene age (38.5 to 39.5 million years ago); and three are of middle Oligocene age (31 to 32 million years ago). In addition, rare probable microtektites have been found in sediments with ages of about 36.0 to 36.5 million years. The microtektite horizon at 37.5 to 38.0 million years can be correlated with the North American tektite-strewn field, which has a fission track age (minimum) of 34 to 35 million years and a paleomagnetic age of 37.5 to 38.0 million years. There is no evidence for mass faunal extinctions at any of the microtektite horizons. Many of the distinct faunal changes that occurred in the middle Eocene to middle Oligocene can be related to the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet and the associated cooling phenomena and intensification of bottom currents that led to large-scale dissolution of calcium carbonate and erosion, which created areally extensive hiatuses in the deep-sea sediment records. The occurrence of microtektite horizons of several ages and the lack of evidence for faunal extinctions suggest that the effects of extraterrestrial bolide impacts may be unimportant in the biologic realm during middle Eocene to middle Oligocene time. PMID:17769212

  17. Extended period of K/T boundary mass extinction in the marine realm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Keller, G.

    1988-01-01

    The Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary mass extinction has been widely recognized as a nearly instantaneous catastrophy among marine plankton such as foraminifera. However, the suddenness of this extinction event may have been overemphasized because most pelagic K/T boundary sequences are stratigraphically incomplete and generally lack the earliest Tertiary (Zones P0 and P1a) either due to carbonate dissolution and/or non-deposition. Stratigraphically complete sections appear to be restricted to continental shelf regions with high sedimentation rates and deposition well above the CCD. Such sections have been recovered from El Kef, Tunisia (1) and Brazos River, Texas. Quantitative foraminiferal analysis of these sections indicate an extinction pattern beginning below the K/T boundary and ending above the boundary. These data imply that the mass extinction event was not geologically instantaneous, but occurred over an extended period of time. Evidence supporting this conclusion is discussed.

  18. A Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction? Were most of Earth's species killed off?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Briggs, J. C.

    1991-01-01

    For the past decade, the scientific and popular press have carried frequent articles about a catastrophic mass extinction that supposedly destroyed the majority of the earth's species, including the dinosaurs, approximately 65 million years ago. Since 1980, more than 2000 papers and books have dealt with some aspect of a mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary. One authoritative estimate of the severity of the extinctions is that 60-80% of all the living species became extinct at this boundary (Raup 1988). There appears to be a general acceptance of the fact that such a great catastrophe did occur. Most of the argument among scientists now is devoted to the determination of the cause. In this article, I argue that the species changes at the K/T boundary were neither sudden nor catastrophic. They were most likely caused by a regression of sea level that led to a decrease in primary production.

  19. Accumulation rates or percentages? How to quantify Sporormiella and other coprophilous fungal spores to detect late Quaternary megafaunal extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, Jamie R.; Wilmshurst, Janet M.

    2013-10-01

    Spores of coprophilous fungi, and in particular those of Sporormiella, are a routinely used proxy for detecting late Quaternary herbivore extinction events in sedimentary records. Spore abundance is typically quantified as a percentage of the total, or dryland, pollen sum. Although this is a quick method that does not require the development of site-specific age-depth models, it relies on stable pollen accumulation rates and is therefore highly sensitive to changes in vegetation. This may lead to incorrect placement of extinction events in sedimentary records, particularly when they occur contemporaneously with major climatic/vegetation transitions. We suggest that the preferred method of quantification should be accumulation rate, and that pollen abundance data should also be presented, particularly for periods of major vegetation change. This approach provides a more reliable record of past herbivore abundance independent of vegetation change, allowing extinction events to be more accurately placed in stratigraphic sequences.

  20. Periodicity of mass extinctions without an extraterrestrial cause

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipowski, Adam

    2005-05-01

    We study a lattice model of a multispecies prey-predator system. Numerical results show that for a small mutation rate the model develops irregular long-period oscillatory behavior with sizeable changes in a number of species. The periodicity of extinctions on Earth was suggested by Raup and Sepkoski [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 81, 801 (1984)], but thus far is lacking a satisfactory explanation. Our model indicates that this might be a natural consequence of the ecosystem dynamics and not the result of any extraterrestrial cause.

  1. End-Cretaceous marine mass extinction not caused by productivity collapse

    PubMed Central

    Alegret, Laia; Thomas, Ellen; Lohmann, Kyger C

    2012-01-01

    An asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous caused mass extinction, but extinction mechanisms are not well-understood. The collapse of sea surface to sea floor carbon isotope gradients has been interpreted as reflecting a global collapse of primary productivity (Strangelove Ocean) or export productivity (Living Ocean), which caused mass extinction higher in the marine food chain. Phytoplankton-dependent benthic foraminifera on the deep-sea floor, however, did not suffer significant extinction, suggesting that export productivity persisted at a level sufficient to support their populations. We compare benthic foraminiferal records with benthic and bulk stable carbon isotope records from the Pacific, Southeast Atlantic, and Southern Oceans. We conclude that end-Cretaceous decrease in export productivity was moderate, regional, and insufficient to explain marine mass extinction. A transient episode of surface ocean acidification may have been the main cause of extinction of calcifying plankton and ammonites, and recovery of productivity may have been as fast in the oceans as on land. PMID:22207626

  2. Early Triassic alternative ecological states driven by anoxia, hyperthermals, and erosional pulses following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pietsch, C.; Petsios, E.; Bottjer, D. J.

    2015-12-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, 252 million years ago, was the most devastating loss of biodiversity in Earth's history. Massive volcanic eruptions of the Siberian Traps and the concurrent burning of coal, carbonate, and evaporite deposits emplaced greenhouse and toxic gasses. Hyperthermal events of the surface ocean, up to 40°C, led to reduced gradient-driven ocean circulation which yielded extensive equatorial oxygen minimum zones. Today, anthropogenic greenhouse gas production is outpacing carbon input modeled for the end-Permian mass extinction, which suggests that modern ecosystems may yet experience a severe biotic crisis. The Early Triassic records the 5 million year aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction and is often perceived as an interval of delayed recovery. We combined a new, high resolution carbon isotope record, sedimentological analysis, and paleoecological collections from the Italian Werfen Formation to fully integrate paleoenvironmental change with the benthic ecological response. We find that the marine ecosystem experienced additional community restructuring events due to subsequent hyperthermal events and pulses of erosion. The benthic microfauna and macrofauna both contributed to disaster communities that initially rebounded in the earliest Triassic. 'Disaster fauna' including microbialites, microconchids, foraminifera, and "flat clams" took advantage of anoxic conditions in the first ~500,000 years, dominating the benthic fauna. Later, in the re-oxygenated water column, opportunistic disaster groups were supplanted by a more diverse, mollusc-dominated benthic fauna and a complex ichnofauna. An extreme temperature run-up beginning in the Late Dienerian led to an additional hyperthermal event in the Late-Smithian which co-occurred with increased humidity and terrestrial run-off. Massive siliciclastic deposits replaced carbonate deposition which corresponds to the infaunalization of the benthic fauna. The disaster taxa dominated

  3. Impact-driven ocean acidification as a mechanism of the Cretaceous-Palaeogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohno, S.; Kadono, T.; Kurosawa, K.; Hamura, T.; Sakaiya, T.; Shigemori, K.; Hironaka, Y.; Sano, T.; Watari, T.; Otani, K.; Matsui, T.; Sugita, S.

    2014-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction event at 66 Ma triggered by a meteorite impact is one of the most drastic events in the history of life on the Earth. Many hypotheses have been proposed as killing mechanisms induced by the impact, including global darkness due to high concentrations of atmospheric silicate dust particles, global wildfires, greenhouse warming due to CO2 release, and global acid rain. However, the actual mechanism of extinction remains highly controversial. One of the most important clues for understanding the extinction mechanism is the marine plankton record, which indicates that plankton foraminifera, living in the near-surface ocean, suffered very severe extinction in contrast to the high survival ratio of benthic foraminifera. No proposed extinction mechanism can account for this globally observed marine extinction pattern. Here, we show that SO3-rich impact vapor was released in the K-Pg impact and resulted in the occurrence of global acid rain and sudden severe ocean acidification at the end of the Cretaceous, based on the new results of impact experiments at velocities much higher than previous works (> 10 km/s) and theoretical calculations on aerosol coagulation processes. Sudden severe ocean acidification can account for many of the features of various geologic records at the K?Pg boundary, including severe extinction of plankton foraminifera. This extinction mechanism requires impact degassing of SO3-rich vapor, which is not necessarily found at impact sites other than Chicxulub, suggesting that the degree of mass extinction was controlled greatly by target lithology.

  4. Changes in depth-transect redox conditions spanning the end-Permian mass extinction and their impact on the marine extinction: Evidence from biomarkers and sulfur isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oba, Masahiro; Fukuda, Yoshihiko; Ito, Kosuke; Ariyoshi, Shun; Gorjan, Paul; Riu, Yuqing; Takahashi, Satoshi; Chen, Zhong-Qiang; Tong, Jinnan; Yamakita, Satoshi

    2012-08-01

    Changes in redox conditions during the Changhsingian to Griesbachian spanning the end-Permian mass extinction were recently reported based on analyses of organic molecules. We provide more precise organic-molecular data, that detail redox conditions spanning the end-Permian mass extinction at different palaeowater depths in the neritic Palaeotethys (estimated water depths: 10, 40, 100, and 200 m; Bulla, Huangzhishan, Meishan, and Chaohu sections, respectively) during this period. Here we propose that a change from occasional euxinia to anoxia in the shallow Palaeotethys occurred at the time of the mass extinction intercalated with oxic pulses. The second extinction at 0.7 myr after the main extinction was also caused by anoxia. New and published sulfur-isotope ratios (34S/32S) measured in carbonate-associated sulfate from the neritic Palaeotethys and in sulfide from pelagic central Panthalassa sediments show high values during the Changhsingian, consistent with the development of euxinia. The mass extinction coincided with a global fall in δ34S values, as well as a shift in δ13C values, indicating a global oxidation of H2S. This organic and isotopic geochemistry implies that accumulation of hydrogen sulfide in intermediate and deep waters followed by oxidation of hydrogen sulfide led to dissolved oxygen consumption, surface-water anoxia, and acidification, resulting in the end-Permian mass extinction in the seas.

  5. Methane release from igneous intrusion of coal during Late Permian extinction events

    SciTech Connect

    Retallack, G.J.; Jahren, A.H.

    2008-01-15

    Unusually large and locally variable carbon isotope excursions coincident with mass extinctions at the end of the Permian Period (253 Ma) and Guadalupian Epoch (260 Ma) can be attributed to methane outbursts to the atmosphere. Methane has isotopic values {delta}{sup 13}C low enough to reduce to feasible amounts the carbon required for isotopic mass balance. The duration of the carbon isotopic excursions and inferred methane releases are here constrained to < 10,000 yr by counting annual varves in lake deposits and by estimating peat accumulation rates. On paleogeographic maps, the most marked carbon isotope excursions form linear arrays back to plausible methane sources: end-Permian Siberian Traps and Longwood-Bluff intrusions of New Zealand and end-Guadalupian Emeishan Traps of China. Intrusion of coal seams by feeder dikes to flood basalts could create successive thermogenic methane outbursts of the observed timing and magnitude, but these are unreasonably short times for replenishment of marine or permafrost sources of methane. Methane released by fracturing and heating of coal during intrusion of large igneous provinces may have been a planetary hazard comparable with bolide impact.

  6. Did Deccan Volcanism or the Chicxulub Impact Cause the K-T Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.; Reddy, A. N.; Jaiprakash, B. C.; Gertsch, B.; Adatte, T.; Upadhyay, H.; Bhowmick, P. K.; Pande, D. K.

    2008-12-01

    It is generally believed that the Chicxulub impact caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction. However, strong evidence from Mexico and Texas shows that this impact predates the K-T boundary and caused no species extinctions or any other significant environmental effects (Keller et al., 2003, 2007). The Chicxulub impact and K-T mass extinction are thus two separate and unrelated events and the biotic effects of this impact have been vastly overestimated. The real cause for the K-T mass extinction may now have been discovered in the Deccan volcanic eruptions of India. Recent discoveries reveal Deccan volcanism as the most likely cause for the K-T mass extinction for several reasons detailed in Chenet et al. (2007), Keller et al. (2008) and Self et al. (2008): (1) The main phase of Deccan Trap eruptions may have occurred over as little as 10,000 to 100,000 years. (2) The K-T mass extinction coincides with the end of this main phase of volcanism. (3) The longest lava flows (megaflows), spanning 1000 km across India and out to the Gulf of Bengal, mark this phase of Deccan volcanism and the mass extinction. (4) SO2 emissions associated with just one of these major volcanic pulses, or megaflows, are on the order of SO2 emissions estimated from the Chicxulub impact. (5) The total SO2 emissions during the main phase of Deccan volcanism are estimated at 30 to 100 times that of the Chicxulub impact. Thus, the short duration of volcanism and the repeated massive SO2 injections may have caused a deadly runaway effect that lead to the K-T mass extinction. Critical new data on the K-T mass extinction comes from investigations of Deccan Traps outcrops at Jhilmili, Madhya Pradesh, central India, quarry outcrops in Rajahmundry and subsurface cores drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, eastern India, by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India (ONGC). In eight subsurface cores examined, a total of 9 volcanic megaflows have been identified as occurring in very rapid

  7. A scale of greatness and causal classification of mass extinctions: Implications for mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Şengör, A. M. Celâl; Atayman, Saniye; Özeren, Sinan

    2008-01-01

    A quantitative scale for measuring greatness, G, of mass extinctions is proposed on the basis of rate of biodiversity diminution expressed as the product of the loss of biodiversity, called magnitude (M), and the inverse of time in which that loss occurs, designated as intensity (I). On this scale, the catastrophic Cretaceous–Tertiary (K-T) extinction appears as the greatest since the Ordovician and the only one with a probable extraterrestrial cause. The end-Permian extinction was less great but with a large magnitude (M) and smaller intensity (I); only some of its individual episodes involved some semblance of catastrophe. Other extinctions during the Phanerozoic, with the possible exception of the end-Silurian diversity plunge, were parts of a forced oscillatory phenomenon and seem caused by marine- and land-habitat destruction during continental assemblies that led to elimination of shelves and (after the Devonian) rain forests and enlargement of deserts. Glaciations and orogenies that shortened and thickened the continental crust only exacerbated these effects. During the Mesozoic and Cainozoic, the evolution of life was linearly progressive, interrupted catastrophically only at the K-T boundary. The end-Triassic extinction was more like the Paleozoic extinctions in nature and probably also in its cause. By contrast, the current extinction resembles none of the earlier ones and may end up being the greatest of all. PMID:18779562

  8. Abrupt ocean anoxia and mass extinction at the Hangenberg crisis, Devonian-Carboniferous boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitz, M. D.; Davydov, V. I.

    2012-12-01

    The late Devonian period hosts a set of profound biotic crises accompanying episodes of tropical ocean anoxia, positive carbon isotope excursions, relative sea level rise and fall, and apparent global climatic cooling. The Hangenberg event, at the close of the Devonian, is the last of these crises which ushered in a new and long-lived icehouse climate regime spanning the Carboniferous and early Permian. New high-precision U-Pb zircon ages for bracketing volcanic tuffs constrain the timing and tempo of the Hangenberg biotic crisis. When combined with quantitative biostratigraphic analysis, these data constrain the duration of tropical ocean anoxia, mass extinction and carbon cycle perturbation to less than 100 thousand years. This rapidity and duration is consistent with a model of orbitally-forced cooling resulting in enhancement of oceanic circulation, in turn promoting catastrophic overturn, upwelling of anoxic bottom waters onto the tropical continental shelves, and consequent biotic reorganization. Enhanced organic carbon burial evidenced by a positive carbon isotope spike is also revealed as rapid and short-lived, but sufficient to draw down atmospheric CO2 and initiate a glacial pulse restricted to a single short period eccentricity cycle at the end-Devonian.

  9. Limits to biodiversity cycles from a unified model of mass-extinction events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feulner, Georg

    2011-04-01

    Episodes of species mass extinction dramatically affected the evolution of life on Earth, but their causes remain a source of debate. Even more controversy surrounds the hypothesis of periodicity in the fossil record, with conflicting views still being published in the scientific literature, often even based on the same state-of-the-art datasets. From an empirical point of view, limitations of the currently available data on extinctions and possible causes remain an important issue. From a theoretical point of view, it is likely that a focus on single extinction causes and strong periodic forcings has strongly contributed to this controversy. Here I show that if there is a periodic extinction signal at all, it is much more likely to result from a combination of a comparatively weak periodic cause and various random factors. Tests of this unified model of mass extinctions on the available data show that the model is formally better than a model with random extinction causes only. However, the contribution of the periodic component is small compared to factors such as impacts or volcanic eruptions.

  10. Structure and dating errors in the geologic time scale and periodicity in mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.

    1989-01-01

    Structure in the geologic time scale reflects a partly paleontological origin. As a result, ages of Cenozoic and Mesozoic stage boundaries exhibit a weak 28-Myr periodicity that is similar to the strong 26-Myr periodicity detected in mass extinctions of marine life by Raup and Sepkoski. Radiometric dating errors in the geologic time scale, to which the mass extinctions are stratigraphically tied, do not necessarily lessen the likelihood of a significant periodicity in mass extinctions, but do spread the acceptable values of the period over the range 25-27 Myr for the Harland et al. time scale or 25-30 Myr for the DNAG time scale. If the Odin time scale is adopted, acceptable periods fall between 24 and 33 Myr, but are not robust against dating errors. Some indirect evidence from independently-dated flood-basalt volcanic horizons tends to favor the Odin time scale.

  11. Abiotic causes of the great mass extinction of marine biota at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2015-05-01

    In the interval of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary up to 80% of marine species became extinct. The main hypotheses on the causes of this mass extinction are reviewed. The extinction was triggered by a powerful eruption of basalts in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. In addition, several impact craters have been found. Extraterrestrial factors resulted in two main sequences of events: terrestrial, leading to strong volcanism, and extraterrestrial (impact events). They produced similar effects: emissions of harmful chemical compounds and aerosols. Consequences included the greenhouse effect, darkening of the atmosphere (which prevented photosynthesis), stagnation of the oceans, and anoxia. Biological productivity decreased; food chains collapsed. As a result, all vital processes were disturbed, and a large portion of the biota went extinct.

  12. Iridium abundance maxima at the latest Ordovician mass extinction horizon, Yangtze Basin, China: Terrestrial or extraterrestrial

    SciTech Connect

    Kun Wang; Chatterton, B.D.E. ); Attrep, M. Jr; Orth, C.J. )

    1992-01-01

    Neutron activation analyses of the Chinese Ordovician/Silurian (O/S) boundary sections at two distant localities in the Yangtze Basin, spanning the horizon of a major latest Ordovician global extinction event, show the maxima of iridium abundances to be coincident with the extinction horizon at the base of the graptolite Glyptograptus persculputs zone. The 0.23 ppb Ir maximum in the Yichang type section is almost as large as the late Eocene impact Ir anomaly. However, the authors have observed that the Ir abundances in the Chinese sections are closely correlated with the sedimentation rates, and therefore have concluded that Ir maxima do not indicate a cataclysmic extraterrestrial impact at this extinction level.

  13. Bolide impact triggered the Late Triassic extinction event in equatorial Panthalassa

    PubMed Central

    Onoue, Tetsuji; Sato, Honami; Yamashita, Daisuke; Ikehara, Minoru; Yasukawa, Kazutaka; Fujinaga, Koichiro; Kato, Yasuhiro; Matsuoka, Atsushi

    2016-01-01

    Extinctions within major pelagic groups (e.g., radiolarians and conodonts) occurred in a stepwise fashion during the last 15 Myr of the Triassic. Although a marked decline in the diversity of pelagic faunas began at the end of the middle Norian, the cause of the middle Norian extinction is uncertain. Here we show a possible link between the end-middle Norian radiolarian extinction and a bolide impact. Two palaeoenvironmental events occurred during the initial phase of the radiolarian extinction interval: (1) a post-impact shutdown of primary and biogenic silica production within a time span of 104–105 yr, and (2) a sustained reduction in the sinking flux of radiolarian silica for ~0.3 Myr after the impact. The catastrophic collapse of the pelagic ecosystem at this time was probably the dominant factor responsible for the end-middle Norian conodont extinction. PMID:27387863

  14. Bolide impact triggered the Late Triassic extinction event in equatorial Panthalassa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Onoue, Tetsuji; Sato, Honami; Yamashita, Daisuke; Ikehara, Minoru; Yasukawa, Kazutaka; Fujinaga, Koichiro; Kato, Yasuhiro; Matsuoka, Atsushi

    2016-07-01

    Extinctions within major pelagic groups (e.g., radiolarians and conodonts) occurred in a stepwise fashion during the last 15 Myr of the Triassic. Although a marked decline in the diversity of pelagic faunas began at the end of the middle Norian, the cause of the middle Norian extinction is uncertain. Here we show a possible link between the end-middle Norian radiolarian extinction and a bolide impact. Two palaeoenvironmental events occurred during the initial phase of the radiolarian extinction interval: (1) a post-impact shutdown of primary and biogenic silica production within a time span of 104–105 yr, and (2) a sustained reduction in the sinking flux of radiolarian silica for ~0.3 Myr after the impact. The catastrophic collapse of the pelagic ecosystem at this time was probably the dominant factor responsible for the end-middle Norian conodont extinction.

  15. Bolide impact triggered the Late Triassic extinction event in equatorial Panthalassa.

    PubMed

    Onoue, Tetsuji; Sato, Honami; Yamashita, Daisuke; Ikehara, Minoru; Yasukawa, Kazutaka; Fujinaga, Koichiro; Kato, Yasuhiro; Matsuoka, Atsushi

    2016-01-01

    Extinctions within major pelagic groups (e.g., radiolarians and conodonts) occurred in a stepwise fashion during the last 15 Myr of the Triassic. Although a marked decline in the diversity of pelagic faunas began at the end of the middle Norian, the cause of the middle Norian extinction is uncertain. Here we show a possible link between the end-middle Norian radiolarian extinction and a bolide impact. Two palaeoenvironmental events occurred during the initial phase of the radiolarian extinction interval: (1) a post-impact shutdown of primary and biogenic silica production within a time span of 10(4)-10(5) yr, and (2) a sustained reduction in the sinking flux of radiolarian silica for ~0.3 Myr after the impact. The catastrophic collapse of the pelagic ecosystem at this time was probably the dominant factor responsible for the end-middle Norian conodont extinction. PMID:27387863

  16. Extinctions of life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1988-01-01

    This meeting presentation examines mass extinctions through earth's history. Extinctions are charted for marine families and marine genera. Timing of marine genera extinctions is discussed. Periodicity in extinctions during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras is plotted and compared with Paleozoic extinction peaks. The role of extinction in evolution and mankind's role in present extinctions are examined.

  17. Evidence of constant diversification punctuated by a mass extinction in the African cycads

    PubMed Central

    Yessoufou, Kowiyou; Bamigboye, Samuel O; Daru, Barnabas H; van der Bank, Michelle

    2014-01-01

    The recent evidence that extant cycads are not living fossils triggered a renewed search for a better understanding of their evolutionary history. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary diversification history of the genus Encephalartos, a monophyletic cycad endemic to Africa. We found an antisigmoidal pattern with a plateau and punctual explosive radiation. This pattern is typical of a constant radiation with mass extinction. The rate shift that we found may therefore be a result of a rapid recolonization of niches that have been emptied owing to mass extinction. Because the explosive radiation occurred during the transition Pliocene–Pleistocene, we argued that the processes might have been climatically mediated. PMID:24455160

  18. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K.; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises. PMID:27044713

  19. Breeding Young as a Survival Strategy during Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Botha-Brink, Jennifer; Codron, Daryl; Huttenlocker, Adam K; Angielczyk, Kenneth D; Ruta, Marcello

    2016-01-01

    Studies of the effects of mass extinctions on ancient ecosystems have focused on changes in taxic diversity, morphological disparity, abundance, behaviour and resource availability as key determinants of group survival. Crucially, the contribution of life history traits to survival during terrestrial mass extinctions has not been investigated, despite the critical role of such traits for population viability. We use bone microstructure and body size data to investigate the palaeoecological implications of changes in life history strategies in the therapsid forerunners of mammals before and after the Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction (PTME), the most catastrophic crisis in Phanerozoic history. Our results are consistent with truncated development, shortened life expectancies, elevated mortality rates and higher extinction risks amongst post-extinction species. Various simulations of ecological dynamics indicate that an earlier onset of reproduction leading to shortened generation times could explain the persistence of therapsids in the unpredictable, resource-limited Early Triassic environments, and help explain observed body size distributions of some disaster taxa (e.g., Lystrosaurus). Our study accounts for differential survival in mammal ancestors after the PTME and provides a methodological framework for quantifying survival strategies in other vertebrates during major biotic crises. PMID:27044713

  20. A multi-proxy approach to decode the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Punekar, Jahnavi; Keller, Gerta; Khozyem, Hassan; Adatte, Thierry; Font, Eric; Spangenberg, Jorge

    2015-04-01

    The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) mass extinction may have involved a complex array of interrelated causes that are best evaluated by a multi-proxy approach. This study evaluates the environmental changes during the Plummerita hantkeninoides zone CF1 leading up to the extinction using planktic foraminifera, carbonate dissolution effects, stable isotopes, and magnetic susceptibility for sedimentary sequences in France (Bidart), Austria (Gamsbach) and Tunisia (Elles). Results show higher abundance (20-30%) and diversity (~15 species) of globotruncanids in planktic foraminiferal assemblages at Bidart and Gamsbach (deep water deposits) than at Elles (abundance <10%, diversity <10%, middle shelf deposits). Oxygen isotopes in zone CF1 of Elles record rapid climate warming followed by cooling and a return to rapid warming during the last 10 kyr prior to the mass extinction. The onset of the mass extinction crisis is observed in the top 50-60 cm below the KTB at Bidart and Gamsbach, and in the top ~4.5 m at Elles due to much higher sediment accumulation rates. These intervals record low magnetic susceptibility and high foraminiferal test fragmentation index (FI) and increased abundance of species with dissolution-resistant morphologies. The correlative interval in India records significantly stronger carbonate dissolution effects in intertrappean sediments between the longest lava flows, ending with the mass extinction. Based on current evidence, carbonate dissolution follows the first warming event and may be linked to ocean acidification as a result of massive Deccan volcanism. The estimated 12,000-28,000 Gigatons (Gt) of CO2 and 5200-13,600 Gt of SO2 introduced into the atmosphere likely triggered the carbonate crisis in the oceans. This could have resulted in severe stress for marine calcifiers and led to the mass extinction.

  1. Was it the CO2 or the sulfur that did it? The mechanism of mass extinction of continental vertebrates at the end-Triassic extinction.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, P. E.; Schaller, M. F.; Kent, D. V.; Et-Touhami, M.

    2012-04-01

    Eruption of the giant Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) is temporally linked to the end-Triassic extinction (ETE) event (1,2,3,4,5). Proposed killing mechanisms for plants and marine biota have included both CO2 (4) and sulfur aerosols (3,6). Here we examine the kill mechanisms of the CAMP for land animals where we seek to explain the selectivity of the extinctions. One striking aspect of Late Triassic continental communities is the prominent latitudinal provinciality with diverse crurotarsians (crocodile-relatives) and other non-dinosaurs in the tropics and much higher dinosaur diversity in the higher latitudes (7). Only a very few crurotarsian lineages survived the ETE, and a near-homogenization of continental vertebrate assemblages ensued. Background high CO2 concentration in the Late Triassic resulted in lack of polar ice and probably very high-temperature tropical continental interiors. While a doubling of CO2 associated with CAMP eruptions produced a few degree increase in average temperatures (depending on the sensitivity), plausibly leading to some tropical lethality, how this produced a mass extinction in higher, cooler latitudes is harder to explain. While successive CAMP eruptions contributed to CO2 doublings over hundreds to thousands of years, taking two orders of magnitude longer to return to background, EACH major CAMP eruption produced an abrupt sulfur aerosol cooling lasting several years or decades, depending eruption duration. But there were many of these coolings as opposed to the few super-greenhouse warmings suggested by the CO2 proxy data (4,5). The scale of these sulfur injections would have been orders of magnitude larger than anything seen historically (8) possibly leading to freezing tropical temperatures. Both cruotarsians and dinosaurs as well as most other "reptiles", with their presumably uricotelic nitrogen waste systems (9) were been relatively resistant to heat induced water stress, but the former lack insolation, while the

  2. Restoration of marine ecosystems following the end-Permian mass extinction: pattern and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Z.

    2013-12-01

    Life came closest to complete annihilation during the end-Permian mass extinction (EPME). Pattern and cause of this great dying have long been disputed. Similarly, there is also some debate on the recovery rate and pattern of marine organisms in the aftermath of the EPME. Some clades recovered rapidly, within the first 1-3 Myr of the Triassic. For instance, foraminiferal recovery began 1 Myr into the Triassic and was not much affected by Early Triassic crises. Further, some earliest Triassic body and trace fossil assemblages are also more diverse than predicted. Others, ie. Brachiopods, corals etc., however, did not rebound until the Middle Triassic. In addition, although ammonoids recovered fast, reaching a higher diversity by the Smithian than in the Late Permian, much of this Early Triassic radiation was within a single group, the Ceratitina, and their morphological disparity did not expand until the end-Spathian. Here, I like to broaden the modern ecologic network model to explore the complete trophic structure of fossilized ecosystems during the Permian-Triassic transition as a means of assessing the recovery. During the Late Permian and Early Triassic, primary producers, forming the lowest trophic level, were microbes. The middle part of the food web comprises primary and meso-consumer trophic levels, the former dominated by microorganisms such as foraminifers, the latter by opportunistic communities (i.e. disaster taxa), benthic shelly communities, and reef-builders. They were often consumed by invertebrate and vertebrate predators, the top trophic level. Fossil record from South China shows that the post-extinction ecosystems were degraded to a low level and typified by primary producers or opportunistic consumers, which are represented by widespread microbialites or high-abundance, low-diversity communities. Except for some opportunists, primary consumers, namely foraminifers, rebounded in Smithian. Trace-makers recovered in Spathian, which also saw

  3. Depressed rates of origination and extinction during the late Paleozoic ice age: A new state for the global marine ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Steven M.; Powell, Matthew G.

    2003-10-01

    Rates of origination and extinction for marine animal genera dropped to low levels in latest Mississippian time, immediately after massive glaciers formed in the Southern Hemisphere and a second-order mass extinction occurred. Evolutionary turnover and diversity remained low for ˜50 m.y., shifting markedly upward precisely when extensive glaciation ended in Early Permian time. All diverse taxa with good fossil records experienced low rates of origination and extinction during this major ice age. Such sluggish rates would be predicted for faunas of shallow seas on or adjacent to a heavily glaciated supercontinent such as Pangea, where cool and highly seasonal thermal regimes should dictate that species have broad ecological niches, widespread geographic distributions, and large and relatively stable populations.

  4. Body size reductions in nonmammalian eutheriodont therapsids (Synapsida) during the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Huttenlocker, Adam K

    2014-01-01

    The extent to which mass extinctions influence body size evolution in major tetrapod clades is inadequately understood. For example, the 'Lilliput effect,' a common feature of mass extinctions, describes a temporary decrease in body sizes of survivor taxa in post-extinction faunas. However, its signature on existing patterns of body size evolution in tetrapods and the persistence of its impacts during post-extinction recoveries are virtually unknown, and rarely compared in both geologic and phylogenetic contexts. Here, I evaluate temporal and phylogenetic distributions of body size in Permo-Triassic therocephalian and cynodont therapsids (eutheriodonts) using a museum collections-based approach and time series model fitting on a regional stratigraphic sequence from the Karoo Basin, South Africa. I further employed rank order correlation tests on global age and clade rank data from an expanded phylogenetic dataset, and performed evolutionary model testing using Brownian (passive diffusion) models. Results support significant size reductions in the immediate aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction (ca. 252.3 Ma) consistent with some definitions of Lilliput effects. However, this temporal succession reflects a pattern that was underscored largely by Brownian processes and constructive selectivity. Results also support two recent contentions about body size evolution and mass extinctions: 1) active, directional evolution in size traits is rare over macroevolutionary time scales and 2) geologically brief size reductions may be accomplished by the ecological removal of large-bodied species without rapid originations of new small-bodied clades or shifts from long-term evolutionary patterns. PMID:24498335

  5. Historical data as a baseline for conservation: reconstructing long-term faunal extinction dynamics in Late Imperial–modern China

    PubMed Central

    Turvey, Samuel T.; Crees, Jennifer J.; Di Fonzo, Martina M. I.

    2015-01-01

    Extinction events typically represent extended processes of decline that cannot be reconstructed using short-term studies. Long-term archives are necessary to determine past baselines and the extent of human-caused biodiversity change, but the capacity of historical datasets to provide predictive power for conservation must be assessed within a robust analytical framework. Local Chinese gazetteers represent a more than 400-year country-level dataset containing abundant information on past environmental conditions and include extensive records of gibbons, which have a restricted present-day distribution but formerly occurred across much of China. Gibbons show pre-twentieth century range contraction, with significant fragmentation by the mid-eighteenth century and population loss escalating in the late nineteenth century. Isolated gibbon populations persisted for about 40 years before local extinction. Populations persisted for longer at higher elevations, and disappeared earlier from northern and eastern regions, with the biogeography of population loss consistent with the contagion model of range collapse in response to human demographic expansion spreading directionally across China. The long-term Chinese historical record can track extinction events and human interactions with the environment across much longer timescales than are usually addressed in ecology, contributing novel baselines for conservation and an increased understanding of extinction dynamics and species vulnerability or resilience to human pressures. PMID:26246553

  6. Historical data as a baseline for conservation: reconstructing long-term faunal extinction dynamics in Late Imperial-modern China.

    PubMed

    Turvey, Samuel T; Crees, Jennifer J; Di Fonzo, Martina M I

    2015-08-22

    Extinction events typically represent extended processes of decline that cannot be reconstructed using short-term studies. Long-term archives are necessary to determine past baselines and the extent of human-caused biodiversity change, but the capacity of historical datasets to provide predictive power for conservation must be assessed within a robust analytical framework. Local Chinese gazetteers represent a more than 400-year country-level dataset containing abundant information on past environmental conditions and include extensive records of gibbons, which have a restricted present-day distribution but formerly occurred across much of China. Gibbons show pre-twentieth century range contraction, with significant fragmentation by the mid-eighteenth century and population loss escalating in the late nineteenth century. Isolated gibbon populations persisted for about 40 years before local extinction. Populations persisted for longer at higher elevations, and disappeared earlier from northern and eastern regions, with the biogeography of population loss consistent with the contagion model of range collapse in response to human demographic expansion spreading directionally across China. The long-term Chinese historical record can track extinction events and human interactions with the environment across much longer timescales than are usually addressed in ecology, contributing novel baselines for conservation and an increased understanding of extinction dynamics and species vulnerability or resilience to human pressures. PMID:26246553

  7. ON THE PROPORTIONALITY OF FINE MASS CONCENTRATION AND EXTINCTION COEFFICIENT FOR BIMODAL SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    For a bimodal size distribution of ambient aerosol, an upper limit in particle size can be chosen for the fine aerosol fraction so that the extinction coefficient for light scattering and absorption is directly proportional to the fine mass concentration, with no dependence on th...

  8. Conodont index fossil Hindeodus changxingensis Wang fingers greatest mass extinction event

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Metcalfe, I.; Nicoll, R.S.; Wardlaw, B.R.

    2007-01-01

    The marine conodont fossil species, Hindeodus changxingensis Wang, that has a distinctive morphology, is restricted to a very narrow stratigraphic interval essentially from the Permian-Triassic extinction event through the internationally recognized boundary and into the very earliest Triassic. The species is geographically widespread in the Tethyan Region, from Italy to South China, and serves as a characteristic index fossil to reliably identify this short but critical interval that encompasses the greatest mass extinction of life on earth and the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras. ?? 2007 Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS.

  9. Diversification events and the effects of mass extinctions on Crocodyliformes evolutionary history.

    PubMed

    Bronzati, Mario; Montefeltro, Felipe C; Langer, Max C

    2015-05-01

    The rich fossil record of Crocodyliformes shows a much greater diversity in the past than today in terms of morphological disparity and occupation of niches. We conducted topology-based analyses seeking diversification shifts along the evolutionary history of the group. Our results support previous studies, indicating an initial radiation of the group following the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction, here assumed to be related to the diversification of terrestrial protosuchians, marine thalattosuchians and semi-aquatic lineages within Neosuchia. During the Cretaceous, notosuchians embodied a second diversification event in terrestrial habitats and eusuchian lineages started diversifying before the end of the Mesozoic. Our results also support previous arguments for a minor impact of the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction on the evolutionary history of the group. This argument is not only based on the information from the fossil record, which shows basal groups surviving the mass extinction and the decline of other Mesozoic lineages before the event, but also by the diversification event encompassing only the alligatoroids in the earliest period after the extinction. Our results also indicate that, instead of a continuous process through time, Crocodyliformes diversification was patchy, with events restricted to specific subgroups in particular environments and time intervals. PMID:26064649

  10. Diversification events and the effects of mass extinctions on Crocodyliformes evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    Bronzati, Mario; Montefeltro, Felipe C.; Langer, Max C.

    2015-01-01

    The rich fossil record of Crocodyliformes shows a much greater diversity in the past than today in terms of morphological disparity and occupation of niches. We conducted topology-based analyses seeking diversification shifts along the evolutionary history of the group. Our results support previous studies, indicating an initial radiation of the group following the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction, here assumed to be related to the diversification of terrestrial protosuchians, marine thalattosuchians and semi-aquatic lineages within Neosuchia. During the Cretaceous, notosuchians embodied a second diversification event in terrestrial habitats and eusuchian lineages started diversifying before the end of the Mesozoic. Our results also support previous arguments for a minor impact of the Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction on the evolutionary history of the group. This argument is not only based on the information from the fossil record, which shows basal groups surviving the mass extinction and the decline of other Mesozoic lineages before the event, but also by the diversification event encompassing only the alligatoroids in the earliest period after the extinction. Our results also indicate that, instead of a continuous process through time, Crocodyliformes diversification was patchy, with events restricted to specific subgroups in particular environments and time intervals. PMID:26064649

  11. Volcanism, mass extinction, and carbon isotope fluctuations in the Middle Permian of China.

    PubMed

    Wignall, Paul B; Sun, Yadong; Bond, David P G; Izon, Gareth; Newton, Robert J; Védrine, Stéphanie; Widdowson, Mike; Ali, Jason R; Lai, Xulong; Jiang, Haishui; Cope, Helen; Bottrell, Simon H

    2009-05-29

    The 260-million-year-old Emeishan volcanic province of southwest China overlies and is interbedded with Middle Permian carbonates that contain a record of the Guadalupian mass extinction. Sections in the region thus provide an opportunity to directly monitor the relative timing of extinction and volcanism within the same locations. These show that the onset of volcanism was marked by both large phreatomagmatic eruptions and extinctions amongst fusulinacean foraminifers and calcareous algae. The temporal coincidence of these two phenomena supports the idea of a cause-and-effect relationship. The crisis predates the onset of a major negative carbon isotope excursion that points to subsequent severe disturbance of the ocean-atmosphere carbon cycle. PMID:19478179

  12. Volcanism, Mass Extinction, and Carbon Isotope Fluctuations in the Middle Permian of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wignall, Paul B.; Sun, Yadong; Bond, David P. G.; Izon, Gareth; Newton, Robert J.; Védrine, Stéphanie; Widdowson, Mike; Ali, Jason R.; Lai, Xulong; Jiang, Haishui; Cope, Helen; Bottrell, Simon H.

    2009-05-01

    The 260-million-year-old Emeishan volcanic province of southwest China overlies and is interbedded with Middle Permian carbonates that contain a record of the Guadalupian mass extinction. Sections in the region thus provide an opportunity to directly monitor the relative timing of extinction and volcanism within the same locations. These show that the onset of volcanism was marked by both large phreatomagmatic eruptions and extinctions amongst fusulinacean foraminifers and calcareous algae. The temporal coincidence of these two phenomena supports the idea of a cause-and-effect relationship. The crisis predates the onset of a major negative carbon isotope excursion that points to subsequent severe disturbance of the ocean-atmosphere carbon cycle.

  13. Metal-induced malformations in early Palaeozoic plankton are harbingers of mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vandenbroucke, Thijs R. A.; Emsbo, Poul; Munnecke, Axel; Nuns, Nicolas; Duponchel, Ludovic; Lepot, Kevin; Quijada, Melesio; Paris, Florentin; Servais, Thomas; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-08-01

    Glacial episodes have been linked to Ordovician-Silurian extinction events, but cooling itself may not be solely responsible for these extinctions. Teratological (malformed) assemblages of fossil plankton that correlate precisely with the extinction events can help identify alternate drivers of extinction. Here we show that metal poisoning may have caused these aberrant morphologies during a late Silurian (Pridoli) event. Malformations coincide with a dramatic increase of metals (Fe, Mo, Pb, Mn and As) in the fossils and their host rocks. Metallic toxins are known to cause a teratological response in modern organisms, which is now routinely used as a proxy to assess oceanic metal contamination. Similarly, our study identifies metal-induced teratology as a deep-time, palaeobiological monitor of palaeo-ocean chemistry. The redox-sensitive character of enriched metals supports emerging `oceanic anoxic event' models. Our data suggest that spreading anoxia and redox cycling of harmful metals was a contributing kill mechanism during these devastating Ordovician-Silurian palaeobiological events.

  14. Metal-induced malformations in early Palaeozoic plankton are harbingers of mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Vandenbroucke, Thijs R. A.; Emsbo, Poul; Munnecke, Axel; Nuns, Nicolas; Duponchel, Ludovic; Lepot, Kevin; Quijada, Melesio; Paris, Florentin; Servais, Thomas; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Glacial episodes have been linked to Ordovician–Silurian extinction events, but cooling itself may not be solely responsible for these extinctions. Teratological (malformed) assemblages of fossil plankton that correlate precisely with the extinction events can help identify alternate drivers of extinction. Here we show that metal poisoning may have caused these aberrant morphologies during a late Silurian (Pridoli) event. Malformations coincide with a dramatic increase of metals (Fe, Mo, Pb, Mn and As) in the fossils and their host rocks. Metallic toxins are known to cause a teratological response in modern organisms, which is now routinely used as a proxy to assess oceanic metal contamination. Similarly, our study identifies metal-induced teratology as a deep-time, palaeobiological monitor of palaeo-ocean chemistry. The redox-sensitive character of enriched metals supports emerging ‘oceanic anoxic event' models. Our data suggest that spreading anoxia and redox cycling of harmful metals was a contributing kill mechanism during these devastating Ordovician–Silurian palaeobiological events. PMID:26305681

  15. Metal-induced malformations in early Palaeozoic plankton are harbingers of mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Vandenbroucke, Thijs R A; Emsbo, Poul; Munnecke, Axel; Nuns, Nicolas; Duponchel, Ludovic; Lepot, Kevin; Quijada, Melesio; Paris, Florentin; Servais, Thomas; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Glacial episodes have been linked to Ordovician-Silurian extinction events, but cooling itself may not be solely responsible for these extinctions. Teratological (malformed) assemblages of fossil plankton that correlate precisely with the extinction events can help identify alternate drivers of extinction. Here we show that metal poisoning may have caused these aberrant morphologies during a late Silurian (Pridoli) event. Malformations coincide with a dramatic increase of metals (Fe, Mo, Pb, Mn and As) in the fossils and their host rocks. Metallic toxins are known to cause a teratological response in modern organisms, which is now routinely used as a proxy to assess oceanic metal contamination. Similarly, our study identifies metal-induced teratology as a deep-time, palaeobiological monitor of palaeo-ocean chemistry. The redox-sensitive character of enriched metals supports emerging 'oceanic anoxic event' models. Our data suggest that spreading anoxia and redox cycling of harmful metals was a contributing kill mechanism during these devastating Ordovician-Silurian palaeobiological events. PMID:26305681

  16. A novel proxy links CAMP volcanism with end-Triassic mass extinction and early Jurassic evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruhl, M.; Bjerrum, C. J.; Frei, R.

    2011-12-01

    Global mass extinction events are marked by a major loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and the global collapse of ecosystems during times of extensive volcanic activity and the emplacement of large igneous provinces (LIPs). Large-scale greenhouse gas release, initiated by volcanism, had a profound impact on global geochemical cycles (e.g. initiating strong perturbations in δ13C records). Hence, these events may be regarded as natural deep-time analogues for studying mechanistic feedbacks between rapid and large/scale greenhouse gas emissions, environmental change and biotic crises. Such studies require high resolution stratigraphic correlation between volcanic activity, disruption of global geochemical cycles and biotic crises, which at present is poorly constrained. Here we present a novel proxy that records explosive continental volcanic activity in distant marine shale sediments. The proxy builds on the relative abundance of the trace elements Lu, Hf, Y and Nb (monitored as the (Lu/ Hf)/(Y/ Nb)-ratio). We test the method on a marine sedimentary record comprising Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) volcanism and the associated end-Triassic global mass extinction, at ~201.38 Ma. We show that the onset of sharp well-defined peaks in the (Lu/ Hf)/(Y/ Nb)-ratio coincides with the end-Triassic biotic crisis. Subsequent subordinate peaks closely correspond to periods of early Jurassic biotic radiation and evolution. Large-scale volcanic activity therefore not only initiated the end-Triassic mass extinction, it possibly also actively punctuated and regulated the pace of early Jurassic evolution. Further, the proxy also records the timing of Siberian Traps volcanism relative to the end-Permian mass extinction, the largest extinction in Earth's history. Hence, this proxy for the first time allows causality studies between increased volcanic activity, disruption of global geochemical cycles and global biodiversity loss, in unprecedented stratigraphic

  17. Assessing the impact of late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions on global vegetation and climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brault, M.-O.; Mysak, L. A.; Matthews, H. D.; Simmons, C. T.

    2013-08-01

    The end of the Pleistocene was a turning point for the Earth system as climate gradually emerged from millennia of severe glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere. The deglacial climate change coincided with an unprecedented decline in many species of Pleistocene megafauna, including the near-total eradication of the woolly mammoth. Due to an herbivorous diet that presumably involved large-scale tree grazing, the mammoth extinction has been associated with the rapid expansion of dwarf deciduous trees in Siberia and Beringia, thus potentially contributing to the changing climate of the period. In this study, we use the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic ESCM) to simulate the possible effects of these extinctions on climate during the latest deglacial period. We have explored various hypothetical scenarios of forest expansion in the northern high latitudes, quantifying the biogeophysical effects in terms of changes in surface albedo and air temperature. These scenarios include a Maximum Impact Scenario (MIS) which simulates the greatest possible post-extinction reforestation in the model, and sensitivity tests which investigate the timing of extinction, the fraction of trees grazed by mammoths, and the southern extent of mammoth habitats. We also show the results of a simulation with free atmospheric CO2-carbon cycle interactions. For the MIS, we obtained a surface albedo increase and global warming of 0.006 and 0.175 °C, respectively. Less extreme scenarios produced smaller global mean temperature changes, though local warming in some locations exceeded 0.3 °C even in the more realistic extinction scenarios. In the free CO2 simulation, the biogeophysical-induced warming was amplified by a biogeochemical effect, whereby the replacement of high-latitude tundra with shrub forest led to a release of soil carbon to the atmosphere and a small atmospheric CO2 increase. Overall, our results suggest the potential for a small, though non-trivial, effect of

  18. Assessing the impact of late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions on global vegetation and climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brault, Marc-Olivier; Mysak, Lawrence; Damon Matthews, H.; Simmons, Christopher

    2013-04-01

    The end of the Pleistocene marked a turning point for the Earth system as the climate gradually emerged from millennia of severe glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere. It is widely known that the deglacial climate change was accompanied by an unprecedented decline in many species of large terrestrial mammals, featuring among others the near-total eradication of the woolly mammoth. Due to an herbivorous diet that involved the grazing of a large number of trees, their extinction is thought to have contributed to the rapid and well-documented expansion of dwarf deciduous trees in Siberia and Beringia, which in turn could have affected the surface albedo of Northern Continents, and contributed to the changing climate of the period. In this study, we use the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic ESCM) to simulate the possible effects of megafaunal extinctions on Pleistocene climate change. We have introduced various hypothetical scenarios of megafaunal extinctions ranging from catastrophic to more realistic cases, in order to quantify their potential impact on climate via the associated biogeophysical effects of expanding vegetation on regional and global temperature. In particular, we focus our attention on a Maximum Impact Scenario (MIS), which represents the greatest possible post-extinction reforestation in the model. The more realistic experiments include sensitivity tests based on the timing of extinction, the amount of tree clearance associated with mammoth diets, and the size of mammoth habitats. We also show the results of a simulation with free (non-prescribed) atmospheric CO2. For the most extreme extinction scenario, we obtained a surface albedo increase of 0.006, which resulted in a global warming of 0.175°C. Less extreme scenarios produced smaller global mean temperature changes, though local warming in some locations exceeded 0.3°C even in the more realistic extinction scenarios. In the simulation with freely evolving atmospheric CO2

  19. Fear extinction, persistent disruptive behavior and psychopathic traits: fMRI in late adolescence.

    PubMed

    Cohn, Moran D; van Lith, Koen; Kindt, Merel; Pape, Louise E; Doreleijers, Theo A H; van den Brink, Wim; Veltman, Dick J; Popma, Arne

    2016-07-01

    Children diagnosed with a Disruptive Behavior Disorder (DBD, i.e. Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder), especially those with psychopathic traits, are at risk of developing persistent and severe antisocial behavior. Reduced fear conditioning has been proposed to underlie persistent antisocial development. However, we have recently shown that both DBD persisters and desisters are characterized by increased fear conditioning compared with healthy controls (HCs). In this study, we investigated whether brain function during fear extinction is associated with DBD subgroup-membership and psychopathic traits. Adolescents from a childhood arrestee cohort (mean age 17.6 years, s.d. 1.4) who met criteria for a DBD diagnosis during previous assessments were re-assessed and categorized as persistent DBD (n = 25) or desistent DBD (n = 25). Functional MRI during the extinction phase of a classical fear-conditioning task was used to compare regional brain function between these subgroups and 25 matched controls. Both DBD persisters and desisters showed hyperreactivity during fear extinction, when compared with HCs. Impulsive-irresponsible psychopathic traits were positively associated with responses in the fear neurocircuitry and mediated the association between neural activation and group membership. These results suggest that fear acquisition and fear extinction deficits may provide an endophenotype for an emotionally hyperreactive subtype of antisocial development. PMID:26048179

  20. Pre-Wisconsinan mammals from Jamaica and models of late Quaternary extinction in the greater Antilles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacPhee, R. D. E.; Ford, Derek C.; McFarlane, Donald A.

    1989-01-01

    The vertebrate fauna recovered from indurated conglomerates at Wallingford Roadside Cave (central Jamaica) is shown to be in excess of 100,000 yr old according to uranium series and electron spin resonance dating. The Wallingford local fauna is therefore pre-Wisconsinan in age, and Roadside Cave is now the oldest radiometrically dated locality in the West Indies containing identifiable species of land mammals. In the absence of a good radiometric record for Quaternary paleontological sites in the Caribbean, there is no satisfactory basis for determining whether most extinct Antillean mammals died out in a "blitzkrieg"-like event immediately following initial human colonization in the mid-Holocene. Fossils of Clidomys (Heptaxodontidae, Caviomorpha), the giant Wallingford rodent, have never been found in situ in sediments of demonstrably Holocene age, and its extinction may antedate the middle Holocene. This is also a possibility for the primate Xenothrix mcgregori, although its remains have been found in loose cave earth. A major, climate-driven bout of terrestrial vertebrate extinction at about 14,000-12,000 yr B.P. has been hypothesized for the West Indies by G. Pregill and S. L. Olson ( Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics12, 75-98, 1981), but at present there is nothing to connect the disappearance of Clidomys with this event either. Quaternary extinctions in the Caribbean may prove to be of critical significance for evaluating the reality of New World blitzkrieg, but not until an effort is mounted to constrain them rigorously using modern radiometric approaches.

  1. Anoxia, sealevel changes and mass extinctions at the Devonian/Carboniferous boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiser, S. I.; Steuber, T.; Becker, R. T.

    2003-04-01

    During the Latest Devonian, the transition from global greenhouse to icehouse conditions began with a first glaciation pulse in SW Gondwana. Decisive palaeoclimatic and palaeoceanographic changes are reflected in the multiphase Late Devonian Hangenberg Event. Mass extinctions, blackshale and sandstone deposits in different palaeogeographical settings were the result of eustatic sea level changes, and probably also of variations in the composition and temperature of seawater during the Late Devonian -- Early Carboniferous. The investigated boundary sections from different palaeogeographical settings include localities in Europe and North Africa. Detailed bed-by-bed sampling of limestones, and field observations on the sedimentology of intercalated siliciclastics were considered important in order to achieve a high-resolution biostratigraphical zonation, precise records of biofacies evolution, and correlation of changes in sedimentary environments. The carbon isotopic composition of micritic limestones and the oxygen isotopic composition of conodont apatite provide important information about palaeoceanographic changes and perturbations in the global carbon cycle during the event interval. Detailed investigations of the sedimentology in Moroccan sections indicate significant variations of facies patterns over short distances. The Famennian pelagic carbonate platform of North-Gondwana was not re-established in the latest Famennian or in the post-event early Tournaisian, which yielded new rich goniatites from blackshales and sandstones. These observations and microfacies analyses from other sections of different palaeolatitudes are important for the reconstruction and correlation of global transgression-regression cycles. The first results of biostratigraphical correlations will be presented together with carbon isotope data of micritic limestone collected from boundary sections in the Rheinische Schiefergebirge and in the Carnic Alps. A slight but continuous decrease

  2. Asteroid/comet impact clusters, flood basalts and mass extinctions: Significance of isotopic age overlaps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glikson, Andrew

    2005-08-01

    Morgan et al. [J. Phipps Morgan, T.J. Reston, C.R. Ranero. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 217 (2004) 263-284.], referring to an overlap between the isotopic ages of volcanic events and four epoch/stage extinction boundaries, suggest a dominant role of Continental Flood Basalts (CFB) and of explosive CO 2-rich volcanic pipes ("Verneshots") as mass extinction triggers. Here I point out that Morgan et al. overlook 3 overlaps between the ages of extraterrestrial impacts, volcanic and mass extinction events, and 3 overlaps between the ages of extraterrestrial impact and volcanic events. These overlaps suggest that both extraterrestrial impacts and volcanism served as extinction triggers separately or in combination. A protracted impact cluster overlaps extinctions at the end-Devonian (˜374-359 Ma) and impact-extinction age overlaps occur in the end-Jurassic (˜145-142 Ma), Aptian (˜125-112 Ma); Cenomanian-Turonian (˜95-94 Ma); K-T boundary (˜65.5 Ma) and mid-Miocene (˜16 Ma) ( Table 1). Morgan et al. appear to question the uniqueness of shock metamorphic and geochemical criteria used to identify asteroid/comet impacts. However, shock pressures at 8-35 GPa, indicated by intra-crystalline planar deformation features (PDF), exceed lithospheric and volcanic explosion pressures by an order of magnitude and are not known to be associated with explosive volcanic diatremes, kimberlites or lamproites. These authors make reference to apparent iridium anomalies of volcanic origin. However, platinum group element (PGE) abundance levels, volatile/refractory PGE ratios, and Cr and Os isotopes of meteoritic materials are clearly distinct from those of terrestrial volcanics. Given a Phanerozoic time-integrated oceanic/continent crustal ratio > 2.5 and the difficulty in identifying oceanic impacts, I suggest the effects of large impacts on thin thermally active oceanic crust-capable of triggering regional to global mafic volcanic events and ensuing environmental effects-provide an

  3. Volcanism, Impacts and Mass Extinctions: A case study of the Deccan Traps and its global effects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, G.

    2012-12-01

    The nature and causes of mass extinctions in the geological past have remained topics of intense scientific debate for the past three decades. Central to this debate is the question of whether one, or several large bolide impacts, the eruption of large igneous provinces (LIP) or a combination of the two were the primary mechanisms driving the environmental changes that are universally regarded as the proximate causes for four of the five major Phanerozoic extinction events. Recent years have seen a revolution in our understanding of interplanetary environments, LIP eruptions and their environmental effects such that the simple impact-kill scenario no longer seems an adequate explanation for the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (KTB) or any other mass extinction. The KTB is the only mass extinction associated with both impact (Chixculub) and flood basalts (Deccan Traps) and therefore an excellent case study to evaluate the potential causes and effects. Deccan eruptions likely occurred as "pulses", with some gigantic megaflows 1500 km across India and with estimated volumes >10,000 km3 that may have erupted over very short time intervals. For comparison, the largest historical basalt eruption in 1783 in Iceland (Laki) ejected some 15 km3 of lava in about a year. A single Deccan megaflow would have been equivalent to 667 Laki. The vast amount of carbon and sulphur dioxides injected into the atmosphere from just one Deccan megaflow would have been on the same order of magnitude as those estimated for the Chicxulub impact. Deccan Traps erupted in three main phases with 6% total Deccan volume in phase-1 (base C30n), 80% in phase-2 (C29r) and 14% in phase-3 (C29n). Phase-2 and phase-3 each produced four giant megaflows leading to the KTB mass extinction and the long delayed biotic recovery, respectively. Data from infra- and intertrappean sediments of these megaflows drilled in the Krishna-Godavari Basin by India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation reveal swift and devastating

  4. Long-term evolution of an ecosystem with spontaneous periodicity of mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Lipowski, Adam; Lipowska, Dorota

    2006-08-01

    Twenty years ago, after analysing palaeontological data, Raup and Sepkoski suggested that mass extinctions on Earth appear cyclically in time with a period of approximately 26 million years (My). To explain the 26My period, a number of proposals were made involving, e.g., astronomical effects, increased volcanic activity, or the Earth's magnetic field reversal, none of which, however, has been confirmed. Here we study a spatially extended discrete model of an ecosystem and show that the periodicity of mass extinctions might be a natural feature of the ecosystem's dynamics and not the result of a periodic external perturbation. In our model, periodic changes of the diversity of an ecosystem and some of its other characteristics are induced by the coevolution of species. In agreement with some palaeontological data, our results show that the longevity of a species depends on the evolutionary stage at which the species is created. Possible further tests of our model are also discussed. PMID:17046374

  5. Late pleistocene Australian marsupial DNA clarifies the affinities of extinct megafaunal kangaroos and wallabies.

    PubMed

    Llamas, Bastien; Brotherton, Paul; Mitchell, Kieren J; Templeton, Jennifer E L; Thomson, Vicki A; Metcalf, Jessica L; Armstrong, Kyle N; Kasper, Marta; Richards, Stephen M; Camens, Aaron B; Lee, Michael S Y; Cooper, Alan

    2015-03-01

    Understanding the evolution of Australia's extinct marsupial megafauna has been hindered by a relatively incomplete fossil record and convergent or highly specialized morphology, which confound phylogenetic analyses. Further, the harsh Australian climate and early date of most megafaunal extinctions (39-52 ka) means that the vast majority of fossil remains are unsuitable for ancient DNA analyses. Here, we apply cross-species DNA capture to fossils from relatively high latitude, high altitude caves in Tasmania. Using low-stringency hybridization and high-throughput sequencing, we were able to retrieve mitochondrial sequences from two extinct megafaunal macropodid species. The two specimens, Simosthenurus occidentalis (giant short-faced kangaroo) and Protemnodon anak (giant wallaby), have been radiocarbon dated to 46-50 and 40-45 ka, respectively. This is significantly older than any Australian fossil that has previously yielded DNA sequence information. Processing the raw sequence data from these samples posed a bioinformatic challenge due to the poor preservation of DNA. We explored several approaches in order to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio in retained sequencing reads. Our findings demonstrate the critical importance of adopting stringent processing criteria when distant outgroups are used as references for mapping highly fragmented DNA. Based on the most stringent nucleotide data sets (879 bp for S. occidentalis and 2,383 bp for P. anak), total-evidence phylogenetic analyses confirm that macropodids consist of three primary lineages: Sthenurines such as Simosthenurus (extinct short-faced kangaroos), the macropodines (all other wallabies and kangaroos), and the enigmatic living banded hare-wallaby Lagostrophus fasciatus (Lagostrophinae). Protemnodon emerges as a close relative of Macropus (large living kangaroos), a position not supported by recent morphological phylogenetic analyses. PMID:25526902

  6. Assessing the impact of late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions on global vegetation and climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brault, M.-O.; Mysak, L. A.; Matthews, H. D.; Simmons, C. T.

    2013-01-01

    The end of the Pleistocene marked a turning point for the Earth system as climate gradually emerged from millennia of severe glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere. It is widely acknowledged that the deglacial climate change coincided with an unprecedented decline in many species of large terrestrial mammals, including the near-total eradication of the woolly mammoth. Due to an herbivorous diet that presumably involved large-scale tree grazing, the mammoth expansion would have accelerated the expansion of dwarf deciduous trees in Siberia and Beringia, thus contributing to the changing climate of the period. In this study, we use the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic ESCM) to simulate the possible effects of megafaunal extinctions on Pleistocene climate change. We have explored various hypothetical scenarios of forest expansion in the Northern Continents, quantifying the regional and global biogeophysical effects in terms of changes in surface albedo and air temperature. In particular, we focus our attention on a Maximum Impact Scenario (MIS) which simulates the greatest possible post-extinction reforestation in the model. More realistic experiments include sensitivity tests based on the timing of extinction, the fraction of trees grazed by mammoths, and the size of mammoth habitats. We also show the results of a simulation with free (non-prescribed) atmospheric CO2. For the MIS, we obtained a surface albedo increase of 0.006, which resulted in a global warming of 0.175 °C. Less extreme scenarios produced smaller global mean temperature changes, though local warming in some locations exceeded 0.3 °C even in the more realistic extinction scenarios. In the free CO2 simulation, the biogeophysical-induced warming was amplified by a biogeochemical effect whereby the replacement of high-latitude tundra with shrub forest led to a release of soil carbon to the atmosphere and a small atmospheric CO2 increase. Overall, our results suggest the potential

  7. Mass extinction of the marine biota at the Ordovician-Silurian transition due to environmental changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2014-11-01

    The terminal Ordovician was marked by one of five great mass extinction events of the Phanerozoic (445.6-443.0 Ma ago), when up to 86% of the marine species became extinct. The rapid onset of the continental glaciation on Gondwana determined by its position in the South Pole area; the cooling; the hydrodynamic changes through the entire water column in the World Ocean; and the corresponding sea level fall, which was responsible for the reduction of shelf areas and shallow-water basins, i.e., the main ecological niche of the Ordovician marine biota, were main prerequisites of the stress conditions. Similar to other mass extinction events, these processes were accompanied by volcanism, impact events, a corresponding reduction of the photosynthesis and bioproductivity, the destruction of food chains, and anoxia. The appearance and development of terrestrial plants and microphytoplankton, which consumed atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus, diminishing the greenhouse effect and promoting the transition of the climatic system to the glacial mode, played a unique role in that period.

  8. A Unified Theory of Impact Crises and Mass Extinctions: Quantitative Tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Haggerty, Bruce M.; Pagano, Thomas C.

    1997-01-01

    Several quantitative tests of a general hypothesis linking impacts of large asteroids and comets with mass extinctions of life are possible based on astronomical data, impact dynamics, and geological information. The waiting of large-body impacts on the Earth derive from the flux of Earth-crossing asteroids and comets, and the estimated size of impacts capable of causing large-scale environmental disasters, predict that impacts of objects greater than or equal to 5 km in diameter (greater than or equal to 10 (exp 7) Mt TNT equivalent) could be sufficient to explain the record of approximately 25 extinction pulses in the last 540 Myr, with the 5 recorded major mass extinctions related to impacts of the largest objects of greater than or equal to 10 km in diameter (greater than or equal to 10(exp 8) Mt Events). Smaller impacts (approximately 10 (exp 6) Mt), with significant regional environmental effects, could be responsible for the lesser boundaries in the geologic record.

  9. Earth's biggest 'whodunnit': unravelling the clues in the case of the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Rosalind V.

    2002-12-01

    The mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago, was the most devastating loss of life that Earth has ever experienced. It is estimated that ca.96% of marine species were wiped out and land plants, reptiles, amphibians and insects also suffered. The causes of this catastrophic event are currently a topic of intense debate. The geological record points to significant environmental disturbances, for example, global warming and stagnation of ocean water. A key issue is whether the Earth's feedback mechanisms can become unstable on their own, or whether some forcing is required to precipitate a catastrophe of this magnitude. A prime suspect for pushing Earth's systems into a critical condition is massive end-Permian Siberian volcanism, which would have pumped large quantities of carbon dioxide and toxic gases into the atmosphere. Recently, it has been postulated that Earth was also the victim of a bolide impact at this time. If further research substantiates this claim, it raises some intriguing questions. The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, 65 million years ago, was contemporaneous with both an impact and massive volcanism. Are both types of calamity necessary to drive Earth to the brink of faunal cataclysm? We do not presently have enough pieces of the jigsaw to solve the mystery of the end-Permian extinction, but the forensic work continues.

  10. Rapid expansion of oceanic anoxia immediately before the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Brennecka, Gregory A; Herrmann, Achim D; Algeo, Thomas J; Anbar, Ariel D

    2011-10-25

    Periods of oceanic anoxia have had a major influence on the evolutionary history of Earth and are often contemporaneous with mass extinction events. Changes in global (as opposed to local) redox conditions can be potentially evaluated using U system proxies. The intensity and timing of oceanic redox changes associated with the end-Permian extinction horizon (EH) were assessed from variations in (238)U/(235)U (δ(238)U) and Th/U ratios in a carbonate section at Dawen in southern China. The EH is characterized by shifts toward lower δ(238)U values (from -0.37‰ to -0.65‰), indicative of an expansion of oceanic anoxia, and higher Th/U ratios (from 0.06 to 0.42), indicative of drawdown of U concentrations in seawater. Using a mass balance model, we estimate that this isotopic shift represents a sixfold increase in the flux of U to anoxic facies, implying a corresponding increase in the extent of oceanic anoxia. The intensification of oceanic anoxia coincided with, or slightly preceded, the EH and persisted for an interval of at least 40,000 to 50,000 y following the EH. These findings challenge previous hypotheses of an extended period of whole-ocean anoxia prior to the end-Permian extinction. PMID:21987794

  11. Earth's biggest 'whodunnit': unravelling the clues in the case of the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    White, Rosalind V

    2002-12-15

    The mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago, was the most devastating loss of life that Earth has ever experienced. It is estimated that ca. 96% of marine species were wiped out and land plants, reptiles, amphibians and insects also suffered. The causes of this catastrophic event are currently a topic of intense debate. The geological record points to significant environmental disturbances, for example, global warming and stagnation of ocean water. A key issue is whether the Earth's feedback mechanisms can become unstable on their own, or whether some forcing is required to precipitate a catastrophe of this magnitude. A prime suspect for pushing Earth's systems into a critical condition is massive end-Permian Siberian volcanism, which would have pumped large quantities of carbon dioxide and toxic gases into the atmosphere. Recently, it has been postulated that Earth was also the victim of a bolide impact at this time. If further research substantiates this claim, it raises some intriguing questions. The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, 65 million years ago, was contemporaneous with both an impact and massive volcanism. Are both types of calamity necessary to drive Earth to the brink of faunal cataclysm? We do not presently have enough pieces of the jigsaw to solve the mystery of the end-Permian extinction, but the forensic work continues. PMID:12626276

  12. Avian evolution, Gondwana biogeography and the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event.

    PubMed Central

    Cracraft, J.

    2001-01-01

    The fossil record has been used to support the origin and radiation of modern birds (Neornithes) in Laurasia after the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction event, whereas molecular clocks have suggested a Cretaceous origin for most avian orders. These alternative views of neornithine evolution are examined using an independent set of evidence, namely phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography. Pylogenetic relationships of basal lineages of neornithines, including ratite birds and their allies (Palaleocognathae), galliforms and anseriforms (Galloanserae), as well as lineages of the more advanced Neoves (Gruiformes, (Capimulgiformes, Passeriformes and others) demonstrate pervasive trans-Antarctic distribution patterns. The temporal history of the neornithines can be inferred from fossil taxa and the ages of vicariance events, and along with their biogeographical patterns, leads to the conclusion that neornithines arose in Gondwana prior to the Cretaceous Tertiary extinction event. PMID:11296857

  13. Body-size reduction in vertebrates following the end-Devonian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sallan, Lauren; Galimberti, Andrew K

    2015-11-13

    Following the end-Devonian mass extinction (359 million years ago), vertebrates experienced persistent reductions in body size for at least 36 million years. Global shrinkage was not related to oxygen or temperature, which suggests that ecological drivers played a key role in determining the length and direction of size trends. Small, fast-breeding ray-finned fishes, sharks, and tetrapods, most under 1 meter in length from snout to tail, radiated to dominate postextinction ecosystems and vertebrae biodiversity. The few large-bodied, slow-breeding survivors failed to diversify, facing extinction despite earlier evolutionary success. Thus, the recovery interval resembled modern ecological successions in terms of active selection on size and related life histories. Disruption of global vertebrate, and particularly fish, biotas may commonly lead to widespread, long-term reduction in body size, structuring future biodiversity. PMID:26564854

  14. Magma-salt interactions and degassing from the Tunguska Basin, Siberia: Towards a new killer model for the P-Tr mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svensen, H.; Planke, S.; Polozov, A.; Schmidbauer, N.

    2006-12-01

    Life on Earth was severely affected during the Permo-Triasic mass extinction. A 5-10º C global warming and oceanic anoxia accompanied the mass extinction. There is a consensus that massive volcanic eruptions from the Siberian Traps Large igneous province 251 million years ago played a key role in the environmental catastrophe. However, the actual mechanisms are strongly debated. We present new field, geochemical and experimental data that links both the mass extinction and the global warming to processes in the Tunguska Basin in Siberia. The basin is composed of dominantly Cambrian evaporates and Ordovician to Permian marine to terrestrial carbonates, sandstones, shales and coals. During the formation of the Siberian Traps, these sediments were intruded by magmatic sills and dykes. The emplacement resulted in heating of the sedimentary host rocks, gas generation and formation of hundreds of explosion pipes. The pipes are rooted in a 1-2 km thick evaporate sequence (halite, anhydrate, dolostone) and contain brecciated and altered sedimentary and magmatic rocks. Borehole data show intense alteration in the contact aureoles around sill intrusions and around the pipes. Heating experiments of hydrocarbon-bearing evaporates show that gases generated during metamorphism include CO2, SO2 and a range of halocarbons and sulfur-bearing hydrocarbon gases. Furthermore, chloride isotope data from the contact aureoles support a removal of Cl during metamorphism. Our results demonstrate that metamorphism and degassing from the Tunguska Basin provided the necessary components to cause an environmental disaster, including destruction of the Late Permian ozone layer.

  15. A general theory of impacts and mass extinctions, and the consequences of large-body impact on the Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, M. R.

    1994-01-01

    The theory that large-body impacts are the primary cause of mass extinctions of life on the Earth now has a sound theoretical and observational foundation. A convergence of evidence suggests that the biosphere may be a sensitive detector of large impact events, which result in the recorded global mass extinction pulses. The astronomically observed flux of asteroids and comets in the neighborhood of the Earth, and the threshold impact size calculated to produce a global environment catastrophe, can be used to predict a time history of large impact events and related mass extinctions of life that agrees well with the record of approx. 24 extinction events in the last 540 m.y.

  16. Oxygen escape from the Earth during geomagnetic reversals: Implications to mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Yong; Pu, Zuyin; Zong, Qiugang; Wan, Weixing; Ren, Zhipeng; Fraenz, Markus; Dubinin, Eduard; Tian, Feng; Shi, Quanqi; Fu, Suiyan; Hong, Minghua

    2014-05-01

    The evolution of life is affected by variations of atmospheric oxygen level and geomagnetic field intensity. Oxygen can escape into interplanetary space as ions after gaining momentum from solar wind, but Earth's strong dipole field reduces the momentum transfer efficiency and the ion outflow rate, except for the time of geomagnetic polarity reversals when the field is significantly weakened in strength and becomes Mars-like in morphology. The newest databases available for the Phanerozoic era illustrate that the reversal rate increased and the atmospheric oxygen level decreased when the marine diversity showed a gradual pattern of mass extinctions lasting millions of years. We propose that accumulated oxygen escape during an interval of increased reversal rate could have led to the catastrophic drop of oxygen level, which is known to be a cause of mass extinction. We simulated the oxygen ion escape rate for the Triassic-Jurassic event, using a modified Martian ion escape model with an input of quiet solar wind inferred from Sun-like stars. The results show that geomagnetic reversal could enhance the oxygen escape rate by 3-4 orders only if the magnetic field was extremely weak, even without consideration of space weather effects. This suggests that our hypothesis could be a possible explanation of a correlation between geomagnetic reversals and mass extinction. Therefore, if this causal relation indeed exists, it should be a "many-to-one" scenario rather the previously considered "one-to-one", and planetary magnetic field should be much more important than previously thought for planetary habitability.

  17. An Earth-system perspective on ocean deoxygenation during the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cui, Y.

    2014-12-01

    Global ocean anoxia has been proposed to be the cause of the end-Permian (252 Ma) marine extinction event. Evidence for global-scale anoxia mainly comes from the study of organic geochemistry, framboidal pyrite, and redox-sensitive elements, although disagreement exists with respect to the interpretation of the observed patterns. Climate models with biogeochemical components often fail to generate global-scale anoxia induced by warming alone, unless increased phosphate level is invoked. Here, I use the carbon isotope inversion approach in an Earth system model of intermediate complexity (GENIE) with modern phosphate levels to investigate ocean deoxygenation due to global warming through continuous CO­2 emission. I evaluate the temporal and spatial extent of ocean deoxygenation for a best-fit scenario that represents contact metamorphism of organic-rich sediments (δ13C = -25‰) during Siberian Traps volcanism eruption. This scenario is characterized by total peak amount of ~30,000 Gt of carbon and global sea surface temperature increase of 5 oC (Cui et al., 2014). The global surface ocean oxygen concentration shows only a modest decrease (from 230 to 215 µmol kg-1) during peak C emission, whereas the global deep ocean oxygen concentration shows a 70% decrease (from 160 to 50 µmol kg-1). During peak C emission, the oxygen minimum zone (~800 m depth) expands vertically and horizontally, and vast regions in the deep northern Panthalassa becomes hypoxic (<50 µmol kg-1) while the deep southern Panthalassa remains oxygenated. The minimum oxygen concentration is coincident with the peak extinction and minimum surface saturation state, suggesting ocean deoxygenation and ocean acidification might go hand in hand causing the largest extinction of all time. Reference Cui, Y., L. Kump, et al. (2014 in press). Spatial and temporal patterns of ocean acidification during the end-Permian mass extinction - An Earth system model evaluation. Volcanism and Global Environmental

  18. Assessing the Role of Anhydrite in the KT Mass Extinction: Hints from Shock-loading Experiments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Skala, R.; Lnagenhorst, F.; Hoerz, F.

    2004-01-01

    Various killing mechanisms have been suggested to contribute to the mass extinctions at the KT boundary, including severe, global deterioration of the atmosphere and hydrosphere due to SO(x) released from heavily shocked, sulfate-bearing target rocks. The devolatilization of anhydrite is predominantly inferred from thermodynamic considerations and lacks experimental confirmation. To date, the experimentally determined shock behavior of anhydrite is limited to solid-state effects employing X-ray diffraction methods. The present report employs additional methods to characterize experimentally shocked anhydrite.

  19. Estimating How Often Mass Extinctions Due to Impacts Occur on the Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Buratti, Bonnie J.

    2013-01-01

    This hands-on, inquiry based activity has been taught at JPL's summer workshop "Teachers Touch the Sky" for the past two decades. Students act as mini-investigators as they gather and analyze data to estimate how often an impact large enough to cause a mass extinction occurs on the Earth. Large craters are counted on the Moon, and this number is extrapolated to the size of the Earth. Given the age of the Solar System, the students can then estimate how often large impacts occur on the Earth. This activity is based on an idea by Dr. David Morrison, NASA Ames Research Center.

  20. Audiogram, body mass, and basilar papilla length: correlations in birds and predictions for extinct archosaurs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gleich, Otto; Dooling, Robert J.; Manley, Geoffrey A.

    2005-12-01

    The inner ear in the group of archosaurs (birds, crocodilians, and extinct dinosaurs) shows a high degree of structural similarity, enabling predictions of their function in extinct species based on relationships among similar variables in living birds. Behavioral audiograms and morphological data on the length of the auditory sensory epithelium (the basilar papilla) are available for many avian species. By bringing different data sets together, we show that body mass and the size of the basilar papilla are significantly correlated, and the most sensitive frequency in a given species is inversely related to the body mass and the length of the basilar papilla. We also demonstrate that the frequency of best hearing is correlated with the high-frequency limit of hearing. Small species with a short basilar papilla hear higher frequencies compared with larger species with a longer basilar papilla. Based on the regression analysis of two significant correlations in living archosaurs (best audiogram frequency vs body mass and best audiogram frequency vs papillar length), we suggest that hearing in large dinosaurs was restricted to low frequencies with a high-frequency limit below 3 kHz.

  1. Probing Late Neutrino Mass Properties With SupernovaNeutrinos

    SciTech Connect

    Baker, Joseph; Goldberg, Haim; Perez, Gilad; Sarcevic, Ina

    2007-08-08

    Models of late-time neutrino mass generation contain new interactions of the cosmic background neutrinos with supernova relic neutrinos (SRNs). Exchange of an on-shell light scalar may lead to significant modification of the differential SRN flux observed at earth. We consider an Abelian U(1) model for generating neutrino masses at low scales, and show that there are cases for which the changes induced in the flux allow one to distinguish the Majorana or Dirac nature of neutrinos, as well as the type of neutrino mass hierarchy (normal or inverted or quasi-degenerate). In some region of parameter space the determination of the absolute values of the neutrino masses is also conceivable. Measurements of the presence of these effects may be possible at the next-generation water Cerenkov detectors enriched with Gadolinium, or a 100 kton liquid argon detector.

  2. Interaction of the reasons for the mass biota extinctions in the Phanerozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2013-11-01

    The consideration of the conditions during the mass extinctions has shown that a series of factors, including mutually independent tectonic movements, variations in the sea level and climate, volcanism, asteroid impacts, changes in the composition of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, the dimming of the atmosphere by aerosols at volcanism and impact events, etc., had a harmful affect during some periods of time (a hundred thousand years to millions of years). Some of the listed events occurred for a long period of time and could not have caused the abrupt catastrophic death of organisms on a global scale. The examination of the hierarchy of the major events allows us to distinguish the primary terrestrial (volcanism) and cosmic (impact events) reasons for the mass extinctions. The coeval mutually independent events testify to the common external reasons for the higher order beyond the solar system. These events are suggested to be related with the orbital movement of the solar system around the galaxy's center, the intersection of the galactic branches, and the oscillations of the solar system's position relative to the galactic plane. These reasons influence the processes on the Earth, including the internal and external geospheres, and activate the impacts of asteroids and comets. Under their effect, two main subsequences of events are developed: terrestrial, leading to intense volcanism, and cosmic impact events. In both cases, harmful chemical elements and aerosols are vented to the atmosphere, thus resulting in the greenhouse effect, warming, the dimming of the atmosphere, the prevention of photosynthesis, the ocean's stagnation, and anoxia with the following reduction of the bioproductivity, the destruction of the food chains, and the extinction of a significant part of the biota.

  3. The role of igneous and metamorphic processes in triggering mass extinctions and Earth crises

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svensen, Henrik; Planke, Sverre; Polozov, Alexander G.; Jerram, Dougal; Jones, Morgan T.

    2016-04-01

    Mass extinctions and transient climate events commonly coincide in time with the formation of Large igneous provinces (LIPs). The end-Permian event coincides with the Siberian Traps, the end-Triassic with the Central Atlantic Magmatic Event (CAMP), the Toarcian with the Karoo LIP, and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) with the North Atlantic Igneous Province. Although the temporal relationship between volcanism and the environmental crises has been known for decades, the geological processes linking LIPs to these environmental events are strongly debated: Explosive LIP volcanism should lead to short term cooling (not long term warming), mantle CO2 is too 13C-enriched to explain negative 13C carbon isotope excursions from sedimentary sequences, the LIP volcanism is poorly dated and apparently lasts much longer that the associated environmental events, large portions of the LIPs remain poorly explored, especially the sub-volcanic parts where sills and dikes are emplaced in sedimentary host rocks, and thus gas flux estimates from contact aureoles around sill intrusions are often poorly constrained. In this presentation, we discuss the status of LIP research with an emphasis on the sub volcanic processes. We show that potential for degassing of greenhouse gases, aerosols, and ozone destructive gases is substantial and can likely explain the triggering of both climatic events and mass extinctions.

  4. Compound-specific carbon isotopes from Earth's largest flood basalt eruptions directly linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Whiteside, Jessica H; Olsen, Paul E; Eglinton, Timothy; Brookfield, Michael E; Sambrotto, Raymond N

    2010-04-13

    A leading hypothesis explaining Phanerozoic mass extinctions and associated carbon isotopic anomalies is the emission of greenhouse, other gases, and aerosols caused by eruptions of continental flood basalt provinces. However, the necessary serial relationship between these eruptions, isotopic excursions, and extinctions has never been tested in geological sections preserving all three records. The end-Triassic extinction (ETE) at 201.4 Ma is among the largest of these extinctions and is tied to a large negative carbon isotope excursion, reflecting perturbations of the carbon cycle including a transient increase in CO(2). The cause of the ETE has been inferred to be the eruption of the giant Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). Here, we show that carbon isotopes of leaf wax derived lipids (n-alkanes), wood, and total organic carbon from two orbitally paced lacustrine sections interbedded with the CAMP in eastern North America show similar excursions to those seen in the mostly marine St. Audrie's Bay section in England. Based on these results, the ETE began synchronously in marine and terrestrial environments slightly before the oldest basalts in eastern North America but simultaneous with the eruption of the oldest flows in Morocco, a CO(2) super greenhouse, and marine biocalcification crisis. Because the temporal relationship between CAMP eruptions, mass extinction, and the carbon isotopic excursions are shown in the same place, this is the strongest case for a volcanic cause of a mass extinction to date. PMID:20308590

  5. Late Diagenesis and Mass Transfer in Sandstone Shale Sequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milliken, K. L.

    2003-12-01

    , involving only compaction and dewatering of sedimentary materials. Detrital phases that survived weathering were seen as essentially inert to subsequent reaction during burial and prior to the onset of metamorphism. Metamorphism itself was viewed as isochemical and accomplished principally through solid-state reactions (see a brief summary in Ague, 1991). Notable exceptions to these views constitute the foundations of existing theory regarding the nature of late diagenesis. "Intrastratal solution" of chemically unstable detrital minerals (e.g., Pettijohn, 1941), apparent potassium metasomatism of shales (e.g., Weaver and Beck, 1971), and massive mineralogical changes during progressive burial (e.g., Coombs et al., 1959) are observations that established the directions of modern research in late diagenesis. Advances in petrographic imaging techniques (e.g., backscattered electron- and cathodoluminescence-imaging) and integration of petrographic observations with both bulk and spatially resolved chemical analyses have greatly accelerated the evolution of concepts about late diagenesis and early metamorphism.Today, basin-scale mass transfer of some materials (e.g., helium, water, and petroleum) is unquestioned (e.g., Hunt, 1996). Other materials (e.g., titanium and the REEs) are sufficiently mobile to appear within authigenic precipitates, but are likely to be "immobile" on the scale of a hand specimen. Mobilities of the major elements that make up sandstones and shales (silicon, aluminum, calcium, sodium, potassium) remain controversial. Conflicting notions about processes in rock suites across the wide range of burial conditions and alteration show that fundamental questions remain unanswered about the nature of the volumetrically significant processes within a major segment of the rock cycle. It is very likely that something is wrong, or at least inadequate, with the present concepts and/or data pertaining to the evolution of permeability, transport mechanisms, and timing

  6. Identifying the pollen of an extinct spruce species in the Late Quaternary sediments of the Tunica Hills region, south-eastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Luke Mander; Jacklyn Rodriguez; Pietra G. Mueller; Jackson, Stephen T.; Surangi W. Punyasena

    2014-01-01

    Late Quaternary fluvial deposits in the Tunica Hills region of Louisiana and Mississippi are rich in spruce macrofossils of the extinct species Picea critchfieldii, the one recognized plant extinction of the Late Quaternary. However, the morphology of P. critchfieldii pollen is unknown, presenting a barrier to the interpretation of pollen spectra from the last glacial of North America. To address this issue, we undertook a morphometric study of Picea pollen from Tunica Hills. Morphometric data, together with qualitative observations of pollen morphology using Apotome fluorescence microscopy, indicate that Picea pollen from Tunica Hills is morphologically distinct from the pollen of P. glauca, P. mariana and P. rubens. Measurements of grain length, corpus width and corpus height indicate that Picea pollen from Tunica Hills is larger than the pollen of P. mariana and P. rubens, and is slightly larger than P. glauca pollen. We argue that the morphologically distinctive Tunica Hills Picea pollen was probably produced by the extinct spruce species P. critchfieldii. These morphological differences could be used to identify P. critchfieldii in existing and newly collected pollen records, which would refine its paleoecologic and biogeographic history and clarify the nature and timing of its extinction in the Late Quaternary.

  7. Carbon cycle perturbation and stabilization in the wake of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass-extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Schootbrugge, B.; Payne, J. L.; Tomasovych, A.; Pross, J.; Fiebig, J.; Benbrahim, M.; FöLlmi, K. B.; Quan, T. M.

    2008-04-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass-extinction event (T-J; 199.6 Ma) is associated with major perturbations in the carbon cycle recorded in stable carbon isotopes. Two rapid negative isotope excursions in bulk organic carbon (δ13Corg) occur within the immediate boundary interval at multiple locations and have been linked to the outgassing of 12C-enriched CO2 from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. In British Columbia, a positive δ13Corg excursion of +5‰ (Vienna Peedee belemnite (V-PDB)) spans part or all of the subsequent Hettangian stage. Here, we examine the significance of these carbon isotope excursions as records of global carbon cycle dynamics across the T-J boundary and test the link between carbon cycle perturbation-stabilization and biotic extinction-recovery patterns. A combination of δ13Corg and palynological analyses from the Late Triassic to Early Jurassic in the Mingolsheim core (Germany) suggests that organic carbon isotope variations are best explained as the result of both compositional changes in terrestrial versus marine input and disturbance and recovery patterns of major terrestrial plant groups across the T-J boundary. A new high-resolution δ13Ccarb record from the Val Adrara section in the Southern Alps (Italy) spanning from the uppermost Rhaetian through Lower Sinemurian does not exhibit a negative excursion at the T-J boundary but does record a large positive δ13Ccarb excursion of +4‰ (V-PDB) in bulk carbonate that begins at the T-J boundary and reaches a local maximum at the Early Late Hettangian boundary. Values then gradually decrease reaching +0.5‰ at the Hettangian-Sinemurian boundary and remain relatively constant into the Early Sinemurian. Complementary δ13Ccarb data from 4 more sections that span the Hettangian-Sinemurian boundary support carbon cycle stabilization within the Upper Hettangian. Our analyses suggest that isotope changes in organic carbon reservoirs do not necessarily require a shift in the global

  8. Deccan Volcanism: a main trigger of environmental changes leading to the KTB mass extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adatte, Thierry; Fantasia, Alicia; Samant, Bandana; Mohabey, Dhananjay; Keller, Gerta; Gertsch, Brian

    2014-05-01

    The nature and causes of mass extinctions in the geological past have remained topics of intense scientific debate for the past three decades. Central to this debate is the question of whether the eruption of large igneous provinces (LIP) was the primary mechanism driving the environmental changes that are commonly regarded as the proximate causes for four of the five major Phanerozoic extinction events. Model results predict that Deccan Traps emplacement was responsible for a strong increase in atmospheric pCO2 accompanied by rapid warming of 4°C that was followed by global cooling. During the warming phase, increased continental weathering of silicates associated with consumption of atmospheric CO2 likely resulted in the drawdown of greenhouse gases that reversed the warming trend leading to global cooling at the end of the Maastrichtian. Massive CO2 input together with massive release of SO2 may thus have triggered the mass extinctions in the marine realm as a result of ocean acidification leading to a carbon crisis and in the terrestrial realms due to acid rains. Global stress conditions related to these climatic changes are well known and documented in planktic foraminifera by a diversity decrease, species dwarfing, dominance of opportunistic species and near disappearance of specialized species. Deccan Traps erupted in three main phases with 6% total Deccan volume in phase-1 (base C30n), 80% in phase-2 (C29r) and 14% in phase-3 (C29n). Recent studies indicate that the bulk (80%) of Deccan trap eruptions (Phase-2) occurred over a relatively short time interval in magnetic polarity C29r, whereas multiproxy studies from central and southeastern India place the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) mass extinction near the end of this main phase of Deccan volcanism suggesting a cause-and-effect relationship. In India a strong floral response is observed as a direct response to Deccan volcanic phase-2. In Lameta (infratrappean) sediments preceding the volcanic eruptions

  9. Dinosaur bone beds and mass mortality: Implications for the K-T extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carpenter, Kenneth

    1988-01-01

    Mass accumulations of fossilized large terrestrial vertebrate skeletons (bone beds: BB) provide a test for K-T catastrophic extinction hypotheses. The two major factors contributing to BB formation are mode of death and sedimentation rate. Catastrophic mass mortality (CMM) is the sudden death of numerous individuals where species, age, health, gender, or social ranking offer no survivorship advantage. Noncatastrophic mass mortality (NCMM) occurs over time and is strongly influenced by species, age, or gender. In addition to cause of death, sedimentation rate is also important in BB formation. Models of BBs can be made. The CMM drops all individuals in their tracks, therefore, the BB should reflect the living population with respect to species, age, or gender. The NCMM results in monospecific BBs skewed in the direction of the less fit, usually the very young or very old, or towards a specific gender. The NCMM and AM BBs may become more similar the more spread out over time NCMM deaths occur because carcasses are widely scattered requiring hydraulic accumulation, and the greater time allows for more disarticulation and weathering. The CMM and NCMM BB appear to be dominated by social animals. Applying this and the characteristics of mortality patterns to the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation indicates that only NCMM and AM BB occur. Furthermore, NCMM BB are rare in the upper third of the Hell Creek. Near the K-T boundary, only AM BB are known. The absence of CMM and NCMM BB appears to be real reflecting a decrease in population levels of some dinosaurs prior to the K-T event. The absence of CMM suggests that the K-T event did not lead to an instantaneous extinction of dinosaurs. Nor was there a protracted die-off due to an asteroid impact winter, because no NCMM BB are known at or near the K-T boundary.

  10. Earth history. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Schoene, Blair; Samperton, Kyle M; Eddy, Michael P; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Bowring, Samuel A; Khadri, Syed F R; Gertsch, Brian

    2015-01-01

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact (Mexico) and the eruption of the massive Deccan volcanic province (India) are two proposed causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which includes the demise of nonavian dinosaurs. Despite widespread acceptance of the impact hypothesis, the lack of a high-resolution eruption timeline for the Deccan basalts has prevented full assessment of their relationship to the mass extinction. Here we apply uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon geochronology to Deccan rocks and show that the main phase of eruptions initiated ~250,000 years before the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and that >1.1 million cubic kilometers of basalt erupted in ~750,000 years. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Deccan Traps contributed to the latest Cretaceous environmental change and biologic turnover that culminated in the marine and terrestrial mass extinctions. PMID:25502315

  11. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoene, Blair; Samperton, Kyle M.; Eddy, Michael P.; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Bowring, Samuel A.; Khadri, Syed F. R.; Gertsch, Brian

    2015-01-01

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact (Mexico) and the eruption of the massive Deccan volcanic province (India) are two proposed causes of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which includes the demise of nonavian dinosaurs. Despite widespread acceptance of the impact hypothesis, the lack of a high-resolution eruption timeline for the Deccan basalts has prevented full assessment of their relationship to the mass extinction. Here we apply uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon geochronology to Deccan rocks and show that the main phase of eruptions initiated ~250,000 years before the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and that >1.1 million cubic kilometers of basalt erupted in ~750,000 years. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Deccan Traps contributed to the latest Cretaceous environmental change and biologic turnover that culminated in the marine and terrestrial mass extinctions.

  12. Changes in environmental conditions as the cause of the marine biota Great Mass Extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2016-02-01

    In the interval of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, 80% of the marine species became extinct. Four main hypotheses about the causes of this mass extinction are considered: volcanism, climatic oscillations, sea level variations accompanied by anoxia, and asteroid impact events. The extinction was triggered by an extensive flooding of basalts in the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. Furthermore, a number of meteoritic craters have been found. Under the effect of cosmic causes, two main sequences of events developed on the Earth: terrestrial ones, leading to intensive volcanism, and cosmic ones (asteroid impacts). Their aftermaths, however, were similar in terms of the chemical compounds and aerosols released. As a consequence, the greenhouse effect, dimming of the atmosphere (impeding photosynthesis), ocean stagnation, and anoxia emerged. Then, biological productivity decreased and food chains were destroyed. Thus, the entire ecosystem was disturbed and a considerable part of the biota became extinct.

  13. Biogeography of worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) driven by end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Longrich, Nicholas R; Vinther, Jakob; Pyron, R Alexander; Pisani, Davide; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2015-05-01

    Worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) are burrowing squamates that live as subterranean predators. Their underground existence should limit dispersal, yet they are widespread throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. This pattern was traditionally explained by continental drift, but molecular clocks suggest a Cenozoic diversification, long after the break-up of Pangaea, implying dispersal. Here, we describe primitive amphisbaenians from the North American Palaeocene, including the oldest known amphisbaenian, and provide new and older molecular divergence estimates for the clade, showing that worm lizards originated in North America, then radiated and dispersed in the Palaeogene following the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) extinction. This scenario implies at least three trans-oceanic dispersals: from North America to Europe, from North America to Africa and from Africa to South America. Amphisbaenians provide a striking case study in biogeography, suggesting that the role of continental drift in biogeography may be overstated. Instead, these patterns support Darwin and Wallace's hypothesis that the geographical ranges of modern clades result from dispersal, including oceanic rafting. Mass extinctions may facilitate dispersal events by eliminating competitors and predators that would otherwise hinder establishment of dispersing populations, removing biotic barriers to dispersal. PMID:25833855

  14. An evaluation of criteria that may be used to identify species surviving a mass extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Macleod, N.

    1994-01-01

    One of the most difficult obstacles to establishing a causal connection between mass extinctions and large body impacts is the existence of what appear to be many more KT survivor species than previously suspected. Though interpretations of 'Cretaceous' faunal elements in lowermost Danian sediments differ, this enigmatic fauna has not been recovered from every biozone-complete boundary section, including the El Kef stratotype. In terms of their potential for providing constraints on scenarios seeking to account for the KT extinction event, the significance of such observations cannot be overstated. Owing to the consistency with which these observations have been made over the last several years, the possibility of widespread trans-KT biotic survivorship can no longer be dismissed. Rather, the survivorship hypothesis must be tested alongside its alternative (the reworking hypothesis) to determine which explains the available data in the most complete yet parsimonious manner. Moreover, valid tests for survivorship cannot be based on negative evidence or on the assumption that only a small cohort of species could have survived the KT boundary event. Several authors have recently proposed various criteria that might be used to test alternative interpretations for this aspect lowermost Danian biotic record.

  15. The timing and pattern of biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Zhong-Qiang; Benton, Michael J.

    2012-06-01

    The aftermath of the great end-Permian period mass extinction 252 Myr ago shows how life can recover from the loss of >90% species globally. The crisis was triggered by a number of physical environmental shocks (global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification and ocean anoxia), and some of these were repeated over the next 5-6 Myr. Ammonoids and some other groups diversified rapidly, within 1-3 Myr, but extinctions continued through the Early Triassic period. Triassic ecosystems were rebuilt stepwise from low to high trophic levels through the Early to Middle Triassic, and a stable, complex ecosystem did not re-emerge until the beginning of the Middle Triassic, 8-9 Myr after the crisis. A positive aspect of the recovery was the emergence of entirely new groups, such as marine reptiles and decapod crustaceans, as well as new tetrapods on land, including -- eventually -- dinosaurs. The stepwise recovery of life in the Triassic could have been delayed either by biotic drivers (complex multispecies interactions) or physical perturbations, or a combination of both. This is an example of the wider debate about the relative roles of intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of large-scale evolution.

  16. Global iridium anomaly, mass extinction, and redox change at the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, K. Univ. of Calgary, Alberta ); Attrep, M. Jr.; Orth, C.J. )

    1993-12-01

    Iridium abundance anomalies have been found on a global scale in the Devonian-Carboniferous (D-C) boundary interval, which records one of the largest Phanerozoic mass-extinction events, an event that devastated many groups of living organisms, such as plants, ammonoids, trilobites, conodonts, fish, foraminiferans, brachiopods, and ostracodes. At or very close to the D-C boundary, there exists a geographically widespread black-shale interval, and Ir abundances reach anomalous maxima of 0.148 ppb (Montagne Noire, France), 0.138 ppb (Alberta, Canada) 0.140 ppb (Carnic Alps, Austria), 0.156 ppb (Guangxi, China), 0.258 ppb (Guizhou, China), and 0.250 ppb (Oklahoma). The discovery of global D-C Ir anomalies argues for an impact-extinction model. However, nonchondritic ratios of Ir to other important elements and a lack of physical evidence (shocked quartz, microtektites) do not support such a scenario. The fact that all Ir abundance maxima are at sharp redox boundaries in these sections leads us to conclude that the Ir anomalies likely resulted from a sudden change in paleo-redox conditions during deposition and/or early diagenesis. 36 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  17. Biogeography of worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) driven by end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Longrich, Nicholas R.; Vinther, Jakob; Pyron, R. Alexander; Pisani, Davide; Gauthier, Jacques A.

    2015-01-01

    Worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) are burrowing squamates that live as subterranean predators. Their underground existence should limit dispersal, yet they are widespread throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. This pattern was traditionally explained by continental drift, but molecular clocks suggest a Cenozoic diversification, long after the break-up of Pangaea, implying dispersal. Here, we describe primitive amphisbaenians from the North American Palaeocene, including the oldest known amphisbaenian, and provide new and older molecular divergence estimates for the clade, showing that worm lizards originated in North America, then radiated and dispersed in the Palaeogene following the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) extinction. This scenario implies at least three trans-oceanic dispersals: from North America to Europe, from North America to Africa and from Africa to South America. Amphisbaenians provide a striking case study in biogeography, suggesting that the role of continental drift in biogeography may be overstated. Instead, these patterns support Darwin and Wallace's hypothesis that the geographical ranges of modern clades result from dispersal, including oceanic rafting. Mass extinctions may facilitate dispersal events by eliminating competitors and predators that would otherwise hinder establishment of dispersing populations, removing biotic barriers to dispersal. PMID:25833855

  18. Variable impact of late-Quaternary megafaunal extinction in causing ecological state shifts in North and South America

    PubMed Central

    Barnosky, Anthony D.; Lindsey, Emily L.; Villavicencio, Natalia A.; Bostelmann, Enrique; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Wanket, James; Marshall, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

    Loss of megafauna, an aspect of defaunation, can precipitate many ecological changes over short time scales. We examine whether megafauna loss can also explain features of lasting ecological state shifts that occurred as the Pleistocene gave way to the Holocene. We compare ecological impacts of late-Quaternary megafauna extinction in five American regions: southwestern Patagonia, the Pampas, northeastern United States, northwestern United States, and Beringia. We find that major ecological state shifts were consistent with expectations of defaunation in North American sites but not in South American ones. The differential responses highlight two factors necessary for defaunation to trigger lasting ecological state shifts discernable in the fossil record: (i) lost megafauna need to have been effective ecosystem engineers, like proboscideans; and (ii) historical contingencies must have provided the ecosystem with plant species likely to respond to megafaunal loss. These findings help in identifying modern ecosystems that are most at risk for disappearing should current pressures on the ecosystems’ large animals continue and highlight the critical role of both individual species ecologies and ecosystem context in predicting the lasting impacts of defaunation currently underway. PMID:26504219

  19. Variable impact of late-Quaternary megafaunal extinction in causing ecological state shifts in North and South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnosky, Anthony D.; Lindsey, Emily L.; Villavicencio, Natalia A.; Bostelmann, Enrique; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Wanket, James; Marshall, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

    Loss of megafauna, an aspect of defaunation, can precipitate many ecological changes over short time scales. We examine whether megafauna loss can also explain features of lasting ecological state shifts that occurred as the Pleistocene gave way to the Holocene. We compare ecological impacts of late-Quaternary megafauna extinction in five American regions: southwestern Patagonia, the Pampas, northeastern United States, northwestern United States, and Beringia. We find that major ecological state shifts were consistent with expectations of defaunation in North American sites but not in South American ones. The differential responses highlight two factors necessary for defaunation to trigger lasting ecological state shifts discernable in the fossil record: (i) lost megafauna need to have been effective ecosystem engineers, like proboscideans; and (ii) historical contingencies must have provided the ecosystem with plant species likely to respond to megafaunal loss. These findings help in identifying modern ecosystems that are most at risk for disappearing should current pressures on the ecosystems' large animals continue and highlight the critical role of both individual species ecologies and ecosystem context in predicting the lasting impacts of defaunation currently underway.

  20. Variable impact of late-Quaternary megafaunal extinction in causing ecological state shifts in North and South America.

    PubMed

    Barnosky, Anthony D; Lindsey, Emily L; Villavicencio, Natalia A; Bostelmann, Enrique; Hadly, Elizabeth A; Wanket, James; Marshall, Charles R

    2016-01-26

    Loss of megafauna, an aspect of defaunation, can precipitate many ecological changes over short time scales. We examine whether megafauna loss can also explain features of lasting ecological state shifts that occurred as the Pleistocene gave way to the Holocene. We compare ecological impacts of late-Quaternary megafauna extinction in five American regions: southwestern Patagonia, the Pampas, northeastern United States, northwestern United States, and Beringia. We find that major ecological state shifts were consistent with expectations of defaunation in North American sites but not in South American ones. The differential responses highlight two factors necessary for defaunation to trigger lasting ecological state shifts discernable in the fossil record: (i) lost megafauna need to have been effective ecosystem engineers, like proboscideans; and (ii) historical contingencies must have provided the ecosystem with plant species likely to respond to megafaunal loss. These findings help in identifying modern ecosystems that are most at risk for disappearing should current pressures on the ecosystems' large animals continue and highlight the critical role of both individual species ecologies and ecosystem context in predicting the lasting impacts of defaunation currently underway. PMID:26504219

  1. Presence of the extinct sawfish, Onchosaurus (Neoselachii, Sclerorhynchiformes) in the Late Cretaceous of Peru with a review of the genus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Klug, Stefanie

    2012-11-01

    In this paper we report the first Peruvian record of the extinct giant sclerorhynchiform sawfish, Onchosaurus pharao. The single specimen consists of a characteristic rostral spine, which was recovered from nodular limestone in the West-Peruvian Trough of the central Andean Basin, close to the city of Cajamarca. The fossil-bearing strata belong to the lower part of the Celendin Formation, which is of middle-late Coniacian age. This specimen is the first Coniacian record of Onchosaurus pharao and constitutes the third known record of this sclerorhynchiform taxon in South America filling previous gaps in the stratigraphic and geographic distribution of this species. A review of the distribution patterns of both species assigned to Onchosaurus reveals that the genus originated in circum-Equatorial, tropical waters and subsequently dispersed along different pathways south- and northwards. Based on its palaeogeographic distribution and the size of the rostral spines, both Onchosaurus spp. are considered large, bottom-dwelling sclerorhynchiforms primarily inhabiting shallow marine, near-coastal environments. The palaeogeographic distribution nevertheless indicates that they were powerful swimmers and able to cross wide, open marine distances. The reason for the disappearance of Onchosaurus in the Campanian remains unknown. In the early Maastrichtian, Dalpiazia seemingly replaced Onchosaurus ecologically. However, we hypothesize that the different histologies of rostral spines of Onchosaurus and Dalpiazia are of minor taxonomic importance. Dalpiazia thus might represent a derived onchosaur rather than a distinct taxon.

  2. Evolutionary and Ecological Sequelae of Mass Extinctions: Examples From the Continental Triassic-Jurassic Boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olsen, P. E.; Whiteside, J. H.

    2003-12-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic boundary at ˜200 Ma marks one of the five major mass-extinctions of the Phanerozoic and, depending on the metrics used, was similar in magnitude to the K-T mass extinction. In continental environments about 50% of all tetrapod families are eliminated and although floral diversity change is difficult to gauge, a similar proportion of palynomorph taxa disappear at the boundary. The extinction event appears to have been very abrupt, followed by a roughly 900 ky super-greenhouse period characterized by increased precipitation. We hypothesize a series of biological consequences of the drop in diversity and associated super-greenhouse based on observations of the earliest Jurassic assemblages, largely from eastern North America. 1) The drop in diversity results in a collapse of ecological interactions that tend to stabilize the composition of regional biotas and buffer them from invading forms. Triassic assemblages show considerable biogeographic provinciality despite the existence of Pangea, but the earliest Jurassic assemblages were extraordinarily homogenous with many vertebrate genera being essentially global in distribution. 2) Initially the post-boundary terrestrial assemblages were comprised of eurytopic trophic generalists, with animal communities with few herbivores, but abundant carnivores and detritivores subsisting on aquatic-based food webs. The earliest Jurassic tetrapod footprint record is overwhelmingly dominated by the footprints of ceratosaurian theropod dinosaurs, the latter having skull characteristics usually associated at least in part with piscivory. 3) The dramatic size changes over very short periods of time were likely due to an absence of competition (i.e., ecological release). The maximum size of theropod dinosaur footprints increased by about 25% within 10 ky following the boundary, corresponding to a doubling of mass. 4) Representatives of clades with intrinsically high rates of speciation tend to form species flocks

  3. Test the Ocean Acidification Hypothesis during the End-Permian Mass Extinction Using an Earth System Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cui, Y.; Kump, L.; Ridgwell, A. J.; Meyer, K. M.

    2012-12-01

    The end-Permian is associated with a 3-5‰ carbon isotope excursion in the ocean-atmosphere system within 20 kyr, which could be explained by a rapid and large amount of greenhouse gas emission. This leads to the hypothesis of ocean acidification as a primary driver for the end-Permian mass extinction event. In order to test this hypothesis, we conducted a series of experiments varying initial and boundary conditions using an Earth system model of intermediate complexity (GENIE: http://www.genie.ac.uk/). The late Permian ocean has been proposed as a "Neritan" ocean due to lack of pelagic carbonate production. We test the ocean buffering capacity to rapid CO2 emission by turning on the pelagic carbonate factory to result in a "Cretan" ocean similar to today. Due to the uncertainties on reconstructed paleo-pCO2 records, we test the model sensitivity by varying the initial pCO2, ranging from 1× PAL (preindustrial atmospheric level), 5× PAL, 10× PAL to 20× PAL. Ocean saturation state with respect to calcite (aragonite) in the Late Permian is also a key uncertainty, estimates have been varying from Ωcalcite =2.5 to supersaturated state (Ωcalcite =10) (Ridgwell 2005; Montenegro et al. 2011). We test this key uncertainty in both the "Neritan" and "Cretan" ocean cases. GENIE was spun up for >200 kyr to allow sedimentary equilibrium to ensure the weathering input balance the sediment output. Temperature-dependent silicate weathering feedback is also turned on in the model as a driver of the long-term draw down of atmospheric pCO2. We then invert the model by forcing the atmosphere δ13C to track our prescribed carbon isotopes derived from Meishan section in South China and Gartnerkofel-1 core in Alps, Austria at each time step. The two carbon isotope records are statistically treated to remove the noise that could result in unrealistic fluctuations in the derivatives of δ13C. Due to the uncertainties in the age model applied on these two records and different

  4. Dental Disparity and Ecological Stability in Bird-like Dinosaurs prior to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Larson, Derek W; Brown, Caleb M; Evans, David C

    2016-05-23

    The causes, rate, and selectivity of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction continue to be highly debated [1-5]. Extinction patterns in small, feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs (including birds) are important for understanding extant biodiversity and present an enigma considering the survival of crown group birds (Neornithes) and the extinction of their close kin across the end-Cretaceous boundary [6]. Because of the patchy Cretaceous fossil record of small maniraptorans [7-12], this important transition has not been closely examined in this group. Here, we test the hypothesis that morphological disparity in bird-like dinosaurs was decreasing leading up to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, as has been hypothesized in some dinosaurs [13, 14]. To test this, we examined tooth morphology, an ecological indicator in fossil reptiles [15-19], from over 3,100 maniraptoran teeth from four groups (Troodontidae, Dromaeosauridae, Richardoestesia, and cf. Aves) across the last 18 million years of the Cretaceous. We demonstrate that tooth disparity, a proxy for variation in feeding ecology, shows no significant decline leading up to the extinction event within any of the groups. Tooth morphospace occupation also remains static over this time interval except for increased size during the early Maastrichtian. Our data provide strong support that extinction within this group occurred suddenly after a prolonged period of ecological stability. To explain this sudden extinction of toothed maniraptorans and the survival of Neornithes, we propose that diet may have been an extinction filter and suggest that granivory associated with an edentulous beak was a key ecological trait in the survival of some lineages. PMID:27112293

  5. The extinct, giant giraffid Sivatherium giganteum: skeletal reconstruction and body mass estimation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Sivatherium giganteum is an extinct giraffid from the Plio–Pleistocene boundary of the Himalayan foothills. To date, there has been no rigorous skeletal reconstruction of this unusual mammal. Historical and contemporary accounts anecdotally state that Sivatherium rivalled the African elephant in terms of its body mass, but this statement has never been tested. Here, we present a three-dimensional composite skeletal reconstruction and calculate a representative body mass estimate for this species using a volumetric method. We find that the estimated adult body mass of 1246 kg (857—1812 kg range) does not approach that of an African elephant, but confirms that Sivatherium was certainly a large giraffid, and may have been the largest ruminant mammal that has ever existed. We contrast this volumetric estimate with a bivariate scaling estimate derived from Sivatherium's humeral circumference and find that there is a discrepancy between the two. The difference implies that the humeral circumference of Sivatherium is greater than expected for an animal of this size, and we speculate this may be linked to a cranial shift in centre of mass. PMID:26763212

  6. The extinct, giant giraffid Sivatherium giganteum: skeletal reconstruction and body mass estimation.

    PubMed

    Basu, Christopher; Falkingham, Peter L; Hutchinson, John R

    2016-01-01

    Sivatherium giganteum is an extinct giraffid from the Plio-Pleistocene boundary of the Himalayan foothills. To date, there has been no rigorous skeletal reconstruction of this unusual mammal. Historical and contemporary accounts anecdotally state that Sivatherium rivalled the African elephant in terms of its body mass, but this statement has never been tested. Here, we present a three-dimensional composite skeletal reconstruction and calculate a representative body mass estimate for this species using a volumetric method. We find that the estimated adult body mass of 1246 kg (857-1812 kg range) does not approach that of an African elephant, but confirms that Sivatherium was certainly a large giraffid, and may have been the largest ruminant mammal that has ever existed. We contrast this volumetric estimate with a bivariate scaling estimate derived from Sivatherium's humeral circumference and find that there is a discrepancy between the two. The difference implies that the humeral circumference of Sivatherium is greater than expected for an animal of this size, and we speculate this may be linked to a cranial shift in centre of mass. PMID:26763212

  7. Biospheric Effects of the Chicxulub Impact and Their Role in the Cretaceous/Tertiary Mass Extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    1997-01-01

    A comprehensive analysis of volatiles in the Chicxulub impact strongly supports the hypothesis that impact-generated sulfate aerosols caused over a decade of global cooling, acid rain, and disruption of ocean circulation, which contributed to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary. The crater size, meteoritic content of the K/T boundary clay, and impact models indicate that the Chicxulub crater was formed by a short period comet or an asteroid impact that released 0.7-3.4 x 10(exp 31) ergs of energy. Impact models and experiments combined with estimates of volatiles in the projectile and target rocks predict that over 200 gigatons (Gt) each of SO2 and water vapor, and over 500 Gt of CO2, were globally distributed in the stratosphere by the impact.

  8. Recovery after mass extinction: evolutionary assembly in large-scale biosphere dynamics.

    PubMed Central

    Solé, Ricard V; Montoya, José M; Erwin, Douglas H

    2002-01-01

    Biotic recoveries following mass extinctions are characterized by a process in which whole ecologies are reconstructed from low-diversity systems, often characterized by opportunistic groups. The recovery process provides an unexpected window to ecosystem dynamics. In many aspects, recovery is very similar to ecological succession, but important differences are also apparently linked to the innovative patterns of niche construction observed in the fossil record. In this paper, we analyse the similarities and differences between ecological succession and evolutionary recovery to provide a preliminary ecological theory of recoveries. A simple evolutionary model with three trophic levels is presented, and its properties (closely resembling those observed in the fossil record) are compared with characteristic patterns of ecological response to disturbances in continuous models of three-level ecosystems. PMID:12079530

  9. Impact dust not the cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pope, Kevin O.

    2002-02-01

    Most of the 3-mm-thick globally distributed Chicxulub ejecta layer found at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary was deposited as condensation droplets from the impact vapor plume. A small fraction of this layer (<1%) is clastic debris. Theoretical calculations, coupled with observations of the coarse dust fraction, indicate that very little (<1014 g) was submicrometer-size dust. The global mass and grain-size distribution of the clastic debris indicate that stratospheric winds spread the debris from North America, over the Pacific Ocean, to Europe, and little debris reached high southern latitudes. These findings indicate that the original K-T impact extinction hypothesis—the shutdown of photosynthesis by submicrometer-size dust—is not valid, because it requires more than two orders of magnitude more fine dust than is estimated here. Furthermore, estimates of future impact hazards, which rely upon inaccurate impact-dust loadings, are greatly overstated.

  10. A microbial carbonate response in synchrony with the end-Triassic mass extinction across the SW UK

    PubMed Central

    Ibarra, Yadira; Corsetti, Frank A.; Greene, Sarah E.; Bottjer, David J.

    2016-01-01

    The eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP)—the largest igneous province known—has been linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction event, however reconciling the response of the biosphere (at local and nonlocal scales) to potential CAMP-induced geochemical excursions has remained challenging. Here we present a combined sedimentary and biological response to an ecosystem collapse in Triassic-Jurassic strata of the southwest United Kingdom (SW UK) expressed as widely distributed carbonate microbialites and associated biogeochemical facies. The microbialites (1) occur at the same stratigraphic level as the mass extinction extinction, (2) host a negative isotope excursion in δ13Corg found in other successions around the world, and (3) co-occur with an acme of prasinophyte algae ‘disaster taxa’ also dominant in Triassic-Jurassic boundary strata of other European sections. Although the duration of microbialite deposition is uncertain, it is likely that they formed rapidly (perhaps fewer than ten thousand years), thus providing a high-resolution glimpse into the initial carbon isotopic perturbation coincident with the end-Triassic mass extinction. These findings indicate microbialites from the SW UK capture a nonlocal biosedimentary response to the cascading effects of massive volcanism and add to the current understanding of paleoecology in the aftermath of the end-Triassic extinction. PMID:26813244

  11. A microbial carbonate response in synchrony with the end-Triassic mass extinction across the SW UK.

    PubMed

    Ibarra, Yadira; Corsetti, Frank A; Greene, Sarah E; Bottjer, David J

    2016-01-01

    The eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP)-the largest igneous province known-has been linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction event, however reconciling the response of the biosphere (at local and nonlocal scales) to potential CAMP-induced geochemical excursions has remained challenging. Here we present a combined sedimentary and biological response to an ecosystem collapse in Triassic-Jurassic strata of the southwest United Kingdom (SW UK) expressed as widely distributed carbonate microbialites and associated biogeochemical facies. The microbialites (1) occur at the same stratigraphic level as the mass extinction extinction, (2) host a negative isotope excursion in δ(13)Corg found in other successions around the world, and (3) co-occur with an acme of prasinophyte algae 'disaster taxa' also dominant in Triassic-Jurassic boundary strata of other European sections. Although the duration of microbialite deposition is uncertain, it is likely that they formed rapidly (perhaps fewer than ten thousand years), thus providing a high-resolution glimpse into the initial carbon isotopic perturbation coincident with the end-Triassic mass extinction. These findings indicate microbialites from the SW UK capture a nonlocal biosedimentary response to the cascading effects of massive volcanism and add to the current understanding of paleoecology in the aftermath of the end-Triassic extinction. PMID:26813244

  12. Winds in late-type stars - Mechanisms of mass outflow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Linsky, J. L.

    1981-01-01

    The four basic mechanisms that have been proposed for explaining the acceleration of winds in late-type stars are thermal pressure gradients, radiation pressure on circumstellar dust grains, momentum addition by Alfven waves, and momentum addition by periodic shock waves. Recent work in applying these mechanisms to stars is reviewed, with consideration given to whether these mechanisms can work, even in principle, and whether they are consistent with recent ultraviolet and X-ray data from the IUE and Einstein spacecraft. It is noted that thermally driven winds are likely important for late-type dwarfs, where the mass loss rates are small, and perhaps also in G giants and supergiants, but they cannot operate alone in the K and M giants and supergiants. It is thought that radiatively driven winds are probably unimportant for all cool stars, even the M supergiants with dusty circumstellar envelopes. In principle, Alfven waves can accelerate winds to high speeds so long as the field lines are initially open or forced open by some mechanism, but detailed calculations are needed. It is noted that, for the Miras and semiregular variable supergiants, periodic shock waves provide a simple way of producing rapid mass loss.

  13. The Lilliput effect in colonial organisms: cheilostome bryozoans at the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Sogot, Caroline E; Harper, Elizabeth M; Taylor, Paul D

    2014-01-01

    Consistent trends towards decreasing body size in the aftermath of mass extinctions--Lilliput effects--imply a predictable response among unitary animals to these events. The occurrence of Lilliput effects has yet to be widely tested in colonial organisms, which are of particular interest as size change may potentially occur at the two hierarchical levels of the colony and the individual zooids. Bryozoans are particularly useful organisms in which to study colonial size response as they have well-defined zooids. Additionally, a number of analyses of present-day bryozoans have shown that zooid size reflects local environmental conditions, most notably seawater temperature and possibly also food supply. Following the hypothesised decline in primary productivity at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction, it is predicted that bryozoan zooid size should decline in the early Paleogene, resulting in a Lilliput effect. To test this prediction, zooid size was compared across the K-Pg boundary at the assemblage level and also within 4 surviving genera. Analysis of 59 bryozoan species from assemblages on either side of the K-Pg boundary showed no significant change in zooid length. Zooid size was also measured in 98 Maastrichtian colonies and 162 Danian colonies belonging to four congeneric species. Only one of these genera showed a significant size decrease across the K-Pg boundary, the other three maintaining constant zooidal lengths, widths and areas. Additionally, the sizes of 210 Maastrichtian colonies and 163 Danian colonies did not show consistent size decrease across the K-Pg boundary in these same species, although maximum colony size did decline in three out of four genera. Furthermore, this lack of consistent size change is uniform between two distinct biogeographical regions, Denmark and the southeastern USA. PMID:24505275

  14. Synthetic extinction maps around intermediate-mass black holes in Galactic globular clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pepe, C.; Pellizza, L. J.

    2016-08-01

    During the last decades, much effort has been devoted to explain the discrepancy between the amount of intracluster medium (ICM) estimated from stellar evolution theories and that emerging from observations in globular clusters (GCs). One possible scenario is the accretion of this medium by an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) at the centre of the cluster. In this work, we aim at modelling the cluster colour-excess profile as a tracer of the ICM density, both with and without an IMBH. Comparing the profiles with observations allows us to test the existence of IMBHs and their possible role in the cleansing of the ICM. We derive the intracluster density profiles from hydrodynamical models of accretion on to a central IMBH in a GC and we determine the corresponding dust density. This model is applied to a list of 25 Galactic GCs. We find that central IMBHs decrease the ICM by several orders of magnitude. In a subset of nine clusters, the absence of the black hole combined with a low-ICM temperature would be at odds with present gas mass content estimations. As a result, we conclude that IMBHs are an effective cleansing mechanism of the ICM of GCs. We construct synthetic extinction maps for M 62 and ωCen, two clusters in the small subset of nine with observed 2D extinction maps. We find that under reasonable assumptions regarding the model parameters, if the gas temperature in M 62 is close to 8000 K, an IMBH needs to be invoked. Further ICM observations regarding both the gas and dust in GCs could help to settle this issue.

  15. Synthetic extinction maps around intermediate-mass black holes in Galactic globular clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pepe, C.; Pellizza, L. J.

    2016-08-01

    During the last decades, much effort has been devoted to explain the discrepancy between the amount of intracluster medium (ICM) estimated from stellar evolution theories and that emerging from observations in globular clusters (GCs). One possible scenario is the accretion of this medium by an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) at the centre of the cluster. In this work, we aim at modelling the cluster colour-excess profile as a tracer of the ICM density, both with and without an IMBH. Comparing the profiles with observations allows us to test the existence of IMBHs and their possible role in the cleansing of the ICM. We derive the intracluster density profiles from hydrodynamical models of accretion onto a central IMBH in a GC and we determine the corresponding dust density. This model is applied to a list of 25 Galactic GCs. We find that central IMBHs decrease the ICM by several orders of magnitude. In a subset of 9 clusters, the absence of the black hole combined with a low intracluster medium temperature would be at odds with present gas mass content estimations. As a result, we conclude that IMBHs are an effective cleansing mechanism of the ICM of GCs. We construct synthetic extinction maps for M 62 and {\\omega} Cen, two clusters in the small subset of 9 with observed 2D extinction maps. We find that under reasonable assumptions regarding the model parameters, if the gas temperature in M 62 is close to 8000 K, an IMBH needs to be invoked. Further ICM observations regarding both the gas and dust in GCs could help to settle this issue.

  16. Evolutionary Events and Phytoplankton Recovery After the K/T Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fuqua, L. M.; Bralower, T. J.

    2004-12-01

    The recovery of the open ocean ecosystem after the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary mass extinction (65 Ma) was extremely slow. The surface to deep carbon isotopic gradient remained below latest Cretaceous levels for more than three million years after the boundary event, suggesting suppressed rates of carbon cycling and low phytoplankton productivity. There is a rapid change in the carbon isotopic gradient between 62 and 61 Ma, indicating the final recovery of surface water production levels (D'Hondt et al., 1998). We are investigating nannoplankton communities in the interval from 61.5 to 62.5 Ma to determine the relationship between the recovery and changes in productivity and carbon cycling. Samples were collected at high resolution from Ocean Drilling Program Site 1209 in the western Pacific, and Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 384 in the North Atlantic and 528 in the South Atlantic. Results show major diversification of two dominant Cenozoic nannoliths (non-coocolith bearing, calcite-secreting nannoplankton), Fasciculithus and Sphenolithus, occurred shortly after carbon gradients were restored. The first occurrences of these two genera are associated with significant changes in calcareous nannoplankton communities, indicative of abrupt changes in surface water circulation. A rapid evolutionary sequence of early forms of Fasciculithus has been identified at Sites 1209 and 384. Two unidentified taxa were found before the first occurrence of the earliest documented species, F. pileatus. SEM work currently underway is designed to elucidate the evolution of this genus. At the Pacific site, the diversification is associated with an interval of dissolution, presumably resulting from a change in deep water circulation. The significance of this relationship is currently not understood. D'Hondt, S. et al., Organic carbon fluxes and ecological recovery from the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, Science, 282, 276-279, 1998.

  17. The Lilliput Effect in Colonial Organisms: Cheilostome Bryozoans at the Cretaceous–Paleogene Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Sogot, Caroline E.; Harper, Elizabeth M.; Taylor, Paul D.

    2014-01-01

    Consistent trends towards decreasing body size in the aftermath of mass extinctions – Lilliput effects – imply a predictable response among unitary animals to these events. The occurrence of Lilliput effects has yet to be widely tested in colonial organisms, which are of particular interest as size change may potentially occur at the two hierarchical levels of the colony and the individual zooids. Bryozoans are particularly useful organisms in which to study colonial size response as they have well-defined zooids. Additionally, a number of analyses of present-day bryozoans have shown that zooid size reflects local environmental conditions, most notably seawater temperature and possibly also food supply. Following the hypothesised decline in primary productivity at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) mass extinction, it is predicted that bryozoan zooid size should decline in the early Paleogene, resulting in a Lilliput effect. To test this prediction, zooid size was compared across the K–Pg boundary at the assemblage level and also within 4 surviving genera. Analysis of 59 bryozoan species from assemblages on either side of the K–Pg boundary showed no significant change in zooid length. Zooid size was also measured in 98 Maastrichtian colonies and 162 Danian colonies belonging to four congeneric species. Only one of these genera showed a significant size decrease across the K–Pg boundary, the other three maintaining constant zooidal lengths, widths and areas. Additionally, the sizes of 210 Maastrichtian colonies and 163 Danian colonies did not show consistent size decrease across the K–Pg boundary in these same species, although maximum colony size did decline in three out of four genera. Furthermore, this lack of consistent size change is uniform between two distinct biogeographical regions, Denmark and the southeastern USA. PMID:24505275

  18. High precision dating of mass extinction events: a combined zircon geochronology, apatite tephrochronology, and Bayesian age modelling approach of the Permian-Triassic boundary extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Bagherpour, Borhan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-04-01

    Chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) U-Pb dating of single-zircon crystals is preferably applied to tephra beds intercalated in sedimentary sequences. By assuming that the zircon crystallization age closely approximate that of the volcanic eruption and ash deposition, U-Pb zircon geochronology is the preferred approach for dating mass extinction events (such as the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction) in the sedimentary record. As tephra from large volcanic eruptions is often transported over long distances, it additionally provide an invaluable tool for stratigraphic correlation across distant geologic sections. Therefore, the combination of high-precision zircon geochronology with apatite chemistry of the same tephra bed (so called apatite tephrochronology) provides a robust fingerprint of one particular volcanic eruption. In addition we provide coherent Bayesian model ages for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinction, then compare it with PTB model ages at Meishan after Burgess et al. (2014). We will present new high-precision U-Pb zircon dates for a series of volcanic ash beds in deep- and shallow-marine Permian-Triassic sections in the Nanpanjiang Basin, South China. In addition, apatite crystals out of the same ash beds were analysed focusing on their halogen (F, Cl) and trace-element (e.g. Fe, Mg, REE) chemistry. We also show that Bayesian age models produce reproducible results from different geologic sections. On the basis of these data, including litho- and biostratigraphic correlations, we can precisely and accurately constrain the Permian-Triassic boundary in an equatorial marine setting, and correlate tephra beds over different sections and facies in the Nanpanjiang Basin independently from litho-, bio- or chemostratigraphic criteria. The results evidence that data produced in laboratories associated to the global EARTHTIME consortium can provide age information at the 0.05% level of 206

  19. Volcanism as the cause for the Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction? Progress of the CoBi workgroup

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deenen, M. H.; Bonis, N. R.; Ruhl, M.; Kürschner, W. M.; Krijgsman, W.; Reitsma, M.; van Bergen, M. J.; Chellai, E.

    2008-12-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction (200 Ma), one of the most severe of the Phanerozoic with 50% marine genera loss, coincides with a period of extensive volcanism related to the initial break-up of Pangaea. A causal relationship, however, is still debated since the North American basalt units are always found above a major palynological turnover. In addition there is no conclusive correlation with marine sections where the mass extinction coincides with two distinct negative carbon-isotope shifts preceding the first Jurassic ammonites. Here we develop an accurate time-frame for the Triassic-Jurassic boundary events by integrating astrochronology and geobiology and we show that the onset of volcanism is most likely responsible for the major turnover in palynology, a modest anomaly in Iridium, a major perturbation in the carbon-isotopes values and the extinction events recorded in conodonts and terrestrial vertebrates

  20. Heavy metal toxicity as a kill mechanism in impact caused mass extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wdowiak, T. J.; Davenport, S. A.; Jones, D. D.; Wdowiak, P.

    1988-01-01

    Heavy metals that are known to be toxic exist in carbonaceous chrondrites at abundances considerably in excess to that of the terrestrial crust. An impactor of relatively undifferentiated cosmic matter would inject into the terrestrial environment large quantities of toxic elements. The abundances of toxic metals found in the Allende CV carbonaceous chondrite and the ratio of meteoritic abundance to crustal abundance are: Cr, 3630 PPM, 30X; Co, 662 PPM, 23X; ni, 13300 PPm, 134X; se, 8.2 PPM, 164X; Os, 0.828 PPM, 166X. The resulting areal density for global dispersal of impactor derived heavy metals and their dilution with terrestrial ejecta are important factors in the determination of the significance of impactor heavy metal toxicity as a kill mechanism in impact caused mass extinctions. A 10 km-diameter asteroid having a density of 3 gram per cu cm would yield a global areal density of impact dispersed chondritic material of 3 kg per square meter. The present areal density of living matter on the terrestrial land surface is 1 kg per square meter. Dilution of impactor material with terrestrial ejecta is determined by energetics, with the mass of ejecta estimated to be in the range of 10 to 100 times that of the mass of the impactor. Because a pelagic impact would be the most likely case, the result would be a heavy metal rainout.

  1. The end-Cretaceous in the southwestern Tethys (Elles, Tunisia): orbital calibration of paleoenvironmental events before the mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thibault, Nicolas; Galbrun, Bruno; Gardin, Silvia; Minoletti, Fabrice; Le Callonnec, Laurence

    2016-04-01

    An integrated study of magnetic mass susceptibility (MS), bulk stable isotopes and calcareous nannofossil paleoecological changes is undertaken on the late Maastrichtian of the Elles section, Tunisia, spanning the last ca. 1 Myr of the Cretaceous. A cyclostratigraphic analysis reveals the presence of Milankovitch frequencies and is used for proposal of two distinct orbital age models and to provide ages of important stratigraphic horizons, relative to the age of the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (K-PgB). Principal component analysis (PCA) performed on the nannofossil assemblage reveal two main factors, PCA1, mostly representing fluctuations of D. rotatorius, P. stoveri, Lithraphidites spp., Retecapsa spp., Staurolithites spp., Micula spp., and PCA2, mostly representing fluctuations of A. regularis, C. ehrenbergii, Micula spp., Rhagodiscus spp., W. barnesiae and Zeugrhabdotus spp. Variations in PCA1 and PCA2 match changes in bulk δ13C and δ18O, respectively, and suggest changes in surface-water fertility and temperatures and associated stress. The variations in abundances of high-latitude taxa and the warm-water species Micula murus and in bulk δ18O delineate fast changes in sea-surface paleotemperatures. As in many other sites, an end-Maastrichtian greenhouse warming is highlighted, followed by a short cooling and an additional warm pulse in the last 30 kyr of the Maastrichtian which has rarely been documented so far. Orbital tuning of the delineated climatic events is proposed following the two different age models. Calcareous nannofossil assemblages highlight a decrease in surface-water nutriency, but their species richness remains high through the latest Maastrichtian, indicating, in Tunisia, a weak impact of Deccan volcanism on calcareous nannoplankton diversity before the mass extinction.

  2. High precision time calibration of the Permo-Triassic boundary mass extinction by U-Pb geochronology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Schaltegger, Urs

    2014-05-01

    U-Pb dating using Chemical Abrasion, Isotope Dilution Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) is the analytical method of choice for geochronologists, who are seeking highest temporal resolution and a high degree of accuracy for single grains of zircon. The use of double-isotope tracer solutions, cross-calibrated and assessed in different EARTHTIME labs, coinciding with the reassessment of the uranium decay constants and further improvements in ion counting technology led to unprecedented precision better than 0.1% for single grain, and 0.05% for population ages, respectively. These analytical innovations now allow calibrating magmatic and biological timescales at resolution adequate for both groups of processes. To construct a revised and high resolution calibrated time scale for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) we use (i) high-precision U-Pb zircon age determinations of a unique succession of volcanic ash beds interbedded with shallow to deep water fossiliferous sediments in the Nanpanjiang Basin (South China) combined with (ii) accurate quantitative biochronology based on ammonoids and conodonts and (iii) carbon isotope excursions across the PTB. Using these alignments allows (i) positioning the PTB in different depositional environments and (ii) solving age/stratigraphic contradictions generated by the index, water depth-controlled conodont Hindeodus parvus, whose diachronous first occurrences are arbitrarily used for placing the base of the Triassic. This new age framework provides the basis for a combined calibration of chemostratigraphic records with high-resolution biochronozones of the Late Permian and Early Triassic. Besides the general improvement of the radio-isotopic calibration of the PTB at the ±100 ka level, this will also lead to a better understanding of cause and effect relations involved in this mass extinction.

  3. Empirical extinction coefficients for the GALEX, SDSS, 2MASS and WISE passbands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, H. B.; Liu, X. W.; Xiang, M. S.

    2013-04-01

    By using the `standard pair' technique of pairing stars of almost nil and high extinction but otherwise with almost identical stellar parameters from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), and combining this information with photometry from the SDSS, Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) photometry ranging from the far ultraviolet (UV) to the mid-infrared (mid-IR), we measure dust reddening in the FUV - NUV, NUV - u, u - g, g - r, r - i, i - z, z - J, J - H, H - Ks, Ks - W1 and W1 - W2 colours for thousands of Galactic stars. The measurements, together with the E(B - V) values given by Schlegel et al., allow us to derive the observed, model-free reddening coefficients for these colours. The results are compared with previous measurements and with the predictions of various Galactic reddening laws. We find that (i) the dust reddening map of Schlegel et al. overestimates E(B - V) by about 14 per cent, consistent with the recent work of Schlafly et al. and Schlafly & Finkbeiner; (ii) after accounting for the differences in reddening normalization, the newly deduced reddening coefficients for colours FUV - NUV, NUV - u, u - g, g - r, r - i, i - z, z - J, J - H and H - Ks differ by respectively -1640, 15.5, 12.6, -0.8, 3.4, -0.7, 3.5, 2.5 and 1.4 per cent from the predictions of the Fitzpatrick reddening law for an assumed total-to-selective extinction ratio R(V) = 3.1, and by respectively -1730, 13.0 , 8.1, 10.0, 8.0, -13.5, -1.7, -6.7 and -17.1 per cent from the predictions of the CCM reddening law; and (iii) all the new reddening coefficients, except those for NUV - u and u - g, favour the R(V) = 3.1 Fitzpatrick reddening law over the R(V) = 3.1 CCM and O'Donnell reddening laws. Using the Ks-band extinction coefficient predicted by the R(V) = 3.1 Fitzpatrick law and the observed reddening coefficients, we deduce new extinction coefficients for the FUV, NUV, u, g, r, i, z, J, H, W1 and W2

  4. Are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Wake, David B.; Vredenburg, Vance T.

    2008-01-01

    Many scientists argue that we are either entering or in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction. Intense human pressure, both direct and indirect, is having profound effects on natural environments. The amphibians—frogs, salamanders, and caecilians—may be the only major group currently at risk globally. A detailed worldwide assessment and subsequent updates show that one-third or more of the 6,300 species are threatened with extinction. This trend is likely to accelerate because most amphibians occur in the tropics and have small geographic ranges that make them susceptible to extinction. The increasing pressure from habitat destruction and climate change is likely to have major impacts on narrowly adapted and distributed species. We show that salamanders on tropical mountains are particularly at risk. A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming. This disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen and implicated in serious declines and extinctions of >200 species of amphibians, poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. Our data for frogs in the Sierra Nevada of California show that the fungus is having a devastating impact on native species, already weakened by the effects of pollution and introduced predators. A general message from amphibians is that we may have little time to stave off a potential mass extinction. PMID:18695221

  5. Delayed recovery of non-marine tetrapods after the end-Permian mass extinction tracks global carbon cycle

    PubMed Central

    Irmis, Randall B.; Whiteside, Jessica H.

    2012-01-01

    During the end-Permian mass extinction, marine ecosystems suffered a major drop in diversity, which was maintained throughout the Early Triassic until delayed recovery during the Middle Triassic. This depressed diversity in the Early Triassic correlates with multiple major perturbations to the global carbon cycle, interpreted as either intrinsic ecosystem or external palaeoenvironmental effects. In contrast, the terrestrial record of extinction and recovery is less clear; the effects and magnitude of the end-Permian extinction on non-marine vertebrates are particularly controversial. We use specimen-level data from southern Africa and Russia to investigate the palaeodiversity dynamics of non-marine tetrapods across the Permo-Triassic boundary by analysing sample-standardized generic richness, evenness and relative abundance. In addition, we investigate the potential effects of sampling, geological and taxonomic biases on these data. Our analyses demonstrate that non-marine tetrapods were severely affected by the end-Permian mass extinction, and that these assemblages did not begin to recover until the Middle Triassic. These data are congruent with those from land plants and marine invertebrates. Furthermore, they are consistent with the idea that unstable low-diversity post-extinction ecosystems were subject to boom–bust cycles, reflected in multiple Early Triassic perturbations of the carbon cycle. PMID:22031757

  6. Colloquium paper: are we in the midst of the sixth mass extinction? A view from the world of amphibians.

    PubMed

    Wake, David B; Vredenburg, Vance T

    2008-08-12

    Many scientists argue that we are either entering or in the midst of the sixth great mass extinction. Intense human pressure, both direct and indirect, is having profound effects on natural environments. The amphibians--frogs, salamanders, and caecilians--may be the only major group currently at risk globally. A detailed worldwide assessment and subsequent updates show that one-third or more of the 6,300 species are threatened with extinction. This trend is likely to accelerate because most amphibians occur in the tropics and have small geographic ranges that make them susceptible to extinction. The increasing pressure from habitat destruction and climate change is likely to have major impacts on narrowly adapted and distributed species. We show that salamanders on tropical mountains are particularly at risk. A new and significant threat to amphibians is a virulent, emerging infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which appears to be globally distributed, and its effects may be exacerbated by global warming. This disease, which is caused by a fungal pathogen and implicated in serious declines and extinctions of >200 species of amphibians, poses the greatest threat to biodiversity of any known disease. Our data for frogs in the Sierra Nevada of California show that the fungus is having a devastating impact on native species, already weakened by the effects of pollution and introduced predators. A general message from amphibians is that we may have little time to stave off a potential mass extinction. PMID:18695221

  7. Low mass SN Ia and the late light curve

    SciTech Connect

    Colgate, S.A.; Fryer, C.L.; Hand, K.P.

    1995-12-31

    The late bolometric light curves of type Ia supernovae, when measured accurately over several years, show an exponential decay with a 56d half-life over a drop in luminosity of 8 magnitudes (10 half-lives). The late-time light curve is thought to be governed by the decay of Co{sup 56}, whose 77d half-life must then be modified to account for the observed decay time. Two mechanisms, both relying upon the positron fraction of the Co{sup 56} decay, have been proposed to explain this modification. One explanation requires a large amount of emission at infra-red wavelengths where it would not be detected. The other explanation has proposed a progressive transparency or leakage of the high energy positrons (Colgate, Petschek and Kriese, 1980). For the positrons to leak out of the expanding nebula at the required rate necessary to produce the modified 56d exponential, the mass of the ejecta from a one foe (10{sup 51} erg in kinetic energy) explosion must be small, M{sub ejec} = 0.4M{sub {circle_dot}} with M{sub ejec} {proportional_to} KE{sup 0.5}. Thus, in this leakage explanation, any reasonable estimate of the total energy of the explosion requires that the ejected mass be very much less than the Chandrasekhar mass of 1.4M{sub {circle_dot}}. This is very difficult to explain with the ``canonical`` Chandrasekhar-mass thermonuclear explosion that disintegrates the original white dwarf star. This result leads us to pursue alternate mechanisms of type Ia supernovae. These mechanisms include sub-Chandrasekhar thermonuclear explosions and the accretion induced collapse of Chandrasekhar mass white dwarfs. We will summarize the advantages and disadvantages of both mechanisms with considerable detail spent on our new accretion induced collapse simulations. These mechanisms lead to lower Ni{sup 56} production and hence result in type Ia supernovae with luminosities decreased down to {approximately} 50% that predicted by the ``standard`` model.

  8. Global Warming and Mass Extinctions Caused by Sediment Degassing of Volcanic Basins: Status Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Planke, Sverre; Svensen, Henrik

    2010-05-01

    We have for the past decade worked on a hypothesis linking major environmental changes in Earth History to the eruption of Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs). It is well known that there are temporal correlations between LIPs and periods of global warming and/or mass extinctions. However, there are several problems explaining the environmental changes by extrusive volcanism. In particular, (1) there is no correlation between the size of a LIP and the environmental impact, (2) it is not possible to explain observed increases in isotopically light carbon by degassing of mafic magma, and (3) it is not sufficient carbon in mafic magma to explain the mass of atmospheric carbon needed to trigger global warming. Our hypothesis, initially published in 2004, stresses the emplacement environment. Sedimentary basins contain large volumes of volatiles or rocks that can be devolatized by heating. Magma intruding sedimentary basins will heat the host rock, causing massive degassing of the contact metamorphic aureoles. The type volatiles that are formed in the aureoles are strongly dependent on the host rock lithologies. Greenhouse gases, such as CH4 and CO2, are formed when organic-rich rocks or carbonates are heated, whereas poisonous gases (SO2, halocarbons, etc.) are formed when evaporate-rich sequences are heated. In contrast, only boiling (or formation of supercritical water) is taking place when barren sandstones or shales are heated. The sediment degassing hypothesis has been tested by focused studies of (1) the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and the Northeast Atlantic Igneous Province, (2) the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event and the Karoo LIP, and (3) the end-Permian extinction and the Siberian Traps LIP. Borehole studies of aureole rocks in all three igneous provinces reveal a very high production potential of greenhouse gases. Heating experiments of petroleum-bearing evaporates from the Tunguska Basin in Siberia document that ozone-destroying halocarbons may have

  9. Non-detection of C60 fullerene at two mass extinction horizons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrasquillo, Anthony J.; Cao, Changqun; Erwin, Douglas H.; Summons, Roger E.

    2016-03-01

    Fullerene (C60) have been reported in a number of geologic samples and, in some cases, attributed to carbonaceous materials delivered during bolide impact events. The extraction and detection of C60 poses significant analytical challenges, and some studies have been called into question due to the possibility of C60 forming in situ. Here, we extracted samples taken from the Permian-Triassic boundary section in Meishan, South China and the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary exposed at Stevns Klint, Denmark, and analyzed the residues using a fast and reliable method for quantifying C60. Extraction of both whole rock and completely demineralized samples were completed under conditions that previously yielded C60 as well as using an optimized approach based on recent literature reports. These extracts were analyzed using mass spectrometry with the soft-ionization techniques, atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and electrospray ionization (ESI), which have not been shown to form fullerenes in-situ. In no case were we able to detect C60, nor could we corroborate previous reports of its occurrence in these sediments, thereby challenging the utility of fullerene as a proxy for bolide impacts or mass extinction events.

  10. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  11. Volcanism of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province as a potential driving force in the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pálfy, József

    Radiometric dating suggests that eruptions in the Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) are synchronous with the ˜200 Ma end-Triassic mass extinction. Although stratigraphic evidence for major flows prior to the extinction horizon is still lacking, the vast extent of the province allows the assumption of cause-and-effect relationship between volcanism and extinction, mediated by drastic environmental change. A recently recognized negative carbon isotope anomaly at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is interpreted to reflect combined effects of volcanically derived CO2 input, methane release through dissociation of gas hydrates in a global warming episode, and a possible marine productivity crisis. Maximum duration of the Rhaetian stage is estimated as only 2 m.y., and the isotope event appears short, lasting for less than 100 k.y. A variety of marine and terrestrial fossil groups (e.g., radiolarians, corals, bivalves, and plants) experienced correlated and sudden extinction at the end of Triassic, although some groups (e.g., ammonoids and conodonts) underwent a prolonged period of declining diversity. Post-extinction faunas and floras are cosmopolitan. Biotic recovery was delayed and the earliest Hettangian is a lag phase characterized by low diversity, possibly due to sustained environmental stress. The hypothesis of CAMP as the principal driving force in the end-Triassic extinction appears more consistent with paleontological and isotopic observations than alternative models. The temporally adjacent large igneous provinces, the Siberian Traps at the Permian-Triassic boundary and the Early Jurassic Karoo-Ferrar province, are also linked to extinction events, albeit of differing magnitude.

  12. Mass-wasting triggered by the end-Triassic mass-extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Schootbrugge, Bas; Vecoli, Marco; Strother, Paul; Lindstrom, Sofie; Oschmann, Wolfgang

    2014-05-01

    The end-Triassic dieback of tree-forming vegetation across NW Europe and the proliferation of a low-growing herbaceous pioneer vegetation composed of ferns and fern allies, likely had a major impact on weathering and erosion of emerged land masses. In a recently drilled core from northern Germany (Schandelah), palynological analyses provide evidence for this scenario. The uppermost Rhaetian Triletes Beds show increasing amounts of reworked Palaeozoic acritarchs and prasinophytes of up to 30% of the palynomorph fraction. Most of the acritarchs are singletons and can be assigned to Ordovician and Silurian species, such as Ankyrotrochus crispum, Oppilatala eoplanktonica, and Evittia spp. The average age of the reworked acritarch assemblages is observed to increase during the latest Rhaetian, leading to an inverted stratigraphy among Palaeozoic species. Further North, in the Stenlille cores from the Danish Basin, reworked Palaeozoic palynomorphs appear to constitute mainly sphaeromorphic prasinophytes and other Palaeozoic microfossils such as chitinozoans and carboniferous spores. Further south, at Mingolsheim (S Germany) the Triletes Beds contain a clear sign of soil reworking, including mycorrhizal fungal remains and cysts from probable soil organisms. These peculiar changes in palynological assemblages go hand-in-hand with important changes in sedimentology. The reworking of soil and bedrock is occurring in an interval that also contains evidence for earthquake activity in the form of widespread seismites. All these observations may be attributed to a number of mutually non-exclusive mechanisms, including decreased plant cover, an intensified hydrological cycle due to greenhouse warming, and the doming of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province leading to continental-scale tectonic steepening of basin margins.

  13. Island life in the Cretaceous - faunal composition, biogeography, evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late Cretaceous European archipelago.

    PubMed

    Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Buffetaut, Eric; Ősi, Attila; Pereda-Suberbiola, Xabier; Brusatte, Stephen L

    2015-01-01

    The Late Cretaceous was a time of tremendous global change, as the final stages of the Age of Dinosaurs were shaped by climate and sea level fluctuations and witness to marked paleogeographic and faunal changes, before the end-Cretaceous bolide impact. The terrestrial fossil record of Late Cretaceous Europe is becoming increasingly better understood, based largely on intensive fieldwork over the past two decades, promising new insights into latest Cretaceous faunal evolution. We review the terrestrial Late Cretaceous record from Europe and discuss its importance for understanding the paleogeography, ecology, evolution, and extinction of land-dwelling vertebrates. We review the major Late Cretaceous faunas from Austria, Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania, as well as more fragmentary records from elsewhere in Europe. We discuss the paleogeographic background and history of assembly of these faunas, and argue that they are comprised of an endemic 'core' supplemented with various immigration waves. These faunas lived on an island archipelago, and we describe how this insular setting led to ecological peculiarities such as low diversity, a preponderance of primitive taxa, and marked changes in morphology (particularly body size dwarfing). We conclude by discussing the importance of the European record in understanding the end-Cretaceous extinction and show that there is no clear evidence that dinosaurs or other groups were undergoing long-term declines in Europe prior to the bolide impact. PMID:25610343

  14. Island life in the Cretaceous - faunal composition, biogeography, evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late Cretaceous European archipelago

    PubMed Central

    Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Buffetaut, Eric; Ősi, Attila; Pereda-Suberbiola, Xabier; Brusatte, Stephen L.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The Late Cretaceous was a time of tremendous global change, as the final stages of the Age of Dinosaurs were shaped by climate and sea level fluctuations and witness to marked paleogeographic and faunal changes, before the end-Cretaceous bolide impact. The terrestrial fossil record of Late Cretaceous Europe is becoming increasingly better understood, based largely on intensive fieldwork over the past two decades, promising new insights into latest Cretaceous faunal evolution. We review the terrestrial Late Cretaceous record from Europe and discuss its importance for understanding the paleogeography, ecology, evolution, and extinction of land-dwelling vertebrates. We review the major Late Cretaceous faunas from Austria, Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania, as well as more fragmentary records from elsewhere in Europe. We discuss the paleogeographic background and history of assembly of these faunas, and argue that they are comprised of an endemic ‘core’ supplemented with various immigration waves. These faunas lived on an island archipelago, and we describe how this insular setting led to ecological peculiarities such as low diversity, a preponderance of primitive taxa, and marked changes in morphology (particularly body size dwarfing). We conclude by discussing the importance of the European record in understanding the end-Cretaceous extinction and show that there is no clear evidence that dinosaurs or other groups were undergoing long-term declines in Europe prior to the bolide impact. PMID:25610343

  15. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-01-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid–high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years. PMID:27414998

  16. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-01-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid-high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years. PMID:27414998

  17. Global climate change driven by soot at the K-Pg boundary as the cause of the mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaiho, Kunio; Oshima, Naga; Adachi, Kouji; Adachi, Yukimasa; Mizukami, Takuya; Fujibayashi, Megumu; Saito, Ryosuke

    2016-07-01

    The mass extinction of life 66 million years ago at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary, marked by the extinctions of dinosaurs and shallow marine organisms, is important because it led to the macroevolution of mammals and appearance of humans. The current hypothesis for the extinction is that an asteroid impact in present-day Mexico formed condensed aerosols in the stratosphere, which caused the cessation of photosynthesis and global near-freezing conditions. Here, we show that the stratospheric aerosols did not induce darkness that resulted in milder cooling than previously thought. We propose a new hypothesis that latitude-dependent climate changes caused by massive stratospheric soot explain the known mortality and survival on land and in oceans at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. The stratospheric soot was ejected from the oil-rich area by the asteroid impact and was spread globally. The soot aerosols caused sufficiently colder climates at mid–high latitudes and drought with milder cooling at low latitudes on land, in addition to causing limited cessation of photosynthesis in global oceans within a few months to two years after the impact, followed by surface-water cooling in global oceans in a few years. The rapid climate change induced terrestrial extinctions followed by marine extinctions over several years.

  18. Testing the limits in a greenhouse ocean: Did low nitrogen availability limit marine productivity during the end-Triassic mass extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoepfer, Shane D.; Algeo, Thomas J.; Ward, Peter D.; Williford, Kenneth H.; Haggart, James W.

    2016-10-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction has been characterized as a 'greenhouse extinction', related to rapid atmospheric warming and associated changes in ocean circulation and oxygenation. The response of the marine nitrogen cycle to these oceanographic changes, and the extent to which mass extinction intervals represent a deviation in nitrogen cycling from other ice-free 'greenhouse' periods of Earth history, remain poorly understood. The well-studied Kennecott Point section in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada, was deposited in the open Panthalassic Ocean, and is used here as a test case to better understand changes in the nitrogen cycle and marine productivity from the pre-crisis greenhouse of the Rhaetian to the latest-Rhaetian crisis interval. We estimated marine productivity from the late Norian to the early Hettangian using TOC- and P-based paleoproductivity transform equations, and then compared these estimates to records of sedimentary nitrogen isotopes, redox-sensitive trace elements, and biomarker data. Major negative excursions in δ15N (to ≤ 0 ‰) correspond to periods of depressed marine productivity. During these episodes, the development of a stable pycnocline below the base of the photic zone suppressed vertical mixing and limited N availability in surface waters, leading to low productivity and increased nitrogen fixation, as well as ecological stresses in the photic zone. The subsequent shoaling of euxinic waters into the ocean surface layer was fatal for most Triassic marine fauna, although the introduction of regenerated NH4+ into the photic zone may have allowed phytoplankton productivity to recover. These results indicate that the open-ocean nitrogen cycle was influenced by climatic changes during the latest Triassic, despite having existed in a greenhouse state for over 50 million years previously, and that low N availability limited marine productivity for hundreds of thousands of years during the end-Triassic crisis.

  19. Water mass denitrification during the latest Permian extinction in the Panthalassic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knies, J.; Grasby, S.; Beauchamp, B.; Schubert, C.

    2012-04-01

    The latest Permian extinction (LPE) event, about 252 Myr ago, resulted in the disappearance of >90 % of marine and terrestrial species. Possible explanations invoke, Siberian Trap volcanism, anoxia, H2S poisoning draw down of bioessential elements or a combination of these. Recent observation of coal ash dispersion into global oceans prior to LPE suggest global ash fall could have created toxic marine (terrestrial) conditions. Recent work also suggests volcanic mercury emissions may have added to toxic marine conditions. While development of marine euxinic conditions in the Tethyan region across the LPE is widely accepted, inferences on the redox and environmental conditions of the Panthalassic Ocean more equivocal. Indications of (photic zone) euxinia occur in marginal areas of Panthalassa. In central pelagic areas, however, expansion of low oxygen conditions across the LPE may be restricted to the oxygen minimum zone rather than towards the photic zone or the seafloor. Here, we report the ?15N isotopic signature in Late Permian - Early Triassic sediments from the Buchanan Lake section in the Sverdrup Basin, Canadian Arctic. Deep water marine sedimentation in the Sverdrup Basin, connected to Panthalassa via a western seaway, allows inferences on the nitrogen cycling across the LPE. We confirm that expansion of low oxygen conditions in the Panthalassic Ocean began prior to the paleo-Tethys Ocean. Further, the detailed correspondence of changes in denitrification, nitrate utilization/fixation across the LPE in both oceans indicate rapid reorganization of the marine ecosystem in response to changes in nutrient inventories, probably mediated through the eruption of the Siberian Traps.

  20. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction

    PubMed Central

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-01-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere. PMID:27009463

  1. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-03-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere.

  2. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction.

    PubMed

    Guex, Jean; Pilet, Sebastien; Müntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Sell, Bryan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-01-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here we present a synthesis of ammonite biostratigraphy, isotopic data and high precision U-Pb zircon dates from the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries demonstrating that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. We explain these transitions as a result of changing gas species emitted during the progressive thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere by plume activity or internal heating of the lithosphere. Our petrological model for LIP magmatism argues that initial gas emission was dominated by sulfur liberated from sulfide-bearing cratonic lithosphere before CO2 became the dominant gas. This model offers an explanation of why LIPs erupted through oceanic lithosphere are not associated with climatic and biotic crises comparable to LIPs emitted through cratonic lithosphere. PMID:27009463

  3. Mercury anomaly, Deccan volcanism and the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Font, Eric; Adatte, Thierry; Nobrega Sial, Alcides; Drude de Lacerda, Luiz; Keller, Gerta; Punekar, Jahnavi

    2016-04-01

    The contribution of the Deccan Traps volcanism in the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (KPg) crisis is still a matter of debate. Particularly, the global geochemical effects of Deccan volcanism in the marine sedimentary record are still poorly resolved. Here, we investigate the mercury (Hg) content of the Bidart (France) section, where an interval of low magnetic susceptibility (MS) located just below the KPg boundary was hypothesized to result from paleoenvironmental perturbations linked to paroxysmal Deccan phase-2. Results show mercury concentrations over two orders of magnitude higher from ~80 cm below up to ~50 cm above the KPg boundary (max. 46.6 ppb) and coincident with the low MS interval. Increase in Hg contents shows no correlation with clay or total organic carbon contents, suggesting that the mercury anomalies resulted from higher input of atmospheric Hg species into the marine realm, rather than organic matter scavenging and/or increased run-off. The Hg anomalies correlate with high shell fragmentation and dissolution effects in planktic foraminifera suggesting correlative changes in marine biodiversity. This discovery represents an unprecedented piece of evidence of the nature and importance of the Deccan-related environmental changes at the onset of the KPg mass extinction. Funded by IDL (FCT UID/GEO/50019/2013)

  4. δ 13C evidence that high primary productivity delayed recovery from end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, K. M.; Yu, M.; Jost, A. B.; Kelley, B. M.; Payne, J. L.

    2011-02-01

    Euxinia was widespread during and after the end-Permian mass extinction and is commonly cited as an explanation for delayed biotic recovery during Early Triassic time. This anoxic, sulfidic episode has been ascribed to both low- and high-productivity states in the marine water column, leaving the causes of euxinia and the mechanisms underlying delayed recovery poorly understood. Here we use isotopic analysis to examine the changing chemical structure of the water column through the recovery interval and thereby better constrain paleoproductivity. The δ 13C of limestones from 5 stratigraphic sections in south China displays a negative gradient of approximately 4‰ from shallow-to-deep water facies within the Lower Triassic. This intense gradient declines within Spathian and lowermost Middle Triassic strata, coincident with accelerated biotic recovery and carbon cycle stabilization. Model simulations show that high nutrient levels and a vigorous biological pump are required to sustain such a large gradient in δ 13C, indicating that Early Triassic ocean anoxia and delayed recovery of benthic animal ecosystems resulted from too much productivity rather than too little.

  5. Climatic changes resulting from mass extinctions at the K-T boundary (and other bio-events)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The mass extinctions at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary include about 90 percent of marine calcareous nannoplankton (coccoliths), and carbon-isotope data show that marine primary productivity was drastically reduced for about 500,000 years after the boundary event, the so-called Strangelove Ocean effect. One result of the elimination of most marine phytoplankton would have been a severe reduction in production of dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a biogenic gas that is believed to be the major precursor of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) over the oceans. A drastic reduction in marine CCN should lead to a cloud canopy with significantly lower reflectivity, and hence cause a significant warming at the earth's surface. Calculations suggest that, all other things being held constant, a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent (a reasonable value for the K-T extinctions) could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen-isotope analyses of marine sediments, and other kinds of paleoclimatic data, have provided for a marked warming, and a general instability of climate coincident with the killoff of marine plankton at the K-T boundary. Similar reductions in phytoplankton abundance at other boundaries, as indicated by marked shifts in carbon-isotope curves, suggest that severe temperature changes may have accompanied other mass extinctions, and raises the intriguing possibility that the extinction events themselves could have contributed to the climatic instabilities at critical bio-events in the geologic record.

  6. Chicxulub Impact Predates K-T Boundary in Texas and Caused no Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fucugauchi, J. U.; Soler-Arechalde, A. M.; Rebolledo-Vieyra, M.; Keller, G.; Adatte, T.; Berner, Z.; Baum, G.; Stueben, D.

    2005-05-01

    In the Chicxulub crater and throughout NE Mexico the impact breccia and spherule ejecta layer, respectively, predate the K-T boundary by about 300,000 years (Keller et al., 2003, 2004). The stratigraphic separation between the K-T boundary and the Chicxulub impact ejecta varies from 50 cm in the Chicxulub crater, to over 14 m in NE Mexico, with the variation due to erosion, non-deposition and paloetopography. New studies from drilling and exposures along the Brazos River, Texas, confirm these findings based on biostratigraphy, paleomagnetic stratigraphy, geochemistry, stable isotopes, and faunal assemblages. In this area, the spherule ejecta is reworked near the base of a series of `event beds' representing variable storm deposits separated by repeated colonization of the ocean floor by invertebrates. The base of these storm beds overlies an undulating erosion surface of latest Maastrichtian claystone. The original spherule ejecta layer appears to be within the underlying claystone, in the lower part of chron 29R and near the base of biozone CF1, which marks the last 300,000 years of the Cretaceous. Above the `event beds' latest Maastrichtian claystone sedimentation continues up to the K-T boundary, which is characterized by a sharp (1.4 ng/g) iridium anomaly that marks the K-T as a second major impact. The distance between the top of the `event beds' and the K-T boundary varies from 20 cm to 1.6 m depending on local tectonics and erosion. Evaluation of the biotic effects of the Chicxulub and K-T impacts upon planktic foraminifera, which suffered most severely of all marine organisms, reveals no species extinctions associated with the Chicxulub impact and no significant species population changes, except for species dwarfing as a result of increased biotic stress. These Brazos results confirm the 65.3 Ma age for the Chicxulub impact determined from NE Mexico and the crater core Yaxcopoil-1. They also show that the Chicxulub impact did not cause a mass extinction

  7. Determining Paleoredox Conditions Across the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction at Blake Nose: Evaluation of Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes and Trace Metal Profiles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quan, T. M.; Nelson, A.

    2012-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary (~65 Mya) is marked by a major mass extinction for a wide range of terrestrial and marine organisms. In addition, there is significant evidence for disruptions in the carbon and nutrient cycles, productivity, paleoclimate, and bottom water oxygen levels, but the exact temporal and spatial extent of the disruptions are still unknown. In order to assess changes in nitrogen cycling and post-extinction anoxia, we have been measuring sedimentary nitrogen isotopes (δ15N), carbon isotopes (δ13C), and redox-sensitive trace metal concentrations in several cores across the K-Pg boundary. Since the sedimentary δ15N record can provide information on bottom water oxygen levels as well as nitrogen cycling, we can also investigate the use of bulk sedimentary δ15N as a proxy for paleoredox conditions by comparing the isotope record with that of the redox-sensitive trace metals. We obtained samples from Blake Nose in the North Atlantic (ODP 171B), a site that is proximal to the Chicxulub impact location. The cores at this site have an excellent record through the K-Pg boundary and contain clear evidence of both the impact and subsequent mass extinction. We measured δ15Nbulk, δ13Corg, total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN) and trace metal concentrations in samples dating from the Late Maastrichtian (R. fructicosa foraminiferal zone) through to the Early Paleogene (foraminiferal zone P1c). Unlike our previous findings at the more distal Bass River (ODP 174AX) and Demerara Rise (ODP 207) sites, there is no obvious increase in δ15N values through the mass extinction, although there is a slight enrichment in redox-sensitive trace metals after the boundary. As a result, there appears to be no evidence for increased denitrification/anammox activity (and therefore no significant change in deep water redox state) immediately after the K-Pg boundary at Blake Nose based on the δ15N profiles; however, the trace metal profiles suggest

  8. Impact ejecta layer from the mid-Devonian: possible connection to global mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Ellwood, Brooks B; Benoist, Stephen L; El Hassani, Ahmed; Wheeler, Christopher; Crick, Rex E

    2003-06-13

    We have found evidence for a bolide impacting Earth in the mid-Devonian ( approximately 380 million years ago), including high concentrations of shocked quartz, Ni, Cr, As, V, and Co anomalies; a large negative carbon isotope shift (-9 per mil); and microspherules and microcrysts at Jebel Mech Irdane in the Anti Atlas desert near Rissani, Morocco. This impact is important because it is coincident with a major global extinction event (Kacák/otomari event), suggesting a possible cause-and-effect relation between the impact and the extinction. The result may represent the extinction of as many as 40% of all living marine animal genera. PMID:12805544

  9. Impact Ejecta Layer from the Mid-Devonian: Possible Connection to Global Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellwood, Brooks B.; Benoist, Stephen L.; Hassani, Ahmed El; Wheeler, Christopher; Crick, Rex E.

    2003-06-01

    We have found evidence for a bolide impacting Earth in the mid-Devonian (~380 million years ago), including high concentrations of shocked quartz, Ni, Cr, As, V, and Co anomalies; a large negative carbon isotope shift (-9 per mil); and microspherules and microcrysts at Jebel Mech Irdane in the Anti Atlas desert near Rissani, Morocco. This impact is important because it is coincident with a major global extinction event (Kacák/otomari event), suggesting a possible cause-and-effect relation between the impact and the extinction. The result may represent the extinction of as many as 40% of all living marine animal genera.

  10. Periodicity of extinction: A 1988 update

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkowski, J. John, Jr.

    1988-01-01

    The hypothesis that events of mass extinction recur periodically at approximately 26 my intervals is an empirical claim based on analysis of data from the fossil record. The hypothesis has become closely linked with catastrophism because several events in the periodic series are associated with evidence of extraterrestrial impacts, and terrestrial forcing mechanisms with long, periodic recurrences are not easily conceived. Astronomical mechanisms that have been hypothesized include undetected solar companions and solar oscillation about the galactic plane, which induce comet showers and result in impacts on Earth at regular intervals. Because these mechanisms are speculative, they have been the subject of considerable controversy, as has the hypothesis of periodicity of extinction. In response to criticisms and uncertainties, a data base was developed on times of extinction of marine animal genera. A time series is given and analyzed with 49 sample points for the per-genus extinction rate from the Late Permian to the Recent. An unexpected pattern in the data is the uniformity of magnitude of many of the periodic extinction events. Observations suggest that the sequence of extinction events might be the result of two sets of mechanisms: a periodic forcing that normally induces only moderate amounts of extinction, and independent incidents or catastrophes that, when coincident with the periodic forcing, amplify its signal and produce major-mass extinctions.

  11. An 80 million year oceanic redox history from Permian to Jurassic pelagic sediments of the Mino-Tamba terrane, SW Japan, and the origin of four mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wignall, Paul B.; Bond, David P. G.; Kuwahara, Kiyoko; Kakuwa, Yoshitaka; Newton, Robert J.; Poulton, Simon W.

    2010-03-01

    Fabric and pyrite framboid size analysis of Permian to Jurassic samples from the Mino-Tamba terrane of Japan provide an 80 myr redox history from the Panthalassa Ocean. Fully oxygenated conditions dominated but were punctuated by three phases of anoxia (euxinia) during the Permo-Triassic boundary, the late Early Triassic (Spathian Stage) and the late Early Jurassic (Toarcian Stage). A Permo-Triassic superanoxic event of 10 myr duration is thus resolved into a complex redox history of dysoxic-anoxic background conditions punctuated by short-lived euxinic pulses. Both the end-Permian and Toarcian anoxic episodes began abruptly with the development of siliceous claystones, characterized by a framboid-dominated pyrite fraction and no organic C enrichment, interpreted to record euxinic conditions. These facies are overlain by organic-rich shales with slightly larger framboids, more crystalline pyrite and bioturbation indicating accumulation beneath a better-ventilated, higher productivity water column. Thus, an initial phase of ocean-wide stagnation was followed by improved circulation attributed to the onset of warm saline bottom water circulation. Five radiolarian crises during our study interval show a complex relationship with redox conditions. The latest Permian mass extinction coincided with the onset of ocean euxinia but two other crises (Middle Permian and end Triassic), occurred during fully oxygenated intervals. Radiolarian radiation events are also not consistently linked with redox conditions: diversification in the early Late Permian coincides with the onset of weakly dysoxic conditions, late Early Triassic and late Early Jurassic radiations coincide with euxinic events, and the basal Jurassic radiation occurred during a fully oxic phase.

  12. Limitations on K-T mass extinction theories based upon the vertebrate record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Archibald, J. David; Bryant, Laurie J.

    1988-01-01

    Theories of extinction are only as good as the patterns of extinction that they purport to explain. Often such patterns are ignored. For the terminal Cretaceous events, different groups of organisms in different environments show different patterns of extinction that to date cannot be explained by a single causal mechanism. Several patterns of extinction (and/or preservational bias) can be observed for the various groups of vertebrates from the uppermost Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and lower Paleocene Tullock Formation in eastern Montana. The taxonomic level at which the percentage of survivals (or extinctions) is calculated will have an effect upon the perception of faunal turnover. In addition to the better known mammals and better publicized dinosaurs, there are almost 60 additional species of reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish in the HELL Creek Formation. Simple arithmetic suggests only 33 percent survival of these vertebrates from the Hell Creek Fm. into the Tullock Fm. A more critical examination of the data shows that almost all Hell Creek species not found in the Tullock are represented in one of the following categories; extremely rare forms, elasmobranch fish that underwent rapid speciation taxa that although not known or rare in the Tullock, are found elsewhere. Each of the categories is largely the result of the following biases: taphonomy, ecological differences, taxonomic artifact paleogeography. The two most important factors appear to be the possible taphonomic biases and the taxonomic artifacts. The extinction patterns among the vertebrates do not appear to be attributable to any single cause, catastrophic or otherwise.

  13. Using the Theme of Mass Extinctions to Teach Science to Non-Science Major College and University Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boness, D. A.

    2013-12-01

    The general public is heavily exposed to "news" and commentary---and arts and entertainment---that either inadvertently misrepresents science or even acts to undermine it. Climate change denial and evolution denial is well funded and pervasive. Even university-educated people get little exposure to the aims, methods, debates, and results of scientific inquiry because unless they earn degrees in science they typically only take one or two introductory science courses at the university level. This presentation reports the development of a new, non-science major Seattle University course on mass extinctions throughout earth history. Seattle University is an urban, Jesuit Catholic university. The topic of mass extinctions was chosen for several reasons: (1) To expose the students to a part of current science that has rich historical roots yet by necessity uses methods and reasoning from geology, geophysics, oceanography, physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy. This multidisciplinary course provides some coverage of sciences that the student would not typically ever see beyond secondary school. (2) To enable the students to learn enough to follow some of the recent and current debates within science (e.g., mass extinctions by asteroid impact versus massive volcanism, ocean anoxia, and ocean acidification), with the students reading some of the actual literature, such as articles in Science, Nature, or Nature Geoscience. (3) To emphasize the importance of "deep time" as evolutionary biological processes interact with massive environmental change over time scales from hundreds of millions of years down to the seconds and hours of an asteroid or comet strike. (4) To show the effects of climate change in the past, present, and future, due to both natural and anthropogenic causes. (5) To help the student critically evaluate the extent to which their future involves a human-caused mass extinction.

  14. U-Pb geochronology of the Deccan Traps and relation to the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoene, Blair; Samperton, Kyle M.; Eddy, Michael P.; Keller, Gerta; Adatte, Thierry; Bowring, Samuel A.; Khadri, Syed F. R.; Gertsch, Brian

    2015-04-01

    Despite the growing number of mass extinction events correlated with large igneous provinces, the mechanisms by which volcanic eruptions can lead to ecosystem collapse and biologic turnover remain poorly understood. A better understanding of these events requires high-resolution timelines for volcanic outpourings, geochemical and isotopic proxy records, and biostratigraphic data that cover the extinction and recovery intervals. It has long been known that the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event broadly correlates with the eruption of the Deccan Traps, but high-precision geochronology from these basalts has remained elusive, despite the role the traps could have played in ecosystem decline and recovery and the importance of assessing their timing relative to the Chicxulub impact event. We have applied high-precision U-Pb CA-ID-TIMS geochronology to rocks from within the Deccan Traps that constrain the onset and termination of the main phase of volcanism. Because of the rarity of zircon in basalt, dated material includes both in situ zircon-bearing segregation veins within basalt flows and also volcanic ash beds found between individual basalt flows. The latter likely derive from distant, higher-Si explosive volcanic vents during periods of basaltic quiescence. We show that the duration of the main phase of the Deccan, which included >1.1 million cubic km of basalt, erupted in ~750 kyr and began ~250 kyr prior to recently published dates [1] for the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event. When combined with published paleomagnetic data from the Deccan traps [2,3], our data place the main phase of Deccan eruptions precisely within the geomagnetic polarity timescale and thus permit correlation of their onset with other stratigraphic records that lack geochronology. Our ages improve on the precision of existing geochronology for the Deccan Traps by 1-2 orders of magnitude and are a crucial starting point for more quantitative estimates of volcanic gas

  15. Thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a potential trigger for mass-extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pilet, Sebastien; Guex, Jean; Muntener, Othmar; Bartolini, Annachiara; Spangenberg, Jorge; Schoene, Blair; Schaltegger, Urs

    2016-04-01

    The temporal coincidence between large igneous provinces (LIPs) and mass extinctions has led many to pose a causal relationship between the two. However, there is still no consensus on a mechanistic model that explains how magmatism leads to the turnover of terrestrial and marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates. Here, we present a synthesis of stratigraphic constraints on the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) and Pliensbachian-Toarcian (Pl-To) boundaries combined with geochronological data in order to establish the sequence of events that initiate two of the major mass extinctions recorded in Earth's history. This synthesis demonstrates that these biotic crises are both associated with rapid change from an initial cool period to greenhouse conditions. The initial regressive events recorded at T-J and Pl-To boundaries seem difficult to reconcile either with large initial CO2 degassing associated with plume activity or by volatile-release (CO2, CH4, Cl2) from deep sedimentary reservoirs during contact metamorphism associated to dykes and sills intrusion because massive CO2 degassing is expected to produce super greenhouse conditions. We evaluate, here, an alternative suggesting that the initial cooling could be due to gas release during the initial thermal erosion of the cratonic lithosphere due to emplacement of the CAMP and Karoo-Ferrar volcanic provinces. Petrological constraints on primary magmas indicate that the mantle is hotter and melts more extensively to produce LIP lavas than for current oceanic islands basalts. However, available data suggest that the Karoo and CAMP areas were underlain by thick lithosphere (>200 km) prior to continental break up. The presence of thick lithosphere excludes significant melting of the asthenospheric mantle without initial stage of thermal erosion of the cratonic lithosphere. This initial step of thermal erosion / thermal heating of the cratonic lithosphere is critical to understand the volatile budget associated with LIPs while

  16. Deccan Volcanism, Climate Change and the KT Mass Extinction across India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thierry, A.; Gerta, K.; Silvia, G.; Annachiara, B.; Brian, G.; Sunil, B.

    2008-12-01

    Recent studies indicate that the bulk (80%) of the Deccan Trap eruptions occurred over a relatively short time period coinciding with the KT mass extinction. Here we present results based multiproxies data from intertrappean sediments located at Anjar, Kutch, western India, Jhilmili, Madhya Pradesh, central India, and Rajahmundry, SE India. We compare these results with a KT sequence in Meghalya, NE India, about 800 km from the Deccan volcanic province. Intertrappean sediments at Anjar consist mainly of lacustrine sediments and exhibit at least three PGE anomalies with high Pd contents but only one with a significant Ir enrichment. The presence of dinosaurs eggshells and bone fragments above the Ir anomaly implies an upper Maastrichtian age for these sediments. Thus, the PGE anomalies do not coincide with the KT boundary, nor are they of cosmic origin because normalized PGE values suggest a flood basalt origin. Clay minerals consist mainly of smectite and palygorskite and reflect semi-arid conditions, probably linked to higher surface temperatures on a young volcanic landscape subjected to effusive volcanic activity. In the Rajhamundry area, two Deccan basalt flows, known as the Rajahmundry traps, mark the most extensive lava flows extending 1000 km across the Indian continent. The sediments directly overlying the lower trap contain the earliest Danian planktic foraminifera of zones P0-P1a and mark the initial evolution in the aftermath of the KT mass extinction. The upper trap was deposited during zone P1b corresponding to the lower part of magnetic polarity C29n. Sedimentological, mineralogical data reveal that deposition occurred in a shallow estuarine to inner neritic environment with periods of subaerial deposition marked by paleosoils. Clay minerals consist exclusively of smectite, typical of vertisoil developed under semi-arid conditions. Outcrop correlation reveals an incised valley estuarine system. At Jhilmili, multidisciplinary analyses reveal the KT

  17. Persistent ecological shifts in marine molluscan assemblages across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aberhan, Martin; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-06-01

    Contemporary biodiversity loss and population declines threaten to push the biosphere toward a tipping point with irreversible effects on ecosystem composition and function. As a potential example of a global-scale regime shift in the geological past, we assessed ecological changes across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction based on molluscan assemblages at four well-studied sites. By contrasting preextinction and postextinction rank abundance and numerical abundance in 19 molluscan modes of life-each defined as a unique combination of mobility level, feeding mode, and position relative to the substrate-we find distinct shifts in ecospace utilization, which significantly exceed predictions from null models. The magnitude of change in functional traits relative to normal temporal fluctuations at far-flung sites indicates that molluscan assemblages shifted to differently structured systems and faunal response was global. The strengths of temporal ecological shifts, however, are mostly within the range of preextinction site-to-site variability, demonstrating that local ecological turnover was similar to geographic variation over a broad latitudinal range. In conjunction with varied site-specific temporal patterns of individual modes of life, these spatial and temporal heterogeneities argue against a concerted phase shift of molluscan assemblages from one well-defined regime to another. At a broader ecological level, by contrast, congruent tendencies emerge and suggest deterministic processes. These patterns comprise the well-known increase of deposit-feeding mollusks in postextinction assemblages and increases in predators and predator-resistant modes of life, i.e., those characterized by elevated mobility and infaunal life habits.

  18. The evidence for and against astronomical impacts on climate change and mass extinctions: a review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bailer-Jones, C. A. L.

    2009-07-01

    Numerous studies over the past 30 years have suggested there is a causal connection between the motion of the Sun through the Galaxy and terrestrial mass extinctions or climate change. Proposed mechanisms include comet impacts (via perturbation of the Oort cloud), cosmic rays and supernovae, the effects of which are modulated by the passage of the Sun through the Galactic midplane or spiral arms. Supposed periodicities in the fossil record, impact cratering dates or climate proxies over the Phanerozoic (past 545 Myr) are frequently cited as evidence in support of these hypotheses. This remains a controversial subject, with many refutations and replies having been published. Here I review both the mechanisms and the evidence for and against the relevance of astronomical phenomena to climate change and evolution. This necessarily includes a critical assessment of time series analysis techniques and hypothesis testing. Some of the studies have suffered from flaws in methodology, in particular drawing incorrect conclusions based on ruling out a null hypothesis. I conclude that there is little evidence for intrinsic periodicities in biodiversity, impact cratering or climate on timescales of tens to hundreds of Myr. Although this does not rule out the mechanisms, the numerous assumptions and uncertainties involved in the interpretation of the geological data and in particular in the astronomical mechanisms suggest that Galactic midplane and spiral arm crossings have little impact on biological or climate variation above background level. Non-periodic impacts and terrestrial mechanisms (volcanism, plate tectonics, sea level changes), possibly occurring simultaneously, remain likely causes of many environmental catastrophes. Internal dynamics of the biosphere may also play a role. In contrast, there is little evidence supporting the idea that cosmic rays have a significant influence on climate through cloud formation. It seems likely that more than one mechanism has

  19. Persistent ecological shifts in marine molluscan assemblages across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Aberhan, Martin; Kiessling, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Contemporary biodiversity loss and population declines threaten to push the biosphere toward a tipping point with irreversible effects on ecosystem composition and function. As a potential example of a global-scale regime shift in the geological past, we assessed ecological changes across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction based on molluscan assemblages at four well-studied sites. By contrasting preextinction and postextinction rank abundance and numerical abundance in 19 molluscan modes of life—each defined as a unique combination of mobility level, feeding mode, and position relative to the substrate—we find distinct shifts in ecospace utilization, which significantly exceed predictions from null models. The magnitude of change in functional traits relative to normal temporal fluctuations at far-flung sites indicates that molluscan assemblages shifted to differently structured systems and faunal response was global. The strengths of temporal ecological shifts, however, are mostly within the range of preextinction site-to-site variability, demonstrating that local ecological turnover was similar to geographic variation over a broad latitudinal range. In conjunction with varied site-specific temporal patterns of individual modes of life, these spatial and temporal heterogeneities argue against a concerted phase shift of molluscan assemblages from one well-defined regime to another. At a broader ecological level, by contrast, congruent tendencies emerge and suggest deterministic processes. These patterns comprise the well-known increase of deposit-feeding mollusks in postextinction assemblages and increases in predators and predator-resistant modes of life, i.e., those characterized by elevated mobility and infaunal life habits. PMID:25941366

  20. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China-Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China. PMID:26538179

  1. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China—Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-11-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China.

  2. Unusual Deep Water sponge assemblage in South China—Witness of the end-Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Li, Lixia; Feng, Hongzhen; Janussen, Dorte; Reitner, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    There are few sponges known from the end-Ordovician to early-Silurian strata all over the world, and no records of sponge fossils have been found yet in China during this interval. Here we report a unique sponge assemblage spanning the interval of the end-Ordovician mass extinction from the Kaochiapien Formation (Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian) in South China. This assemblage contains a variety of well-preserved siliceous sponges, including both Burgess Shale-type and modern type taxa. It is clear that this assemblage developed in deep water, low energy ecosystem with less competitors and more vacant niches. Its explosion may be related to the euxinic and anoxic condition as well as the noticeable transgression during the end-Ordovician mass extinction. The excellent preservation of this assemblage is probably due to the rapid burial by mud turbidites. This unusual sponge assemblage provides a link between the Burgess Shale-type deep water sponges and the modern forms. It gives an excellent insight into the deep sea palaeoecology and the macroevolution of Phanerozoic sponges, and opens a new window to investigate the marine ecosystem before and after the end-Ordovician mass extinction. It also offers potential to search for exceptional fossil biota across the Ordovician-Silurian boundary interval in China. PMID:26538179

  3. The Arches cluster out to its tidal radius: dynamical mass segregation and the effect of the extinction law on the stellar mass function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Habibi, M.; Stolte, A.; Brandner, W.; Hußmann, B.; Motohara, K.

    2013-08-01

    The Galactic center is the most active site of star formation in the Milky Way, where particularly high-mass stars have formed very recently and are still forming today. However, since we are looking at the Galactic center through the Galactic disk, knowledge of extinction is crucial when studying this region. The Arches cluster is a young, massive starburst cluster near the Galactic center. We observed the Arches cluster out to its tidal radius using Ks-band imaging obtained with NAOS/CONICA at the VLT combined with Subaru/CISCO J-band data to gain a full understanding of the cluster mass distribution. We show that the determination of the mass of the most massive star in the Arches cluster, which had been used in previous studies to establish an upper mass limit for the star formation process in the Milky Way, strongly depends on the assumed slope of the extinction law. Assuming the two regimes of widely used infrared extinction laws, we show that the difference can reach up to 30% for individually derived stellar masses and ΔAKs ~ 1 magnitude in acquired Ks-band extinction, while the present-day mass function slope changes by ~ 0.17 dex. The present-day mass function slope derived assuming the more recent extinction law increases from a flat slope of αNishi = -1.50 ± 0.35 in the core (r < 0.2 pc) to αNishi = -2.21 ± 0.27 in the intermediate annulus (0.2 < r < 0.4 pc), where the Salpeter slope is -2.3. The mass function steepens to αNishi = -3.21 ± 0.30 in the outer annulus (0.4 < r < 1.5 pc), indicating that the outer cluster region is depleted of high-mass stars. This picture is consistent with mass segregation owing to the dynamical evolution of the cluster. Based on observations collected at the ESO/VLT under Program ID 081.D-0572(B) (PI: Brandner) and ID 71.C-0344(A) (PI: Eisenhauer, retrieved from the ESO archive). Also based on data collected at the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.Full Table 5 is

  4. Relationships between ocean anoxia, the biological pump, and marine animal life during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, K. M.; Schaal, E. K.; Payne, J.

    2013-12-01

    Ocean anoxia/euxinia and carbon cycle instability have long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction and the Early Triassic interval of delayed or interrupted biotic recovery. Many hypotheses to explain this extinction event invoke the release of greenhouse gases during the emplacement of the Siberian Traps, which likely triggered abrupt changes in marine biogeochemical cycling, atmospheric chemistry, and biodiversity. However, the precise ways in which volcanism and these perturbations are linked and how they governed the tempo and mode of biotic recovery remain poorly understood. Here we highlight new C, Ca, and Sr isotopic data that serve to link volcanic CO2 inputs to changes in marine biogeochemistry and environmental change. We then examine the relationship between ocean biogeochemistry, the biological pump, and marine animal ecosystems during the end-Permian mass extinction and Early Triassic recovery. Finally, we use numerical simulations to probe whether these relationships also explain broad Phanerozoic trends in ocean nutrient status, anoxia, and productivity of marine ecosystems.

  5. THE INITIAL MASS FUNCTION AND DISK FREQUENCY OF THE {rho} OPHIUCHI CLOUD: AN EXTINCTION-LIMITED SAMPLE

    SciTech Connect

    Erickson, Kristen L.; Wilking, Bruce A.; Robinson, John G.; Stephenson, Lauren N.; Meyer, Michael R. E-mail: bwilking@umsl.edu E-mail: lnafff@mail.umsl.edu

    2011-10-15

    We have completed an optical spectroscopic survey of an unbiased, extinction-limited sample of candidate young stars covering 1.3 deg{sup 2} of the {rho} Ophiuchi star-forming region. While infrared, X-ray, and optical surveys of the cloud have identified many young stellar objects (YSOs), these surveys are biased toward particular stages of stellar evolution and are not optimal for studies of the disk frequency and initial mass function. We have obtained over 300 optical spectra to help identify 135 association members based on the presence of H{alpha} in emission, lithium absorption, X-ray emission, a mid-infrared excess, a common proper motion, reflection nebulosity, and/or extinction considerations. Spectral types along with R- and I-band photometry were used to derive effective temperatures and bolometric luminosities for association members to compare with theoretical tracks and isochrones for pre-main-sequence stars. An average age of 3.1 Myr is derived for this population which is intermediate between that of objects embedded in the cloud core of {rho} Ophiuchi and low-mass stars in the Upper Scorpius subgroup. Consistent with this age we find a circumstellar disk frequency of 27% {+-} 5%. We also constructed an initial mass function for an extinction-limited sample of 123 YSOs (A{sub v} {<=} 8 mag), which is consistent with the field star initial mass function for YSOs with masses >0.2 M{sub sun}. There may be a deficit of brown dwarfs but this result relies on completeness corrections and requires confirmation.

  6. Changhsingian conodont succession and the end-Permian mass extinction event at the Daijiagou section in Chongqing, Southwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Dong-xun; Chen, Jun; Zhang, Yi-chun; Zheng, Quan-feng; Shen, Shu-zhong

    2015-06-01

    Previous studies suggested rapid evolution of conodonts across the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB), and the end-Permian mass extinction pattern varies in different sections in South China. Here we document a high-resolution conodont succession from a carbonate facies of the Changhsingian Stage and across the PTB at the Daijiagou section, about 35 km north to Chongqing City, Southwest China. Two genera and twelve species are identified. Seven conodont zones are recognized from the uppermost part of the Lungtan Formation to the lowest Feixianguan Formation. They are the Clarkina liangshanensis, C. wangi, C. subcarinata, C. changxingensis, C. yini, C. meishanensis, and Hindeodus parvus zones in ascending order. Based on the high-resolution biostratigraphical framework at Daijiagou, the end-Permian mass extinction was rapid and it began in the base of the Clarkina meishanensis Zone. Associated with the extinction, a negative excursion of δ13Ccarb started in the middle part of Clarkina yini Zone with a progressive shift of 1.6‰ to the middle part of the Clarkina meishanensis, followed by a sharp shift of 3.51‰ from the Clarkina meishanensis Zone to the Hindeodus parvus Zone. Our study also suggests that the Triassic index species Hindeodus parvus co-occurred with Hindeodus changxingensis and Clarkina zhejiangensis and directly overlies the Clarkina meishanensis Zone at the Daijiagou section. All these data from the Daijiagou section and some previous studies of other sections in Sichuan, Guizhou provinces and Chongqing City suggest that the first occurrences of Hindeodus parvus are slightly earlier than the sharp negative excursion of δ13Ccarb and the FAD at the Meishan GSSP section. We consider that the slight difference of the end-Permian mass extinction, chemostratigraphy and conodont biostratigraphy at Daijiagou and its adjacent areas is most likely subject to different lithofacies, fossil preservation, and the constraint on the stratigraphic resolution rather

  7. Fossil vertebrates from Antigua, Lesser Antilles: Evidence for late Holocene human-caused extinctions in the West Indies

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Pregill, Gregory K.; Olson, Storrs L.

    1984-01-01

    Vertebrate remains recovered from a limestone fissure filling on Antigua, Lesser Antilles, are associated with radiocarbon dates ranging from 4300 to 2500 yr B.P., contemporaneous with the earliest aboriginal human occupation of the island. Nine taxa of lizards, snakes, birds, bats, and rodents (one-third of the total number of species represented as fossils) are either completely extinct or have never been recorded historically from Antigua. These extinctions came long after any major climatic changes of the Pleistocene and are best attributed to human-caused environmental degradation in the past 3500 yr. Such unnatural influences have probably altered patterns of distribution and species diversity throughout the West Indies, thus rendering unreliable the data traditionally used in ecological and biogeographic studies that consider only the historically known fauna. PMID:16593490

  8. End-Permian mass extinction caused by high volatile halogenated gases from giant salt lakes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lisitsyna, Lidia; Weissflog, Ludwig

    2010-05-01

    Climatic and paleotoxicological processes, which caused mass extinction (ME) approx. 250 Ma ago may also play a decisive role in the present day sixth large-scale ME of species, caused by mankind. The speed with which the currently ME is taking effect is higher by a factor of 1000 than that of 100 years ago (8th UN Conference on Biological Diversity in 2006, Djoghlaf, 2006). The worldwide increasing temperature and dryness incorporated in climate change are already leading to progressive desertification and to an increase in number and surface areas of hyper saline salt lakes, salt lagoons, saline marshlands and sabkhas. Furthermore the predicted sea level rise by approx. 1 m (even up to 6 m according to more recent assumptions) leads to an expansion or new formation of salt ecosystems caused by flooding of coastal areas and hinterland. Particularly in regions with current and/or future semiarid and arid climatic features this will lead, amongst others, to increased emissions of naturally formed phytotoxic VHCs. Additionally, wind and storms will transport large quantities of salt (dust) from surfaces of these parched hyper saline salt ecosystems for uptake in so far unsalinated soils. An example of this is currently apparent in Central Asia, where several hundred thousand metric tons of salt dust are picked up every year from the former sea floor of the drying-up Aral Sea, the Kara-Bogaz-Gol and saline marshlands of Caspian Sea and transported several thousand kilometers [Orlovsky and Orlovsky, 2001]. In combination with increasing temperatures, intensive radiation and increasing input of man-made pollutants, desert areas of Central Asia are expanding ever faster. In this context it has to be borne in mind that today's observations only refer to a timeframe of a few years or decades. The developments at end-Permian, on the other hand, encompass approx. 100,000 years. In this respect, the current state of art does not permit any definite statements as to what

  9. A comparison of the effects of random and selective mass extinctions on erosion of evolutionary history in communities of digital organisms.

    PubMed

    Yedid, Gabriel; Stredwick, Jason; Ofria, Charles A; Agapow, Paul-Michael

    2012-01-01

    The effect of mass extinctions on phylogenetic diversity and branching history of clades remains poorly understood in paleobiology. We examined the phylogenies of communities of digital organisms undergoing open-ended evolution as we subjected them to instantaneous "pulse" extinctions, choosing survivors at random, and to prolonged "press" extinctions involving a period of low resource availability. We measured age of the phylogenetic root and tree stemminess, and evaluated how branching history of the phylogenetic trees was affected by the extinction treatments. We found that strong random (pulse) and strong selective extinction (press) both left clear long-term signatures in root age distribution and tree stemminess, and eroded deep branching history to a greater degree than did weak extinction and control treatments. The widely-used Pybus-Harvey gamma statistic showed a clear short-term response to extinction and recovery, but differences between treatments diminished over time and did not show a long-term signature. The characteristics of post-extinction phylogenies were often affected as much by the recovery interval as by the extinction episode itself. PMID:22693570

  10. Excursions in Stable Carbon Isotopes at the End-Triassic Mass Extinction: Eastern North America and Morocco

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whiteside, J. H.; Et-Touhami, M.

    2012-04-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction (ETE) at 201.4 million years ago is one of the five largest ecological disasters of the last 600 million years. Its cause is thought to be related to flood basalt eruptions of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). In eastern North America, non-marine deposits recording this extinction occur below the oldest basalts (1), whereas in Morocco the extinction appears to be synchronous or possibly above the oldest basalt flow (2). In marine and paralic strata of Europe, the extinction is marked by a distinct negative carbon isotopic (δ13C) excursion (CIE) (3). This CIE is also apparent in organic carbon records from eastern North America (4,5). Here we present new δ13C data from organic carbon and terrestrial plant derived n-alkanes from the Central High Atlas and Argana basins [6] of Morocco). These data also suggest that the CIE is coincident with the ETE. In the Passaic Formation of the Newark basin, the negative excursion is associated with the palynofloral extinction level and a fern spore abundance anomaly (fern spike) (7). In the Silver Ridge core (B-2) from the Hartford basin (Connecticut), the negative excursion is also associated with an equisetalian spore spike. In the Fundy basin, at Partridge Island, Nova Scotia, the negative excursion occurs at the palynofloral extinction level, below the oldest basalts [here and (5)], and in Morocco it occurs just below the oldest basalts where Triassic pollen taxa are still present [here and 6)]. One interpretation is that the CIE is synchronous globally and reflects a major anomaly in the Earth's carbon cycle (e.g., 8). However, it is also possible that this pattern is a coincidence of artifactual enrichments of 12C in depositional and early diagenetic environments cut off from the exchangeable global reservoirs, such as in eastern North American lakes (4) and possibly in the canonical shallow marine sections from the UK. Distinguishing between these two classes of hypotheses is

  11. Disc dark matter in the Galaxy and potential cycles of extraterrestrial impacts, mass extinctions and geological events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampino, Michael R.

    2015-04-01

    A cycle in the range of 26-30 Myr has been reported in mass extinctions, and terrestrial impact cratering may exhibit a similar cycle of 31 ± 5 Myr. These cycles have been attributed to the Sun's vertical oscillations through the Galactic disc, estimated to take from ˜30 to 42 Myr between Galactic plane crossings. Near the Galactic mid-plane, the Solar system's Oort Cloud comets could be perturbed by Galactic tidal forces, and possibly a thin dark matter (DM) disc, which might produce periodic comet showers and extinctions on the Earth. Passage of the Earth through especially dense clumps of DM, composed of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) in the Galactic plane, could also lead to heating in the core of the planet through capture and subsequent annihilation of DM particles. This new source of periodic heating in the Earth's interior might explain a similar ˜30 Myr periodicity observed in terrestrial geologic activity, which may also be involved in extinctions. These results suggest that cycles of geological and biological evolution on the Earth may be partly controlled by the rhythms of Galactic dynamics.

  12. Variation in center of mass estimates for extant sauropsids and its importance for reconstructing inertial properties of extinct archosaurs.

    PubMed

    Allen, Vivian; Paxton, Heather; Hutchinson, John R

    2009-09-01

    Inertial properties of animal bodies and segments are critical input parameters for biomechanical analysis of standing and moving, and thus are important for paleobiological inquiries into the broader behaviors, ecology and evolution of extinct taxa such as dinosaurs. But how accurately can these be estimated? Computational modeling was used to estimate the inertial properties including mass, density, and center of mass (COM) for extant crocodiles (adult and juvenile Crocodylus johnstoni) and birds (Gallus gallus; junglefowl and broiler chickens), to identify the chief sources of variation and methodological errors, and their significance. High-resolution computed tomography scans were segmented into 3D objects and imported into inertial property estimation software that allowed for the examination of variable body segment densities (e.g., air spaces such as lungs, and deformable body outlines). Considerable biological variation of inertial properties was found within groups due to ontogenetic changes as well as evolutionary changes between chicken groups. COM positions shift in variable directions during ontogeny in different groups. Our method was repeatable and the resolution was sufficient for accurate estimations of mass and density in particular. However, we also found considerable potential methodological errors for COM related to (1) assumed body segment orientation, (2) what frames of reference are used to normalize COM for size-independent comparisons among animals, and (3) assumptions about tail shape. Methods and assumptions are suggested to minimize these errors in the future and thereby improve estimation of inertial properties for extant and extinct animals. In the best cases, 10%-15% errors in these estimates are unavoidable, but particularly for extinct taxa errors closer to 50% should be expected, and therefore, cautiously investigated. Nonetheless in the best cases these methods allow rigorous estimation of inertial properties. PMID:19711477

  13. Strangelove Ocean and Deposition of Unusual Shallow-Water Carbonates After the End-Permian Mass Extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Caldeira, Ken

    2003-01-01

    The severe mass extinction of marine and terrestrial organisms at the end of the Permian Period (approx. 251 Ma) was accompanied by a rapid negative excursion of approx. 3 to 4 per mil in the carbon-isotope ratio of the global surface oceans and atmosphere that persisted for some 500,000 into the Early Triassic. Simulations with an ocean-atmosphere/carbon-cycle model suggest that the isotope excursion can be explained by collapse of ocean primary productivity (a Strangelove Ocean) and changes in the delivery and cycling of carbon in the ocean and on land. Model results also suggest that perturbations of the global carbon cycle resulting from the extinctions led to short-term fluctuations in atmospheric pCO2 and ocean carbonate deposition, and to a long-term (>1 Ma) decrease in sedimentary burial of organic carbon in the Triassic. Deposition of calcium carbonate is a major sink of river-derived ocean alkalinity and for CO2 from the ocean/atmosphere system. The end of the Permian was marked by extinction of most calcium carbonate secreting organisms. Therefore, the reduction of carbonate accumulation made the oceans vulnerable to a build-up of alkalinity and related fluctuations in atmospheric CO2. Our model results suggest that an increase in ocean carbonate-ion concentration should cause increased carbonate accumulation rates in shallow-water settings. After the end-Permian extinctions, early Triassic shallow-water sediments show an abundance of abiogenic and microbial carbonates that removed CaCO3 from the ocean and may have prevented a full 'ocean-alkalinity crisis' from developing.

  14. The Dynamic Response of Marine Life to Extreme Temperature and Low Oxygen Events Following the End-Permian Mass Extinction.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pietsch, C.; Bottjer, D. J.

    2014-12-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction was the most devastating taxonomic and ecological crisis in the history of life on Earth. The recovery lasted 5 My making it the longest in geologic history, although the cause of the delay is still heavily debated. We find that additional environmental changes during the recovery interval reset the attempts that marine communities made toward ecological complexity, resulting in the overall appearance of a stagnant recovery. The extinction mechanisms during the end-Permian include extreme temperature change and low oxygen environments resulting from the volcanic emission of carbon dioxide and other toxic gasses to the atmosphere. The biotic response to ancient environmental change is a direct analog for the ecological impacts of modern anthropogenic climate change. We applied an ecological recovery rubric to benthic, sea floor dwelling, communities throughout the Early Triassic recovery in two major ocean basins. Newly collected bulk fossil data from the Moenkopi and Thaynes Formations from the Southwest US and the Werfen Formation in Italy were analyzed along with literature data. In Italy, directly following the extinction, low oxygen environments prevented an ecological rebound. Once low oxygen conditions receded, 600 kyr after the extinction, taxonomic diversity, fossil body size, and trace fossil complexity rebounded. A little more than 1 My into the Early Triassic, an extreme temperature event resulted in a reset of community complexity in both Italy and the Southwest US. The body size of gastropods and the repopulation of echinoderms were significantly inhibited as was trace fossil complexity. Low oxygen conditions that developed in the last ~2My of the Early Triassic limited diversity and body size in the Southwest United States. The stagnant recovery is re-interpreted as dynamic resets and rapid rebounds driven by environmental perturbations throughout the Early Triassic.

  15. Geochemical and palynological records for the end-Triassic Mass-Extinction Event in the NE Paris Basin (Luxemburg)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhlmann, Natascha; van de Schootbrugge, Bas; Thein, Jean; Fiebig, Jens; Franz, Sven-Oliver; Hanzo, Micheline; Colbach, Robert; Faber, Alain

    2016-04-01

    The End-Triassic mass-extinction event is one of the "big five" mass extinctions in Earth's history. Large scale flood basalt volcanism associated with the break-up of Pangaea, which resulted in the opening of the central Atlantic Ocean, is considered as the leading cause. In addition, an asteroid impact in Rochechouart (France; 201 ± 2 Ma) may have had a local influence on ecosystems and sedimentary settings. The Luxembourg Embayment, in the NE Paris Basin, offers a rare chance to study both effects in a range of settings from deltaic to lagoonal. A multidisciplinary study (sedimentology, geochemistry, palynology) has been carried out on a number of outcrops and cores that span from the Norian to lower Hettangian. Combined geochemical and palynological records from the Boust core drilled in the NE Paris Basin, provide evidence for paleoenvironmental changes associated with the end-Triassic mass-extinction event. The Triassic-Jurassic stratigraphy of the Boust core is well constrained by palynomorphs showing the disappaerance of typical Triassic pollen taxa (e.g. Ricciisporites tuberculates) and the occurrence of the marker species Polypodiisporites polymicroforatus within the uppermost Rhaetian, prior to the Hettangian dominance of Classopollis pollen. The organic carbon stable isotope record (δ13Corg) spanning the Norian to Hettangian, shows a series of prominent negative excursions within the middle Rhaetian, followed by a trend towards more positive values (approx -24 per mille) within the uppermost Rhaetian Argiles de Levallois Member. The lowermost Hettangian is characterized by a major negative excursion, reaching - 30 per mille that occurs in organic-rich sediments. This so-called "main negative excursion" is well-known from other locations, for example from Mariental in Northern Germany and from St Audrie's Bay in England, and Stenlille in Denmark. Based on redox-sensitive trace element records (V, Cr, Ni, Co, Th, U) the lowermost Hettangian in most of

  16. Quantitative inferences on the locomotor behaviour of extinct species applied to Simocyon batalleri (Ailuridae, Late Miocene, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fabre, Anne-Claire; Salesa, Manuel J.; Cornette, Raphael; Antón, Mauricio; Morales, Jorge; Peigné, Stéphane

    2015-06-01

    Inferences of function and ecology in extinct taxa have long been a subject of interest because it is fundamental to understand the evolutionary history of species. In this study, we use a quantitative approach to investigate the locomotor behaviour of Simocyon batalleri, a key taxon related to the ailurid family. To do so, we use 3D surface geometric morphometric approaches on the three long bones of the forelimb of an extant reference sample. Next, we test the locomotor strategy of S. batalleri using a leave-one-out cross-validated linear discriminant analysis. Our results show that S. batalleri is included in the morphospace of the living species of musteloids. However, each bone of the forelimb appears to show a different functional signal suggesting that inferring the lifestyle or locomotor behaviour of fossils can be difficult and dependent on the bone investigated. This highlights the importance of studying, where possible, a maximum of skeletal elements to be able to make robust inferences on the lifestyle of extinct species. Finally, our results suggest that S. batalleri may be more arboreal than previously suggested.

  17. Severest crisis overlooked—Worst disruption of terrestrial environments postdates the Permian–Triassic mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Hochuli, Peter A.; Sanson-Barrera, Anna; Schneebeli-Hermann, Elke; Bucher, Hugo

    2016-01-01

    Generally Early Triassic floras are believed to be depauperate, suffering from protracted recovery following the Permian–Triassic extinction event. Here we present palynological data of an expanded East Greenland section documenting recovered floras in the basal Triassic (Griesbachian) and a subsequent fundamental floral turnover, postdating the Permian–Triassic boundary extinction by about 500 kyrs. This event is marked by a swap in dominating floral elements, changing from gymnosperm pollen-dominated associations in the Griesbachian to lycopsid spore-dominated assemblages in the Dienerian. This turnover coincides with an extreme δ13Corg negative shift revealing a severe environmental crisis, probably induced by volcanic outbursts of the Siberian Traps, accompanied by a climatic turnover, changing from cool and dry in the Griesbachian to hot and humid in the Dienerian. Estimates of sedimentation rates suggest that this environmental alteration took place within some 1000 years. Similar, coeval changes documented on the North Indian Margin (Pakistan) and the Bowen Basin (Australia) indicate the global extent of this crisis. Our results evidence the first profound disruption of the recovery of terrestrial environments about 500kyrs after the Permian–Triassic extinction event. It was followed by another crisis, about 1myrs later thus, the Early Triassic can be characterised as a time of successive environmental crises. PMID:27340926

  18. Severest crisis overlooked-Worst disruption of terrestrial environments postdates the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Hochuli, Peter A; Sanson-Barrera, Anna; Schneebeli-Hermann, Elke; Bucher, Hugo

    2016-01-01

    Generally Early Triassic floras are believed to be depauperate, suffering from protracted recovery following the Permian-Triassic extinction event. Here we present palynological data of an expanded East Greenland section documenting recovered floras in the basal Triassic (Griesbachian) and a subsequent fundamental floral turnover, postdating the Permian-Triassic boundary extinction by about 500 kyrs. This event is marked by a swap in dominating floral elements, changing from gymnosperm pollen-dominated associations in the Griesbachian to lycopsid spore-dominated assemblages in the Dienerian. This turnover coincides with an extreme δ(13)Corg negative shift revealing a severe environmental crisis, probably induced by volcanic outbursts of the Siberian Traps, accompanied by a climatic turnover, changing from cool and dry in the Griesbachian to hot and humid in the Dienerian. Estimates of sedimentation rates suggest that this environmental alteration took place within some 1000 years. Similar, coeval changes documented on the North Indian Margin (Pakistan) and the Bowen Basin (Australia) indicate the global extent of this crisis. Our results evidence the first profound disruption of the recovery of terrestrial environments about 500kyrs after the Permian-Triassic extinction event. It was followed by another crisis, about 1myrs later thus, the Early Triassic can be characterised as a time of successive environmental crises. PMID:27340926

  19. Severest crisis overlooked—Worst disruption of terrestrial environments postdates the Permian–Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hochuli, Peter A.; Sanson-Barrera, Anna; Schneebeli-Hermann, Elke; Bucher, Hugo

    2016-06-01

    Generally Early Triassic floras are believed to be depauperate, suffering from protracted recovery following the Permian–Triassic extinction event. Here we present palynological data of an expanded East Greenland section documenting recovered floras in the basal Triassic (Griesbachian) and a subsequent fundamental floral turnover, postdating the Permian–Triassic boundary extinction by about 500 kyrs. This event is marked by a swap in dominating floral elements, changing from gymnosperm pollen-dominated associations in the Griesbachian to lycopsid spore-dominated assemblages in the Dienerian. This turnover coincides with an extreme δ13Corg negative shift revealing a severe environmental crisis, probably induced by volcanic outbursts of the Siberian Traps, accompanied by a climatic turnover, changing from cool and dry in the Griesbachian to hot and humid in the Dienerian. Estimates of sedimentation rates suggest that this environmental alteration took place within some 1000 years. Similar, coeval changes documented on the North Indian Margin (Pakistan) and the Bowen Basin (Australia) indicate the global extent of this crisis. Our results evidence the first profound disruption of the recovery of terrestrial environments about 500kyrs after the Permian–Triassic extinction event. It was followed by another crisis, about 1myrs later thus, the Early Triassic can be characterised as a time of successive environmental crises.

  20. Explosive eruption of coal and basalt and the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ogden, Darcy E; Sleep, Norman H

    2012-01-01

    The end-Permian extinction decimated up to 95% of carbonate shell-bearing marine species and 80% of land animals. Isotopic excursions, dissolution of shallow marine carbonates, and the demise of carbonate shell-bearing organisms suggest global warming and ocean acidification. The temporal association of the extinction with the Siberia flood basalts at approximately 250 Ma is well known, and recent evidence suggests these flood basalts may have mobilized carbon in thick deposits of organic-rich sediments. Large isotopic excursions recorded in this period are potentially explained by rapid venting of coal-derived methane, which has primarily been attributed to metamorphism of coal by basaltic intrusion. However, recently discovered contemporaneous deposits of fly ash in northern Canada suggest large-scale combustion of coal as an additional mechanism for rapid release of carbon. This massive coal combustion may have resulted from explosive interaction with basalt sills of the Siberian Traps. Here we present physical analysis of explosive eruption of coal and basalt, demonstrating that it is a viable mechanism for global extinction. We describe and constrain the physics of this process including necessary magnitudes of basaltic intrusion, mixing and mobilization of coal and basalt, ascent to the surface, explosive combustion, and the atmospheric rise necessary for global distribution. PMID:22184229

  1. Explosive eruption of coal and basalt and the end-Permian mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ogden, Darcy E.; Sleep, Norman H.

    2012-01-01

    The end-Permian extinction decimated up to 95% of carbonate shell-bearing marine species and 80% of land animals. Isotopic excursions, dissolution of shallow marine carbonates, and the demise of carbonate shell-bearing organisms suggest global warming and ocean acidification. The temporal association of the extinction with the Siberia flood basalts at approximately 250 Ma is well known, and recent evidence suggests these flood basalts may have mobilized carbon in thick deposits of organic-rich sediments. Large isotopic excursions recorded in this period are potentially explained by rapid venting of coal-derived methane, which has primarily been attributed to metamorphism of coal by basaltic intrusion. However, recently discovered contemporaneous deposits of fly ash in northern Canada suggest large-scale combustion of coal as an additional mechanism for rapid release of carbon. This massive coal combustion may have resulted from explosive interaction with basalt sills of the Siberian Traps. Here we present physical analysis of explosive eruption of coal and basalt, demonstrating that it is a viable mechanism for global extinction. We describe and constrain the physics of this process including necessary magnitudes of basaltic intrusion, mixing and mobilization of coal and basalt, ascent to the surface, explosive combustion, and the atmospheric rise necessary for global distribution. PMID:22184229

  2. Explosive eruption of coal and basalt and the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ogden, Darcy E.; Sleep, Norman H.

    2012-01-01

    The end-Permian extinction decimated up to 95% of carbonate shell-bearing marine species and 80% of land animals. Isotopic excursions, dissolution of shallow marine carbonates, and the demise of carbonate shell-bearing organisms suggest global warming and ocean acidification. The temporal association of the extinction with the Siberia flood basalts at approximately 250 Ma is well known, and recent evidence suggests these flood basalts may have mobilized carbon in thick deposits of organic-rich sediments. Large isotopic excursions recorded in this period are potentially explained by rapid venting of coal-derived methane, which has primarily been attributed to metamorphism of coal by basaltic intrusion. However, recently discovered contemporaneous deposits of fly ash in northern Canada suggest large-scale combustion of coal as an additional mechanism for rapid release of carbon. This massive coal combustion may have resulted from explosive interaction with basalt sills of the Siberian Traps. Here we present physical analysis of explosive eruption of coal and basalt, demonstrating that it is a viable mechanism for global extinction. We describe and constrain the physics of this process including necessary magnitudes of basaltic intrusion, mixing and mobilization of coal and basalt, ascent to the surface, explosive combustion, and the atmospheric rise necessary for global distribution.

  3. The middle Toarcian cold snap: Trigger of mass extinction and carbonate factory demise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krencker, F. N.; Bodin, S.; Hoffmann, R.; Suan, G.; Mattioli, E.; Kabiri, L.; Föllmi, K. B.; Immenhauser, A.

    2014-06-01

    The Pliensbachian and Toarcian (Early Jurassic) ages are characterised by several, relatively short-lived carbon cycle perturbations, climate change and faunal turnover. The cause(s) of biotic and abiotic disturbances remain unclear but most probably involved increased magmatic activity in the Karoo-Ferrar large igneous province. The Toarcian oceanic anoxic event (T-OAE) might represent the most extreme of these events, and as such, is becoming increasingly well documented worldwide. So far, other critical time intervals of the Pliensbachian-Toarcian have received considerably less attention. Here, the effects of the Middle Toarcian Variabilis event on the neritic-epeiric realm are explored making use of three well-exposed and extended stratigraphic sections in the Central High Atlas, Morocco. The carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of 112 bulk micrite samples were analysed and placed against 39 data points from carefully screened brachiopod valves in order to differentiate between palaeo-environmental and diagenetic patterns. Additionally, the phosphorus concentrations of 109 micrite samples were determined to evaluate the P-cycling. In all studied sections, an upper middle Toarcian major change from carbonate- to clastics-dominated sedimentation is recorded, pointing to a first-order carbonate production crisis. Our results reveal that these major sedimentological patterns coincide with an increase of oxygen-isotope ratios as well as a decrease of phosphorous accumulation rates. This suggests that the late middle Toarcian carbonate ramp crisis was related to a transient cooling event, potentially triggered by pulsed massive SO4 exhalation events in the context of the Karoo large igneous province. Short-term cooling was likely amplified by the drawdown of atmospheric CO2 levels related to the coeval decline of neritic carbonate precipitation and the warm water mass circulation disruption between the Tethys and the continental shelf. The data shown here provide

  4. Selective extinction among Early Jurassic bivalves: A consequence of anoxia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aberhan, Martin; Baumiller, Tomasz K.

    2003-12-01

    Analyses of taxonomically standardized data sets demonstrate several statistically robust extinction patterns in Early Jurassic bivalve species from northwest Europe and the Andean basins of South America. In both regions, extinction intensities were significantly enhanced in late Pliensbachian and early Toarcian time as compared to all other time intervals. The same intervals (except for the early Toarcian of South America) also represent times of unusual extinction selectivity, with infaunal taxa suffering distinctly more than epifaunal forms. As infaunal suspension feeders are extremely rare components of Early Jurassic oxygen-controlled macrofaunas, these results are entirely compatible with sedimentological and geochemical data suggesting that widespread anoxia was a principal cause of the diversity crisis. Although many biotic traits that enhance survivorship during background times seem to be irrelevant during major mass extinctions, patterns of survivorship selectivity may provide more distinct clues to the causes of less severe mass extinctions.

  5. Compound-specific carbon isotopes from Earth’s largest flood basalt eruptions directly linked to the end-Triassic mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Whiteside, Jessica H.; Olsen, Paul E.; Eglinton, Timothy; Brookfield, Michael E.; Sambrotto, Raymond N.

    2010-01-01

    A leading hypothesis explaining Phanerozoic mass extinctions and associated carbon isotopic anomalies is the emission of greenhouse, other gases, and aerosols caused by eruptions of continental flood basalt provinces. However, the necessary serial relationship between these eruptions, isotopic excursions, and extinctions has never been tested in geological sections preserving all three records. The end-Triassic extinction (ETE) at 201.4 Ma is among the largest of these extinctions and is tied to a large negative carbon isotope excursion, reflecting perturbations of the carbon cycle including a transient increase in CO2. The cause of the ETE has been inferred to be the eruption of the giant Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). Here, we show that carbon isotopes of leaf wax derived lipids (n-alkanes), wood, and total organic carbon from two orbitally paced lacustrine sections interbedded with the CAMP in eastern North America show similar excursions to those seen in the mostly marine St. Audrie’s Bay section in England. Based on these results, the ETE began synchronously in marine and terrestrial environments slightly before the oldest basalts in eastern North America but simultaneous with the eruption of the oldest flows in Morocco, a CO2 super greenhouse, and marine biocalcification crisis. Because the temporal relationship between CAMP eruptions, mass extinction, and the carbon isotopic excursions are shown in the same place, this is the strongest case for a volcanic cause of a mass extinction to date. PMID:20308590

  6. PM2.5 mass, chemical composition, and light extinction before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Xinghua; He, Kebin; Li, Chengcai; Yang, Fumo; Zhao, Qing; Ma, Yongliang; Cheng, Yuan; Ouyang, Wenjuan; Chen, Gangcai

    2013-11-01

    contrast of air quality and visibility before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games provides a rare opportunity to investigate the links between PM2.5 mass, chemical composition, and light extinction in this megacity. Twenty-four hour integrated PM2.5 samples were collected, and light scattering coefficients and the concentrations of black carbon were measured at urban Beijing for this purpose during a measurement campaign from 1 July to 20 September 2008, which was classed into four stages according to the levels of emission control measures. Daily PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 15.9 to 156.7 µg m-3 with an average of 66.0 ± 35.1 µg m-3. The average PM2.5 mass during the Olympics decreased by 49% from the second stage (20 July to 7 August), mainly due to the reduction of secondary inorganic aerosols (i.e., sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium (SNA)). The counterintuitive increase of PM2.5 mass (by 27% on average) during the second stage with two most serious haze episodes, although more rigorous emission control measures were in place, compared to the first stage (1-19 July), was mainly explained by the unfavorable meteorology and input of sulfate aerosols. A daily PM2.5 mass threshold of 50 µg m-3 was extracted for frequent haze occurrence. The extinction fractions of SNA and organic material were each approximately 30% during the 20% best visibility days but changed to 81.7% and 8.4%, respectively, during the 20% worst visibility days. The results indicated that the role of SNA was magnified in haze formation during the 2008 summer in Beijing.

  7. Disappearance of the last lions and hyenas of Europe in the Late Quaternary - a chain reaction of large mammal prey migration, extinction and human antagonism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2010-05-01

    there are no records of indirectly dated hyena and lion remains being younger then even Aurignacian/Early Gravettian (35.000-28.000 BP). Those largest Late Quaternary predators must have got extinct in northern Germany with the Late Weichselian/Wuermian extending Skandinavian Glacier, which reached northern Europe between Hamburg and Berlin its maximum extension about 24.000 BP (Skupin et al. 1993). The two largest predators of the Late Quaternary of Europe seem to have been well represented in the Gravettian and up to Magdalénian Late Palaeolithic of southern Europe, in which mainly lions, but only rarely hyenas are well documented within the cave and mobile art (e.g Breuil 1952, Begouen and Clottes 1987, Chauvet et al. 1995, Diedrich and Rathgeber in review, Diedrich 2005). Hyenas and lions must have been represented in the Gravettian, Early and Middle and possibly even ?Late Magdalenian in southern Europe, which must have resulted from a southern migration of those predators during the Late Weichselian/Wuermian together with the megafauna and humans. The disappearance of hyenas and lions also correlate with the extinction of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros in northern Germany. The large mammals such as elephants and rhinoceroses were highly important for hyenas and lions during the Late Quaternary. Hyenas had a systematic scavenging strategy on both large prey which was even "transferred" until today compared to modern spotted hyenas and lions of Africa (Diedrich 2010d, e, in prep). Where those Late Quaternary giant mammals such as woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros were absent in middle mountainous regions (e.g. Sauerland Karst, Harz Mountain Karst, Bohemian Karst, Thuringian Karst) those had to kill other medium sized animals such as horse or steppe bison and those in larger amounts (Diedrich 2008, 2010c). Woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth seem to be not known in northern Germany after Aurignacian/?Early Gravettian times (Sauerland Karst and Münsterland Bay

  8. Magnetostratigraphy of a Marine Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Section, Kennecott Point, Queen Charlotte Islands: Implications for the Temporal Correlation of a 'Big Five' Mass Extinction Event.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hilburn, I. A.; Kirschvink, J. L.; Ward, P. D.; Haggart, J. W.; Raub, T. D.

    2008-12-01

    Several causes have been proposed for Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary extinctions, including global ocean anoxia/euxinia, an impact event, and/or eruption of the massive Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), but poor intercontinental correlation makes testing these difficult. Sections at Kennecott Point, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia span the late Norian through Rhaetian (Triassic) and into the earliest Hettangian (Jurassic) and provide the best integrated magneto- and chemostratigraphic framework for placing necessary temporal constraints upon the T-J mass extinctions. At Kennecott Point, turnover of radiolaria and ammonoids define the T-J boundary marine extinction and are coincident with a 2 ‰ negative excursion in δ13Corg similar in magnitude to that observed at Ferguson Hill (Muller Canyon), Nevada (1, 2). With Conodont Alteration Index values in the 1-2 range, Kennecott Point provides the ideal setting for use of magnetostratigraphy to tie the marine isotope excursion into the chronostratigraphic framework of the Newark, Hartford, and Fundy Basins. In the summer of 2005, we collected a ~1m resolution magnetostratigraphic section from 105 m of deep marine, silt- and sandstone turbidites and interbedded mudstones, spanning the T-J boundary at Kennecott Point. Hybrid progressive demagnetization - including zero-field, low-temperature cycling; low-field AF cleaning; and thermal demagnetization in ~25°C steps to 445°C under flowing N2 gas (3) - first removed a Northerly, steeply inclined component interpreted to be a Tertiary overprint, revealing an underlying dual-polarity component of moderate inclination. Five major polarity zones extend through our section, with several short, one-sample reversals interspersed amongst them. Comparison of this pattern with other T-J boundary sections (4-6) argues for a Northern hemisphere origin of our site, albeit with large vertical-axis rotations. A long normal chron bounds the T-J boundary punctuated

  9. New Extinction and Mass Estimates of the Low-mass Companion 1RXS 1609 B with the Magellan AO System: Evidence of an Inclined Dust Disk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Ya-Lin; Close, Laird M.; Males, Jared R.; Barman, Travis S.; Morzinski, Katie M.; Follette, Katherine B.; Bailey, Vanessa P.; Rodigas, Timothy J.; Hinz, Philip; Puglisi, Alfio; Xompero, Marco; Briguglio, Runa

    2015-07-01

    We used the Magellan adaptive optics system to image the 11 Myr substellar companion 1RXS 1609 B at the bluest wavelengths to date (z‧ and Ys). Comparison with synthetic spectra yields a higher temperature than previous studies of {T}{eff}=2000+/- 100 {{K}} and significant dust extinction of {A}V={4.5}-0.7+0.5 mag. Mass estimates based on the DUSTY tracks gives 0.012-0.015 {M}⊙ , making the companion likely a low-mass brown dwarf surrounded by a dusty disk. Our study suggests that 1RXS 1609 B is one of the ˜25% of Upper Scorpius low-mass members harboring disks, and it may have formed like a star and not a planet out at ˜320 AU. This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Clay Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.

  10. Correlated terrestrial and marine evidence for global climate changes before mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.

    PubMed

    Wilf, Peter; Johnson, Kirk R; Huber, Brian T

    2003-01-21

    Terrestrial climates near the time of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction are poorly known, limiting understanding of environmentally driven changes in biodiversity that occurred before bolide impact. We estimate paleotemperatures for the last approximately 1.1 million years of the Cretaceous ( approximately 66.6-65.5 million years ago, Ma) by using fossil plants from North Dakota and employ paleomagnetic stratigraphy to correlate the results to foraminiferal paleoclimatic data from four middle- and high-latitude sites. Both plants and foraminifera indicate warming near 66.0 Ma, a warming peak from approximately 65.8 to 65.6 Ma, and cooling near 65.6 Ma, suggesting that these were global climate shifts. The warming peak coincides with the immigration of a thermophilic flora, maximum plant diversity, and the poleward range expansion of thermophilic foraminifera. Plant data indicate the continuation of relatively cool temperatures across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary; there is no indication of a major warming immediately after the boundary as previously reported. Our temperature proxies correspond well with recent pCO(2) data from paleosol carbonate, suggesting a coupling of pCO(2) and temperature. To the extent that biodiversity is correlated with temperature, estimates of the severity of end-Cretaceous extinctions that are based on occurrence data from the warming peak are probably inflated, as we illustrate for North Dakota plants. However, our analysis of climate and facies considerations shows that the effects of bolide impact should be regarded as the most significant contributor to these plant extinctions. PMID:12524455

  11. Correlated terrestrial and marine evidence for global climate changes before mass extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

    PubMed Central

    Wilf, Peter; Johnson, Kirk R.; Huber, Brian T.

    2003-01-01

    Terrestrial climates near the time of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction are poorly known, limiting understanding of environmentally driven changes in biodiversity that occurred before bolide impact. We estimate paleotemperatures for the last ≈1.1 million years of the Cretaceous (≈66.6–65.5 million years ago, Ma) by using fossil plants from North Dakota and employ paleomagnetic stratigraphy to correlate the results to foraminiferal paleoclimatic data from four middle- and high-latitude sites. Both plants and foraminifera indicate warming near 66.0 Ma, a warming peak from ≈65.8 to 65.6 Ma, and cooling near 65.6 Ma, suggesting that these were global climate shifts. The warming peak coincides with the immigration of a thermophilic flora, maximum plant diversity, and the poleward range expansion of thermophilic foraminifera. Plant data indicate the continuation of relatively cool temperatures across the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary; there is no indication of a major warming immediately after the boundary as previously reported. Our temperature proxies correspond well with recent pCO2 data from paleosol carbonate, suggesting a coupling of pCO2 and temperature. To the extent that biodiversity is correlated with temperature, estimates of the severity of end-Cretaceous extinctions that are based on occurrence data from the warming peak are probably inflated, as we illustrate for North Dakota plants. However, our analysis of climate and facies considerations shows that the effects of bolide impact should be regarded as the most significant contributor to these plant extinctions. PMID:12524455

  12. Mass extinctions, atmospheric sulphur and climatic warming at the K/T boundary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampino, Michael R.; Volk, Tyler

    1988-01-01

    The possible climatic effects of a drastic decrease in cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) associated with a severe reduction in the global marine phytoplankton abundance are investigated. Calculations suggest that a reduction in CCN of more than 80 percent and the resulting decrease in marine cloud albedo could have produced a rapid global warming of 6 C or more. Oxygen isotope analyses of marine sediments from many parts of the world have been interpreted as indicating a marked warming coincident with the demise of calcareous nannoplankton at the K/T boundary. Decreased marine cloud albedo and resulting high sea surface temperatures could have been a factor in the maintenance of low productivity in the 'Strangelove Ocean' period following the K/T extinctions.

  13. Recovery Following the End-Triassic Mass Extinction: Insights from Mercury Anomalies and Their Relationship to the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corsetti, Frank; Thibodeau, Alyson; West, A. Joshua; Ritterbush, Kathleen; Yager, Joyce; Ibarra, Yadira; Bottjer, David; Berelson, William; Bergquist, Bridget; Rosas, Silvia

    2016-04-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and release of CO2 and other volatiles has been implicated in the extinction. However, the timing of marine biotic recovery versus CAMP eruptions remains uncertain. Here, we use Hg concentrations, Hg/TOC, and Hg isotopes as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg and Hg/TOC levels are low prior to the extinction, rise sharply in the extinction interval, peak just prior to the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, and remain above background in association with a depauperate (low diversity) earliest Jurassic fauna. The return of Hg to pre-extinction levels is associated with a significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. Hg isotopes display no significant mass independent fractionation (MIF) within the extinction and depauperate intervals, consistent with a volcanic origin for the Hg. The Hg and paleontological evidence from the same archive indicate that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. Notably, carbonate dominated ecosystems did not recover for ~1 million years following the last eruption of CAMP, longer than the typical duration implied for ocean acidification events implying other factors may have played a role in prolonging the recovery time of major carbonate-producing biota.

  14. The Triassic dicynodont Kombuisia (Synapsida, Anomodontia) from Antarctica, a refuge from the terrestrial Permian-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fröbisch, Jörg; Angielczyk, Kenneth D.; Sidor, Christian A.

    2010-02-01

    Fossils from the central Transantarctic Mountains in Antarctica are referred to a new species of the Triassic genus Kombuisia, one of four dicynodont lineages known to survive the end-Permian mass extinction. The specimens show a unique combination of characters only present in this genus, but the new species can be distinguished from the type species of the genus, Kombuisia frerensis, by the presence of a reduced but slit-like pineal foramen and the lack of contact between the postorbitals. Although incomplete, the Antarctic specimens are significant because Kombuisia was previously known only from the South African Karoo Basin and the new specimens extend the taxon’s biogeographic range to a wider portion of southern Pangaea. In addition, the new finds extend the known stratigraphic range of Kombuisia from the Middle Triassic subzone B of the Cynognathus Assemblage Zone into rocks that are equivalent in age to the Lower Triassic Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone, shortening the proposed ghost lineage of this taxon. Most importantly, the occurrence of Kombuisia and Lystrosaurus mccaigi in the Lower Triassic of Antarctica suggests that this area served as a refuge from some of the effects of the end-Permian extinction. The composition of the lower Fremouw Formation fauna implies a community structure similar to that of the ecologically anomalous Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone of South Africa, providing additional evidence for widespread ecological disturbance in the extinction’s aftermath.

  15. Extinction from a paleontological perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1993-01-01

    Extinction of widespread species is common in evolutionary time (millions of years) but rare in ecological time (hundreds or thousands of years). In the fossil record, there appears to be a smooth continuum between background and mass extinction; and the clustering of extinctions at mass extinctions cannot be explained by the chance coincidence of independent events. Although some extinction is selective, much is apparently random in that survivors have no recognizable superiority over victims. Extinction certainly plays an important role in evolution, but whether it is constructive or destructive has not yet been determined.

  16. Extinction from a paleontological perspective.

    PubMed

    Raup, D M

    1993-01-01

    Extinction of widespread species is common in evolutionary time (millions of years) but rare in ecological time (hundreds or thousands of years). In the fossil record, there appears to be a smooth continuum between background and mass extinction; and the clustering of extinctions at mass extinctions cannot be explained by the chance coincidence of independent events. Although some extinction is selective, much is apparently random in that survivors have no recognizable superiority over victims. Extinction certainly plays an important role in evolution, but whether it is constructive or destructive has not yet been determined. PMID:11539838

  17. The Formaldehyde Deep Field: A Mass-Limited, Distance-Independent, Extinction-Free Census of Cosmic Star Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darling, Jeremiah K.; Zeiger, B.

    2011-01-01

    We examine the absorption of cosmic microwave background (CMB) photons by formaldehyde (H2CO) over cosmic time. Centimeter-wave rotational transitions of H2CO become ``refrigerated'' by collisions with molecular hydrogen, driving their excitation temperatures below the CMB temperature. We demonstrate that the H2CO excitation and detectability is nearly independent of redshift or gas kinetic temperature. H2CO is thus a nearly distance-independent, extinction-free, molecular gas mass-limited tracer of galaxies and the cosmic star formation history. Moreover, H2CO line ratios provide a measurement of molecular gas density. A Formaldehyde Deep Field will be possible with large bandwidth sensitive radio interferometers such as the EVLA, spanning nearly the full history of star formation with uniform sensitivity in a single observation. This research was supported by NSF grant AST-0707713.

  18. The hydrocarbon cycle and its role in hyperthermals, ocean anoxic events and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahlgren, Torbjørn

    2016-04-01

    Release of light isotopic carbon, ocean oxygen deficiency and extinction characterizes the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The PETM carbon isotope excursion (CIE) has been linked to gas hydrate decomposition and/or methane release due to igneous intrusions in sedimentary basins. In reviewing the published geological and geochemical data it became apparent that the majority of observations are in fact compatible with a different source(s) of the light isotopic carbon, namely, that of fluids trapped in sedimentary basins. Here I make a connection between the drilled paleo-accumulations of oil and gas in the Barents Sea, their burial and tectonic history, and published data of the PETM that may be reinterpreted as to reflect large scale leakage of oil and gas accumulations. I focus on oil, as leaked oil has a preservation potential in the sedimentary record. In contrast, gas from either leaked gas accumulations or exsolution from pore waters has little preservation potential other than contributing to the CIE. Sedimentary records compatible with leaked oil is present in the Arctic Ocean and Spitsbergen as fluorescent bitumen/amorphous organic matter (AOM) with carbon isotope ratios and biomarker signatures similar to those recorded in Barents Sea oil samples. Bitumen/AOM-rich immature sediments are also found in the North Sea and unresolved complex organic matter compatible with highly weathered oil has been found as far south as Walvis Ridge, offshore Namibia. Large scale fluid leakage from sedimentary basins can also explain the increase in radiogenic Osmium and Rhenium that mimic the CIE. Also biological evidence such as the extinction of North Atlantic benthic foraminifera lineages, the A. Augustum bloom and the occurrence of malformed micro/nanno-fossils may be linked to large scale leakage of oil and diagenetically altered porewaters. The leaked oil and gas was partially re-cycled into an organic rich shale (source rock) suggesting a 'hydrocarbon cycle

  19. Microconchids from microbialite ecosystem immediately after end-Permian mass extinction: ecologic selectivity and implications for microbialite ecosystem structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, H.; Chen, Z.; Wang, Y. B.; Ou, W.; Liao, W.; Mei, X.

    2013-12-01

    The Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) carbonate successions are often characterized by the presence of microbialite buildups worldwide. The widespread microbialites are believed as indication of microbial proliferation immediately after the P-Tr mass extinction. The death of animals representing the primary consumer trophic structure of marine ecosystem in the P-Tr crisis allows the bloom of microbes as an important primary producer in marine trophic food web structure. Thus, the PTB microbialite builders have been regarded as disaster taxa of the P-Tr ecologic crisis. Microbialite ecosystems were suitable for most organisms to inhabit. However, increasing evidence show that microbialite dwellers are also considerably abundant and diverse, including mainly foraminifers Earlandia sp. and Rectocornuspira sp., lingulid brachiopods, ostrocods, gastropods, and microconchids. In particular, ostracods are extremely abundant in this special ecosystem. Microconchid-like calcareous tubes are also considerably abundant. Here, we have sampled systematically a PTB microbialite deposit from the Dajiang section, southern Guizhou Province, southwest China and have extracted abundant isolated specimens of calcareous worm tubes. Quantitative analysis enables to investigate stratigraphic and facies preferences of microconchids in the PTB microbialites. Our preliminary result indicates that three microconchid species Microconchus sp., Helicoconchus elongates and Microconchus aberrans inhabited in microbialite ecosystem. Most microconchilds occurred in the upper part of the microbialite buildup and the grainstone-packstone microfacies. Very few microconchilds were found in the rocks bearing well-developed microbialite structures. Their stratigraphic and environmental preferences indicate proliferation of those metazoan organisms is coupled with ebb of the microbialite development. They also proliferated in some local niches in which microbial activities were not very active even if those

  20. Biological Extinction in Earth History

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raup, David M.

    1986-03-01

    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.

  1. Biological extinction in earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. For this reason alone, extinction must play an important role in the evolution of life. The five largest mass extinctions of the past 600 million years are of greatest interest, but there is also a spectrum of smaller events, many of which indicate biological systems in profound stress. Extinction may be episodic at all scales, with relatively long periods of stability alternating with short-lived extinction events. Most extinction episodes are biologically selective, and further analysis of the victims and survivors offers the greatest chance of deducing the proximal causes of extinction. A drop in sea level and climatic change are most frequently invoked to explain mass extinctions, but new theories of collisions with extraterrestrial bodies are gaining favor. Extinction may be constructive in a Darwinian sense or it may only perturb the system by eliminating those organisms that happen to be susceptible to geologically rare stresses.

  2. Disappearance of the last lions and hyenas of Europe in the Late Quaternary - a chain reaction of large mammal prey migration, extinction and human antagonism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2010-05-01

    there are no records of indirectly dated hyena and lion remains being younger then even Aurignacian/Early Gravettian (35.000-28.000 BP). Those largest Late Quaternary predators must have got extinct in northern Germany with the Late Weichselian/Wuermian extending Skandinavian Glacier, which reached northern Europe between Hamburg and Berlin its maximum extension about 24.000 BP (Skupin et al. 1993). The two largest predators of the Late Quaternary of Europe seem to have been well represented in the Gravettian and up to Magdalénian Late Palaeolithic of southern Europe, in which mainly lions, but only rarely hyenas are well documented within the cave and mobile art (e.g Breuil 1952, Begouen and Clottes 1987, Chauvet et al. 1995, Diedrich and Rathgeber in review, Diedrich 2005). Hyenas and lions must have been represented in the Gravettian, Early and Middle and possibly even ?Late Magdalenian in southern Europe, which must have resulted from a southern migration of those predators during the Late Weichselian/Wuermian together with the megafauna and humans. The disappearance of hyenas and lions also correlate with the extinction of mammoth and woolly rhinoceros in northern Germany. The large mammals such as elephants and rhinoceroses were highly important for hyenas and lions during the Late Quaternary. Hyenas had a systematic scavenging strategy on both large prey which was even "transferred" until today compared to modern spotted hyenas and lions of Africa (Diedrich 2010d, e, in prep). Where those Late Quaternary giant mammals such as woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros were absent in middle mountainous regions (e.g. Sauerland Karst, Harz Mountain Karst, Bohemian Karst, Thuringian Karst) those had to kill other medium sized animals such as horse or steppe bison and those in larger amounts (Diedrich 2008, 2010c). Woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth seem to be not known in northern Germany after Aurignacian/?Early Gravettian times (Sauerland Karst and Münsterland Bay

  3. When and how did the terrestrial mid-Permian mass extinction occur? Evidence from the tetrapod record of the Karoo Basin, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Day, Michael O; Ramezani, Jahandar; Bowring, Samuel A; Sadler, Peter M; Erwin, Douglas H; Abdala, Fernando; Rubidge, Bruce S

    2015-07-22

    A mid-Permian (Guadalupian epoch) extinction event at approximately 260 Ma has been mooted for two decades. This is based primarily on invertebrate biostratigraphy of Guadalupian-Lopingian marine carbonate platforms in southern China, which are temporally constrained by correlation to the associated Emeishan Large Igneous Province (LIP). Despite attempts to identify a similar biodiversity crisis in the terrestrial realm, the low resolution of mid-Permian tetrapod biostratigraphy and a lack of robust geochronological constraints have until now hampered both the correlation and quantification of terrestrial extinctions. Here we present an extensive compilation of tetrapod-stratigraphic data analysed by the constrained optimization (CONOP) algorithm that reveals a significant extinction event among tetrapods within the lower Beaufort Group of the Karoo Basin, South Africa, in the latest Capitanian. Our fossil dataset reveals a 74-80% loss of generic richness between the upper Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (AZ) and the mid-Pristerognathus AZ that is temporally constrained by a U-Pb zircon date (CA-TIMS method) of 260.259 ± 0.081 Ma from a tuff near the top of the Tapinocephalus AZ. This strengthens the biochronology of the Permian Beaufort Group and supports the existence of a mid-Permian mass extinction event on land near the end of the Guadalupian. Our results permit a temporal association between the extinction of dinocephalian therapsids and the LIP volcanism at Emeishan, as well as the marine end-Guadalupian extinctions. PMID:26156768

  4. When and how did the terrestrial mid-Permian mass extinction occur? Evidence from the tetrapod record of the Karoo Basin, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Day, Michael O.; Ramezani, Jahandar; Bowring, Samuel A.; Sadler, Peter M.; Erwin, Douglas H.; Abdala, Fernando; Rubidge, Bruce S.

    2015-01-01

    A mid-Permian (Guadalupian epoch) extinction event at approximately 260 Ma has been mooted for two decades. This is based primarily on invertebrate biostratigraphy of Guadalupian–Lopingian marine carbonate platforms in southern China, which are temporally constrained by correlation to the associated Emeishan Large Igneous Province (LIP). Despite attempts to identify a similar biodiversity crisis in the terrestrial realm, the low resolution of mid-Permian tetrapod biostratigraphy and a lack of robust geochronological constraints have until now hampered both the correlation and quantification of terrestrial extinctions. Here we present an extensive compilation of tetrapod-stratigraphic data analysed by the constrained optimization (CONOP) algorithm that reveals a significant extinction event among tetrapods within the lower Beaufort Group of the Karoo Basin, South Africa, in the latest Capitanian. Our fossil dataset reveals a 74–80% loss of generic richness between the upper Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone (AZ) and the mid-Pristerognathus AZ that is temporally constrained by a U–Pb zircon date (CA-TIMS method) of 260.259 ± 0.081 Ma from a tuff near the top of the Tapinocephalus AZ. This strengthens the biochronology of the Permian Beaufort Group and supports the existence of a mid-Permian mass extinction event on land near the end of the Guadalupian. Our results permit a temporal association between the extinction of dinocephalian therapsids and the LIP volcanism at Emeishan, as well as the marine end-Guadalupian extinctions. PMID:26156768

  5. The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene

    PubMed Central

    Turvey, Samuel T.; Fritz, Susanne A.

    2011-01-01

    Although the recent historical period is usually treated as a temporal base-line for understanding patterns of mammal extinction, mammalian biodiversity loss has also taken place throughout the Late Quaternary. We explore the spatial, taxonomic and phylogenetic patterns of 241 mammal species extinctions known to have occurred during the Holocene up to the present day. To assess whether our understanding of mammalian threat processes has been affected by excluding these taxa, we incorporate extinct species data into analyses of the impact of body mass on extinction risk. We find that Holocene extinctions have been phylogenetically and spatially concentrated in specific taxa and geographical regions, which are often not congruent with those disproportionately at risk today. Large-bodied mammals have also been more extinction-prone in most geographical regions across the Holocene. Our data support the extinction filter hypothesis, whereby regional faunas from which susceptible species have already become extinct now appear less threatened; they may also suggest that different processes are responsible for driving past and present extinctions. We also find overall incompleteness and inter-regional biases in extinction data from the recent fossil record. Although direct use of fossil data in future projections of extinction risk is therefore not straightforward, insights into extinction processes from the Holocene record are still useful in understanding mammalian threat. PMID:21807737

  6. Mass Extinction and the Disappearance of Unknown Mammal Species: Scenario and Perspectives of a Biodiversity Hotspot's Hotspot.

    PubMed

    Mendes Pontes, Antonio Rossano; Beltrão, Antonio Carlos Mariz; Normande, Iran Campello; Malta, Alexandre de Jesus Rodrigues; Silva Júnior, Antonio Paulo da; Santos, André Maurício Melo

    2016-01-01

    We aimed to determine the conservation status of medium- and large-sized mammals and evaluate the impact of 500 years of forest fragmentation on this group of animals in the Pernambuco Endemism Center, in the biogeographical zone of the Atlantic forest north of the São Francisco River in northeastern Brazil. Line transect surveys were performed in 21 forest fragments, resulting in a checklist of the mammals of the entire Pernambuco Endemism Center area. We ran a generalized linear model (Factorial ANCOVA) to analyze to what extent the vegetation type, fragment area, isolation, sampling effort (as total kilometers walked), or higher-order interactions predicted (a) richness and (b) sighting rates. To determine if the distribution of the species within the forest fragments exhibited a nested pattern, we used the NODF metric. Subsequently, we performed a Binomial Logistic Regression to predict the probability of encountering each species according to fragment size. Out of 38 medium- and large-sized mammal species formerly occurring in the study area, only 53.8% (n = 21) were sighted. No fragment hosted the entire remaining mammal community, and only four species (19%) occurred in very small fragments (73.3% of the remaining forest fragments, with a mean size of 2.8 ha). The mammalian community was highly simplified, with all large mammals being regionally extinct. Neither the species richness nor sighting rate was controlled by the vegetation type, the area of the forest fragments, isolation or any higher-order interaction. Although a highly significant nested subset pattern was detected, it was not related to the ranking of the area of forest fragments or isolation. The probability of the occurrence of a mammal species in a given forest patch varied unpredictably, and the probability of detecting larger species was even observed to decrease with increasing patch size. In an ongoing process of mass extinction, half of the studied mammals have gone extinct. The

  7. Mass Extinction and the Disappearance of Unknown Mammal Species: Scenario and Perspectives of a Biodiversity Hotspot’s Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Mendes Pontes, Antonio Rossano; Beltrão, Antonio Carlos Mariz; Normande, Iran Campello; Malta, Alexandre de Jesus Rodrigues; da Silva Júnior, Antonio Paulo; Santos, André Maurício Melo

    2016-01-01

    We aimed to determine the conservation status of medium- and large-sized mammals and evaluate the impact of 500 years of forest fragmentation on this group of animals in the Pernambuco Endemism Center, in the biogeographical zone of the Atlantic forest north of the São Francisco River in northeastern Brazil. Line transect surveys were performed in 21 forest fragments, resulting in a checklist of the mammals of the entire Pernambuco Endemism Center area. We ran a generalized linear model (Factorial ANCOVA) to analyze to what extent the vegetation type, fragment area, isolation, sampling effort (as total kilometers walked), or higher-order interactions predicted (a) richness and (b) sighting rates. To determine if the distribution of the species within the forest fragments exhibited a nested pattern, we used the NODF metric. Subsequently, we performed a Binomial Logistic Regression to predict the probability of encountering each species according to fragment size. Out of 38 medium- and large-sized mammal species formerly occurring in the study area, only 53.8% (n = 21) were sighted. No fragment hosted the entire remaining mammal community, and only four species (19%) occurred in very small fragments (73.3% of the remaining forest fragments, with a mean size of 2.8 ha). The mammalian community was highly simplified, with all large mammals being regionally extinct. Neither the species richness nor sighting rate was controlled by the vegetation type, the area of the forest fragments, isolation or any higher-order interaction. Although a highly significant nested subset pattern was detected, it was not related to the ranking of the area of forest fragments or isolation. The probability of the occurrence of a mammal species in a given forest patch varied unpredictably, and the probability of detecting larger species was even observed to decrease with increasing patch size. In an ongoing process of mass extinction, half of the studied mammals have gone extinct. The

  8. Arthropods and the Current Great Mass Extinction: Effective Themes to Decrease Arthropod Fear and Disgust and Increase Positive Environmental Beliefs in Children?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wagler, Amy; Wagler, Ron

    2014-01-01

    Earth is experiencing a great mass extinction (GME) that has been caused by the environmentally destructive activities of humans. This GME is having and will have profound effects on Earth's biodiversity if environmental sustainability is not reached. Activities and curriculum tools have been developed to assist teachers in integrating the…

  9. Search for Low-Mass Planets Around Late-M Dwarfs Using IRD

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Omiya, Masashi; Sato, Bun'ei; Harakawa, Hiroki; Kuzuhara, Masayuki; Hirano, Teruyuki; Narita, Norio

    2014-04-01

    We have a plan to conduct a Doppler planet search for low-mass planets around nearby middle-to-late M dwarfs using IRD. IRD is the near-infrared high-precision radial velocity instrument for the Subaru 8.2-m telescope. We expect to achieve the accuracy of the radial velocity measurements of 1 m/s using IRD with a frequency comb as a wavelengh calibrator. Thus, we would detect super-Earths in habitable zone and low-mass rocky planets in close-in orbits around late-M dwarfs. In this survey, we aim to understand and discuss statistical properties of low-mass planets around low-mass M dwarfs compared with those derived from theoretical simulations.

  10. New Extinction and Mass Estimates from Optical Photometry of the Very Low Mass Brown Dwarf Companion CT Chamaeleontis B with the Magellan AO System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Ya-Lin; Close, Laird M.; Males, Jared R.; Barman, Travis S.; Morzinski, Katie M.; Follette, Katherine B.; Bailey, Vanessa; Rodigas, Timothy J.; Hinz, Philip; Puglisi, Alfio; Xompero, Marco; Briguglio, Runa

    2015-03-01

    We used the Magellan adaptive optics system and its VisAO CCD camera to image the young low mass brown dwarf companion CT Chamaeleontis B for the first time at visible wavelengths. We detect it at r', i', z', and YS . With our new photometry and T eff ~ 2500 K derived from the shape of its K-band spectrum, we find that CT Cha B has AV = 3.4 ± 1.1 mag, and a mass of 14-24 MJ according to the DUSTY evolutionary tracks and its 1-5 Myr age. The overluminosity of our r' detection indicates that the companion has significant Hα emission and a mass accretion rate ~6 × 10-10 M ⊙ yr-1, similar to some substellar companions. Proper motion analysis shows that another point source within 2'' of CT Cha A is not physical. This paper demonstrates how visible wavelength adaptive optics photometry (r', i', z', YS ) allows for a better estimate of extinction, luminosity, and mass accretion rate of young substellar companions. This paper includes data gathered with the 6.5 m Magellan Clay Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile.

  11. Triggers of Permo-Triassic boundary mass extinction in South China: The Siberian Traps or Paleo-Tethys ignimbrite flare-up?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Bin; Zhong, Yu-Ting; Xu, Yi-Gang; Li, Xian-Hua

    2014-09-01

    Assessment of the synchroneity between the Siberian Traps and the Permo-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinction has led to the proposition that the Siberian flood volcanism was responsible for the severest biotic crisis in the Phanerozoic. However, recent studies suggest that the Siberian Traps may have postdated the main extinction horizon. In this paper, we demonstrate, using stratigraphy, a time and intensity coincidence between PTB volcanic ash and the main extinction horizon. Geochemistry of the PTB volcanic ashes in five sections in South China indicates that they were derived from continental magmatic arc. Zircons extracted from the PTB volcanic ashes have negative εHf(t) (- 12.9 to - 2.0) and δ18O (6.8 to 10.9‰), consistent with an acidic volcanism and a crustal-derived origin, and therefore exclude a genetic link between the PTB mass extinction and the Siberian Traps. On the basis of spatial variation in the number of the PTB volcanic ash layers and the thickness of the ash layers in South China, we propose that the PTB volcanic ash may be related to Paleo-Tethys continental arc magmatism in the Kunlun area. Ignimbrite flare-up related to rapid plate subduction during the final assemblage of the Pangea super-continent may have generated a volcanic winter, which eventually triggered the collapse of ecosystem and ultimately mass extinction at the end of the Permian. The Siberian Traps may have been responsible for a greenhouse effect and so have been responsible for both a second pulse of the extinction event and Early Triassic ecological evolution.

  12. Spotted hyena and steppe lion predation behaviours on cave bears of Europe - ?Late Quaternary cave bear extinction as result of predator stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2010-05-01

    high alpine regions the leopard Panthera pardus seem to have used the ecological niche of the absent hyenas (Diedrich 2009d, in review a). At open air sites cave bear scavenging by the largest Late Quaternary predators were proven, too (Diedrich 2006, 2009e). The predation stress caused by the three main and largest Late Quaternary predators seem to have provided cave bears to hibernate often deeply in many European caves, and here especially in larger and longer cave systems (e.g. Diedrich et al 2009, in review, Diedrich and Moldovan 2010) to protect themselves against the largest Quaternary predators. In conflicts with those large felids must have been killed by adult cave bears, which explains why those predator carcasses remained as complete skeletons or as partly disarticulated ones even deep in caves all over Europe which were finally not scavenged by the herbivorous cave bears (Diedrich in review). In such cave bear den caves the amount of lion bones generally take only 1-3% of the total bone amount being highly dominated by cave bear bones (Diedrich 2009c, in review). Lions and hyenas seem to have focussed onto the hunt of cave bears all over Europe, especially with the reduction of the biomass in the open environments at the maximum cold period during around 26.000-24.000 BP (Solutrean). The slow extinction of their largest prey was an important motor of the predation pressure onto cave bears. This might be one reason for the cave bear extinction in the final Late Quaternary (early Late Weichselian, maximum cold period) at least in northern Europe, but it seem to have happened in a combination of climatic change, and also human impact (cf. Diedrich, this volume). References Diedrich, C., 2005. Cracking and nibbling marks as indicators for the Upper Pleistocene spotted hyena as a scavenger of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller, 1794) carcasses in the Perick Caves den of Northwest Germany. Abhandlungen der Naturhistorischen Gesellschaft Nürnberg, 45, 73

  13. Late Eocene impact events recorded in deep-sea sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B. P.

    1988-01-01

    Raup and Sepkoski proposed that mass extinctions have occurred every 26 Myr during the last 250 Myr. In order to explain this 26 Myr periodicity, it was proposed that the mass extinctions were caused by periodic increases in cometary impacts. One method to test this hypothesis is to determine if there were periodic increases in impact events (based on crater ages) that correlate with mass extinctions. A way to test the hypothesis that mass extinctions were caused by periodic increases in impact cratering is to look for evidence of impact events in deep-sea deposits. This method allows direct observation of the temporal relationship between impact events and extinctions as recorded in the sedimentary record. There is evidence in the deep-sea record for two (possibly three) impact events in the late Eocene. The younger event, represented by the North American microtektite layer, is not associated with an Ir anomaly. The older event, defined by the cpx spherule layer, is associated with an Ir anomaly. However, neither of the two impact events recorded in late Eocene deposits appears to be associated with an unusual number of extinctions. Thus there is little evidence in the deep-sea record for an impact-related mass extinction in the late Eocene.

  14. Spotted hyena and steppe lion predation behaviours on cave bears of Europe - ?Late Quaternary cave bear extinction as result of predator stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diedrich, Cajus G.

    2010-05-01

    high alpine regions the leopard Panthera pardus seem to have used the ecological niche of the absent hyenas (Diedrich 2009d, in review a). At open air sites cave bear scavenging by the largest Late Quaternary predators were proven, too (Diedrich 2006, 2009e). The predation stress caused by the three main and largest Late Quaternary predators seem to have provided cave bears to hibernate often deeply in many European caves, and here especially in larger and longer cave systems (e.g. Diedrich et al 2009, in review, Diedrich and Moldovan 2010) to protect themselves against the largest Quaternary predators. In conflicts with those large felids must have been killed by adult cave bears, which explains why those predator carcasses remained as complete skeletons or as partly disarticulated ones even deep in caves all over Europe which were finally not scavenged by the herbivorous cave bears (Diedrich in review). In such cave bear den caves the amount of lion bones generally take only 1-3% of the total bone amount being highly dominated by cave bear bones (Diedrich 2009c, in review). Lions and hyenas seem to have focussed onto the hunt of cave bears all over Europe, especially with the reduction of the biomass in the open environments at the maximum cold period during around 26.000-24.000 BP (Solutrean). The slow extinction of their largest prey was an important motor of the predation pressure onto cave bears. This might be one reason for the cave bear extinction in the final Late Quaternary (early Late Weichselian, maximum cold period) at least in northern Europe, but it seem to have happened in a combination of climatic change, and also human impact (cf. Diedrich, this volume). References Diedrich, C., 2005. Cracking and nibbling marks as indicators for the Upper Pleistocene spotted hyena as a scavenger of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller, 1794) carcasses in the Perick Caves den of Northwest Germany. Abhandlungen der Naturhistorischen Gesellschaft Nürnberg, 45, 73

  15. Recovery of Carbonate Ecosystems Following the End-Triassic Mass Extinction: Insights from Mercury Anomalies and Their Relationship to the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corsetti, F. A.; Thibodeau, A. M.; Ritterbush, K. A.; West, A. J.; Yager, J. A.; Ibarra, Y.; Bottjer, D. J.; Berelson, W.; Bergquist, B. A.

    2015-12-01

    Recent high-resolution age dating demonstrates that the end-Triassic mass extinction overlapped with the eruption of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), and the release of CO2 and other volatiles to the atmosphere has been implicated in the extinction. Given the potentially massive release of CO2, ocean acidification is commonly considered a factor in the extinction and the collapse of shallow marine carbonate ecosystems. However, the timing of global marine biotic recovery versus the CAMP eruptions is more uncertain. Here, we use Hg concentrations and Hg/TOC ratios as indicators of CAMP volcanism in continental shelf sediments, the primary archive of faunal data. In Triassic-Jurassic strata, Muller Canyon, Nevada, Hg and Hg/TOC levels are low prior to the extinction, rise sharply in the extinction interval, peak just prior to the appearance of the first Jurassic ammonite, and remain above background in association with a depauperate (low diversity) earliest Jurassic fauna. The return of Hg to pre-extinction levels is associated with a significant pelagic and benthic faunal recovery. We conclude that significant biotic recovery did not begin until CAMP eruptions ceased. Furthermore, the initial benthic recovery in the Muller Canyon section involves the expansion of a siliceous sponge-dominated ecosystem across shallow marine environments, a feature now known from other sections around the world (e.g., Peru, Morocco, Austria, etc.). Carbonate dominated benthic ecosystems (heralded by the return of abundant corals and other skeletal carbonates) did not recover for ~1 million years following the last eruption of CAMP, longer than the typical duration considered for ocean acidification events, implying other factors may have played a role in carbonate ecosystem dynamics after the extinction.

  16. Mobility of iridium in terrestrial environments: Implications for the interpretation of impact-related mass-extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martín-Peinado, F. J.; Rodríguez-Tovar, F. J.

    2010-08-01

    Traditionally, iridium has been considered an element of low mobility, but its behavior is still debated. Ir concentration in a soil affected by a catastrophic mining spill in 1998 that covered the soil with a layer of tailings offers the opportunity to analyse an exceptional Ir-bearing horizon 10 years after deposition. This has enabled comparisons with the values of past Ir-bearing horizons associated to impact-related mass-extinction events. Iridium concentration in the tailings (0.349 ppm) was 5-fold higher than the anomaly in the K-Pg at The Moody Creek Mine section (the highest values obtained from terrestrial sections). The oxidative weathering of the tailings caused the release of Ir and infiltration into the soil. Iridium distribution in depth indicates redistribution throughout the profile in relation to the change in the physico-chemical properties of the soil. With regard to the background concentration in the soil (0.056 ppm), anomalous values of Ir (0.129 ppm) can be detected to 11 cm below the layer of tailings. The correlation analysis between the Ir concentration and the main properties and constituents of the soils indicated a significant correlation with sulfur, iron, clay content, and pH. Selective extractions were made to study the forms in which Ir can be mobilized in the soil. The residual/insoluble fraction was >90% of the total Ir concentration in soil. Soluble-in-water concentration of Ir (1.5% of total) was detected in the uppermost 2-3 cm of the soil, which were directly affected by the leaching of acidic waters coming from the oxidation of the pyrite tailings. Iridium retention in the affected part of the soil reached 9% of the total Ir concentration; this retention could be related to the amorphous iron forms dissolved by the oxalic-oxalate extraction. However, according to our research, original Ir abundance could be secondarily modified, and then a direct analysis of the iridium values recorded in sediments could induce

  17. High sedimentation rates in the Early Triassic after latest Permian mass extinction: Carbonate production is main factor in non-Arctic regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horacek, Micha; Brandner, Rainer

    2016-04-01

    A substantial change in sedimentation rates towards higher values has been documented from the Late Permian to the Lower Triassic. Although it is assumed and also has been shown that the deposition of siliciclastic material increased in the Lower Triassic due to stronger erosion because of loss of land cover and increased chemical and physical weathering with extreme climate warming, the main sediment production occurred by marine carbonate production. Still, carbonate production might have been significantly influenced by weathering and erosion in the hinterland, as the transport of dust by storms into the ocean water probably was a main nutrient source for microbial carbonate producers, because "normal" nutrient supply by ocean circulation, i. e. upwelling was strongly reduced due to the elevated temperatures resulting in water-column stratification . Sediment accumulation was also clearly influenced by the paleo-geographic and latitudinal position, with lower carbonate production and sedimentation rates in moderate latitudes. The existence of a "boundary clay" and microbial carbonate mounds and layers in the immediate aftermath of the latest Permian mass extinction points towards a development from a short-timed acid ocean water - resulting in a carbonate production gap and the deposition of the boundary clay towards the deposition of the microbial mounds and layers due to the microbial production of micro-environments with higher alkalinity allowing the production of carbonate. After the return of the ocean water to normal alkalinity planktic production of carbonate resulted in a very high sedimentation rate, especially taking into account the absence of carbonate producing eukaryotic algae and animals.

  18. Mass extinction and demise of carbonate factory in the aftermath of the Toarcian oceanic anoxic event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krencker, Francois-Nicolas; Bodin, Stéphane; Hoffmann, René; Suan, Guillaume; Mattioli, Emanuela; Kabiri, Lahcen; Immenhauser, Adrian

    2013-04-01

    The Pliensbachian - Toarcian interval is characterized by several events of relatively short-lived carbon cycle perturbation, climate change and faunal turnover. The cause(s) of these biotic and abiotic disturbances remains unclear but probably involves increased magmatic activity in the Karoo-Ferrar flood basalt province. The Toarcian ocean anoxic event (T-OAE) might represent the most extreme of these events, and as such, is becoming increasingly well documented worldwide. As a consequence other critical time periods of the Pliensbachian - Toarcian interval have received considerably less attention. For instance, a second order faunal crisis is recognised near the transition between the Bifrons-Variabilis ammonite zones, but really few is known about this event. Here, the impact of this Bifrons-Variabilis event on the shallow marine realm is investigated using three well-exposed and extended stratigraphic sections in the Central High Atlas, Morocco. The carbon and oxygen isotopic composition, calcium carbonate contents and phosphorus concentrations of micritic mudstones and marls of 132 samples were determined to assess temporal changes in climate, C and P-cycling and carbonate production. The sections, forming a proximal to distal transect extending over 10 km in north-south direction, were correlated using sequence stratigraphy, isotope geochemistry and biostratigraphy. In all studied sections, a major change from carbonate-dominated deposition to siliclastic-dominated deposition is recorded at the Middle-Upper Toarcian transition, pointing to a first-order carbonate production crisis. Our results reveal that these major changes in sedimentology coincide with a marked decrease of carbon and oxygen isotope values and an increase of phosphorous contents. These geochemical perturbations suggest that much like the T-OAE, the Middle-Late Toarcian carbonate-platform crisis was related to an enhanced hydrological cycling. Consequently, the nutrient input increased

  19. A shift in the long-term mode of foraminiferan size evolution caused by the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Payne, Jonathan L; Jost, Adam B; Wang, Steve C; Skotheim, Jan M

    2013-03-01

    Size is among the most important traits of any organism, yet the factors that control its evolution remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigate controls on the evolution of organismal size using a newly compiled database of nearly 25,000 foraminiferan species and subspecies spanning the past 400 million years. We find a transition in the pattern of foraminiferan size evolution from correlation with atmospheric pO2 during the Paleozoic (400-250 million years ago) to long-term stasis during the post-Paleozoic (250 million years ago to present). Thus, a dramatic shift in the evolutionary mode coincides with the most severe biotic catastrophe of the Phanerozoic (543 million years ago to present). Paleozoic tracking of pO2 was confined to Order Fusulinida, whereas Paleozoic lagenides, miliolids, and textulariids were best described by the stasis model. Stasis continued to best describe miliolids and textulariids during post-Paleozoic time, whereas random walk was the best supported mode for the other diverse orders. The shift in evolutionary dynamics thus appears to have resulted primarily from the selective elimination of fusulinids at the end of the Permian Period. These findings illustrate the potential for mass extinction to alter macroevolutionary dynamics for hundreds of millions of years. PMID:23461330

  20. The role of dust in mass loss from late-type stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jura, M.

    1986-01-01

    It is noted that, in almost all late-type stars with measured mass loss rates, there is sufficient momentum in the radiation to dominate the dynamics. The opacity of the material is sufficiently great to render radiation pressure important; the dust forms close enough to the central star for radiation pressure to account for the observed outflow velocities. Pulsations appear to be important in raising the material far enough above the photosphere for grains to condense.

  1. Radiocarbon dates on bones of extinct birds from Hawaii

    SciTech Connect

    James, H.F.; Stafford, T.W. Jr.; Steadman, D.W.; Olson, S.L.; Martin, P.S.; Jull, A.J.; McCoy, P.C.

    1987-04-01

    Bones from a stratified sedimentary deposit in the Puu Naio Cave site on Maui, Hawaiian Islands, reveal the late Holocene extinction of 19 species of birds. The age of the sediment and associated fauna was determined by direct radiocarbon dating (tandem particle accelerator-mass spectrometer; TAMS) of amino acids extracted from bones weighing as little as 450 mg. The /sup 14/C dates indicate that sediment has been accumulating in the lava tube for at least the last 7750 years, a suitable time frame for testing the hypothesis that Holocene extinction on islands began after human colonization. Despite growing evidence that a worldwide wave of extinctions coincided with human colonization of oceanic islands, little radiometric data have been available to date the extinction of most small fossil vertebrates on islands. The TAMS technique of dating purified collagen from the bones of small vertebrates could lead to vastly improved chronologies of extinction for oceanic islands where catastrophic mid- to late-Holocene extinction is expected or known to have occurred. Chronologies derived from nonarcheological sites that show continuous sedimentation, such as the Puu Naio Cave deposit, may also yield key evidence on the timing of earliest human settlement of Oceania.

  2. Observations and theory of mass loss in late-type stars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartmann, L.

    1981-01-01

    The presented review is mainly concerned with the ubiquitous mass loss which occurs during most of a star's existence as a cool giant or supergiant. Observations of mass loss are considered, taking into account wind components and kinematics, and the temperature structure of cool winds. Theories of mass loss are examined, giving attention to radiation pressure on dust, radiation pressure in Lyman alpha, and magnetic wave-driven winds. It is pointed out that the study of mass loss from late-type stars appears to be entering a promising new phase. In this phase, the behavior of cool giants and supergiants is considered from a solar perspective, a perspective which contains important implications concerning the nature of solar activity.

  3. MK Classification and Dynamical Masses for Late-Type Visual Binaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tamazian, Vakhtang S.; Docobo, José A.; Melikian, Norair D.; Karapetian, Arthur A.

    2006-06-01

    On the basis of slit spectra obtained with the SCORPIO spectral camera attached to the 2.6 m telescope of the V. Ambartsumian Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (Armenia), MK classifications for 30 visual binaries comprising mostly late K and M type stars are presented. Comparison with other determinations shows that this configuration provides a reliable MK classification. Dynamical masses for 25 systems are computed. Using standard mass-luminosity calibrations, individual mass sums for 11 pairs consisting of virtually single, nonvariable dwarfs are calculated, showing a good agreement with corresponding dynamical masses. The dynamical parallax of HIP 112354 is closer to the trigonometric parallax given in the Yale General Catalogue of Trigonometric Stellar Parallaxes (van Altena et al.) than to the Hipparcos parallax.

  4. Preserved Proteins from Extinct Bison latifrons Identified by Tandem Mass Spectrometry; Hydroxylysine Glycosides are a Common Feature of Ancient Collagen.

    PubMed

    Hill, Ryan C; Wither, Matthew J; Nemkov, Travis; Barrett, Alexander; D'Alessandro, Angelo; Dzieciatkowska, Monika; Hansen, Kirk C

    2015-07-01

    Bone samples from several vertebrates were collected from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, in Snowmass Village, Colorado, and processed for proteomics analysis. The specimens come from Pleistocene megafauna Bison latifrons, dating back ∼ 120,000 years. Proteomics analysis using a simplified sample preparation procedure and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was applied to obtain protein identifications. Several bioinformatics resources were used to obtain peptide identifications based on sequence homology to extant species with annotated genomes. With the exception of soil sample controls, all samples resulted in confident peptide identifications that mapped to type I collagen. In addition, we analyzed a specimen from the extinct B. latifrons that yielded peptide identifications mapping to over 33 bovine proteins. Our analysis resulted in extensive fibrillar collagen sequence coverage, including the identification of posttranslational modifications. Hydroxylysine glucosylgalactosylation, a modification thought to be involved in collagen fiber formation and bone mineralization, was identified for the first time in an ancient protein dataset. Meta-analysis of data from other studies indicates that this modification may be common in well-preserved prehistoric samples. Additional peptide sequences from extracellular matrix (ECM) and non-ECM proteins have also been identified for the first time in ancient tissue samples. These data provide a framework for analyzing ancient protein signatures in well-preserved fossil specimens, while also contributing novel insights into the molecular basis of organic matter preservation. As such, this analysis has unearthed common posttranslational modifications of collagen that may assist in its preservation over time. The data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001827. PMID:25948757

  5. Preserved Proteins from Extinct Bison latifrons Identified by Tandem Mass Spectrometry; Hydroxylysine Glycosides are a Common Feature of Ancient Collagen*

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Ryan C.; Wither, Matthew J.; Nemkov, Travis; Barrett, Alexander; D'Alessandro, Angelo; Dzieciatkowska, Monika; Hansen, Kirk C.

    2015-01-01

    Bone samples from several vertebrates were collected from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, in Snowmass Village, Colorado, and processed for proteomics analysis. The specimens come from Pleistocene megafauna Bison latifrons, dating back ∼120,000 years. Proteomics analysis using a simplified sample preparation procedure and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was applied to obtain protein identifications. Several bioinformatics resources were used to obtain peptide identifications based on sequence homology to extant species with annotated genomes. With the exception of soil sample controls, all samples resulted in confident peptide identifications that mapped to type I collagen. In addition, we analyzed a specimen from the extinct B. latifrons that yielded peptide identifications mapping to over 33 bovine proteins. Our analysis resulted in extensive fibrillar collagen sequence coverage, including the identification of posttranslational modifications. Hydroxylysine glucosylgalactosylation, a modification thought to be involved in collagen fiber formation and bone mineralization, was identified for the first time in an ancient protein dataset. Meta-analysis of data from other studies indicates that this modification may be common in well-preserved prehistoric samples. Additional peptide sequences from extracellular matrix (ECM) and non-ECM proteins have also been identified for the first time in ancient tissue samples. These data provide a framework for analyzing ancient protein signatures in well-preserved fossil specimens, while also contributing novel insights into the molecular basis of organic matter preservation. As such, this analysis has unearthed common posttranslational modifications of collagen that may assist in its preservation over time. The data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD001827. PMID:25948757

  6. Carbon isotope evidence for a vigorous biological pump in the wake of end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, K. M.; Yu, M.; Jost, A. B.; Payne, J.

    2009-12-01

    Ocean anoxia and euxinia have long been linked to the end-Permian mass extinction and the subsequent Early Triassic interval of delayed biotic recovery. This anoxic, sulfidic episode has been ascribed to both low- and high-productivity states in the marine water column, leaving the causes of euxinia and the mechanisms underlying delayed recovery poorly understood. To examine the nature of the end-Permian and Early Triassic biological production, we measured the carbon isotopic composition of carbonates from an exceptionally preserved carbonate platform in the Nanpanjiang Basin of south China. 13C of limestones from 5 stratigraphic sections displays a gradient of approximately 4‰ from shallow to deep water within the Lower Triassic. The limestones are systematically enriched in the platform interior relative to coeval slope and basin margin deposits by 2-4‰ at the peaks of correlative positive and negative δ13C excursions. This gradient subsequently collapses to less than 1‰ in the Middle Triassic, coincident with accelerated biotic recovery and cessation of δ13C excursions. Based on the relationship between δ18O and δ13C, trace metal analyses, and lithostratigraphic context, we conclude that the carbon isotope gradient is unlikely to reflect meteoric diagenesis, organic matter remineralization, or changes in the mixing ratio of sediment sources and minerals across the platform. Instead, we interpret the relatively depleted δ13C values toward the basin as reflecting DIC input from 13C-depleted deep waters during early diagenesis in a nutrient-rich, euxinic ocean. These observations suggest that a vigorous prokaryote-driven biological pump sustained Early Triassic ocean anoxia and inhibited recovery of animal ecosystems.

  7. Rethinking Extinction.

    PubMed

    Dunsmoor, Joseph E; Niv, Yael; Daw, Nathaniel; Phelps, Elizabeth A

    2015-10-01

    Extinction serves as the leading theoretical framework and experimental model to describe how learned behaviors diminish through absence of anticipated reinforcement. In the past decade, extinction has moved beyond the realm of associative learning theory and behavioral experimentation in animals and has become a topic of considerable interest in the neuroscience of learning, memory, and emotion. Here, we review research and theories of extinction, both as a learning process and as a behavioral technique, and consider whether traditional understandings warrant a re-examination. We discuss the neurobiology, cognitive factors, and major computational theories, and revisit the predominant view that extinction results in new learning that interferes with expression of the original memory. Additionally, we reconsider the limitations of extinction as a technique to prevent the relapse of maladaptive behavior and discuss novel approaches, informed by contemporary theoretical advances, that augment traditional extinction methods to target and potentially alter maladaptive memories. PMID:26447572

  8. The Role of Temporal Abundance Structure and Habitat Preferences in the Survival of Conodonts during the Mid-Early Silurian Ireviken Mass Extinction Event

    PubMed Central

    Spiridonov, Andrej; Brazauskas, Antanas; Radzevičius, Sigitas

    2015-01-01

    processes of this smaller mass extinction event. PMID:25859854

  9. The role of temporal abundance structure and habitat preferences in the survival of conodonts during the mid-early Silurian Ireviken mass extinction event.

    PubMed

    Spiridonov, Andrej; Brazauskas, Antanas; Radzevičius, Sigitas

    2015-01-01

    processes of this smaller mass extinction event. PMID:25859854

  10. End-Permian Mass Extinction in the Oceans: An Ancient Analog for the Twenty-First Century?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Payne, Jonathan L.; Clapham, Matthew E.

    2012-05-01

    The greatest loss of biodiversity in the history of animal life occurred at the end of the Permian Period (˜252 million years ago). This biotic catastrophe coincided with an interval of widespread ocean anoxia and the eruption of one of Earth's largest continental flood basalt provinces, the Siberian Traps. Volatile release from basaltic magma and sedimentary strata during emplacement of the Siberian Traps can account for most end-Permian paleontological and geochemical observations. Climate change and, perhaps, destruction of the ozone layer can explain extinctions on land, whereas changes in ocean oxygen levels, CO2, pH, and temperature can account for extinction selectivity across marine animals. These emerging insights from geology, geochemistry, and paleobiology suggest that the end-Permian extinction may serve as an important ancient analog for twenty-first century oceans.

  11. Exceptional vertebrate biotas from the Triassic of China, and the expansion of marine ecosystems after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.; Zhang, Qiyue; Hu, Shixue; Chen, Zhong-Qiang; Wen, Wen; Liu, Jun; Huang, Jinyuan; Zhou, Changyong; Xie, Tao; Tong, Jinnan; Choo, Brian

    2013-10-01

    The Triassic was a time of turmoil, as life recovered from the most devastating of all mass extinctions, the Permo-Triassic event 252 million years ago. The Triassic marine rock succession of southwest China provides unique documentation of the recovery of marine life through a series of well dated, exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages in the Daye, Guanling, Zhuganpo, and Xiaowa formations. New work shows the richness of the faunas of fishes and reptiles, and that recovery of vertebrate faunas was delayed by harsh environmental conditions and then occurred rapidly in the Anisian. The key faunas of fishes and reptiles come from a limited area in eastern Yunnan and western Guizhou provinces, and these may be dated relative to shared stratigraphic units, and their palaeoenvironments reconstructed. The Luoping and Panxian biotas, both from the Guanling Formation, are dated as Anisian (Pelsonian) on the basis of conodonts and radiometric dates, the former being slightly older than the latter. The Xingyi biota is from the Zhuganpo Formation, and is Ladinian or early Carnian, while the Guanling biota is from the overlying Xiaowa Formation, dated as Carnian. The first three biotas include extensive benthos and burrowing in the sediments, and they were located in restricted basins close to shore. Further, even though the Luoping and Panxian biotas are of similar age, their faunas differ significantly, reflecting perhaps palaeogeographically isolated basins. Between the time of the Xingyi and Guanling biotas, there was a major transgression, and the Guanling biota is entirely different in character from the other three, being dominated by pelagic forms such as large floating crinoids attached to logs, very large ichthyosaurs and thalattosaurs, and pseudoplanktonic bivalves, with no benthos and no burrowing. Phylogenetic study of the fishes and marine reptiles shows apparently explosive diversification among 20 actinopterygian lineages very early in the Early Triassic

  12. Sedimentology and ichnology of two Lower Triassic sections in South China: Implications for the biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Mao; George, Annette D.; Chen, Zhong-Qiang

    2016-09-01

    Biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction was investigated using trace fossil and facies analysis of two Lower-Middle Triassic sections in South China. The Susong section (Lower Yangtze Sedimentary Province) comprises a range of carbonate and mudstone facies that record overall shallowing from offshore to intertidal settings. The Tianshengqiao section (Upper Yangtze Sedimentary Province) consists of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies deposited in shallow marine to offshore settings. Griesbachian to Dienerian ichnological records in both sections are characterized by low ichnodiversity, low ichnofabric indices (1-2) and low bedding plane bioturbation indices (1-2). Higher ichnofabric indices (3 and 4), corresponding to a dense population of diminutive ichnotaxon, in the Tianshengqiao section suggest opportunistic infaunal biotic activity during the earliest Triassic. Ichnological data from the Susong section show an increase in ichnodiversity during the late Smithian with 11 ichnogenera identified and increased ichnofabric indices of 4-5 and bedding plane bioturbation indices of 3-5. Although complex traces such as Rhizocorallium are present in Spathian-aged strata in this section, low ichnodiversity and ichnofabric indices and diminutive Planolites suggest a decline in recovery. In the Tianshengqiao section, ichnofabric indices are moderate to high (3-5) although only six ichnogenera are present and Planolites burrows are consistently small in Smithian and Spathian strata. Complex traces, such as large Rhizocorallium and Thalassinoides, and large Planolites, did not appear until the Anisian. Ichnological results from both sections record the response of organisms to unfavourable environmental conditions although the Susong section shows earlier recovery during the Smithian prior to latest Smithian-Spathian decline. This decline may have resulted from a resurgence of euxinic to anoxic marine environment in various regions of South China

  13. Reconstructing late Quaternary deep-water masses in the eastern Arctic Ocean using benthonic Ostracoda

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jones, R. Ll; Whatley, R.C.; Cronin, T. M.; Dowsett, H.J.

    1999-01-01

    The distribution of Ostracoda in three long cores from the deep eastern Arctic Ocean was studied to determine the palaeoceanographical history of the Eurasian Basin during the late Quaternary. The samples for this study were obtained from the Lomonosov Ridge, Morris Jesup Rise and Yermak Plateau during the Arctic 91 expedition. Ostracoda previously studied in coretops at the same sites as the present study have shown that individual species have a strong association with different water masses and bathymetry. Throughout the late Quaternary, cores exhibit ostracod-rich layers separated by barren intervals. On the basis of biostratigraphical, isotopic and palaeomagnetic data the fossiliferous levels are interpreted as representing interglacial stages. The twenty most significant species were selected for subsequent quantitative investigation using Cluster and Factor analyses, in order to determine similarity and variance between the assemblages. An additional statistical method employing Modern Analogues and the Squared Chord Distance dissimilarity coefficient was utilized to compare the present late Quaternary fossil samples with a modern Arctic database. The results reveal a major faunal division within the Arctic Ocean Deep Water (AODW). Highly abundant and diverse assemblages within the cores were found to group and have good analogues with the Recent bathyal depth (1000-2500 m) upper AODW assemblages. Conversely, assemblages with low abundance and diversity correlate well with abyssal depth (> 3000 m) lower AODW assemblages. The palaeoceanographical history is complicated by the influence of adjacent water masses such as Canada Basin Deep Water (CBDW), Greenland Sea Deep Water (GSDW) and most importantly, Arctic Intermediate Water (AIW), which all had an influence on the ostracod assemblages during the late Quaternary. An enhanced flow of warm saline AIW into the Eurasian Basin results in species-rich upper AODW assemblages having good analogues down to 2750 m

  14. Deriving extinction laws with O stars: from the IR to the UV

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maíz Apellániz, J.

    2015-05-01

    We have recently derived a family of extinction laws for 30 Doradus that provides better fits to the optical photometry of obscured stars in the Galaxy and the LMC. Simultaneously, we are extending our Galactic O-Star Spectroscopic Survey ({http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011hsa6.conf..467M}{GOSSS}) to fainter, more extinguished stars to obtain accurate spectral types for massive stars with more than 6 magnitudes of V-band extinction. I have combined both lines of research with 2MASS, WISE, and Spitzer photometry to obtain the 1-10 micron extinction law for O stars in the solar neighborhood. I present these results and compare them with the extinction laws in the same wavelength range derived from late-type stars and H II regions. I also discuss plans to extend the newly derived optical-IR extinction laws to the UV.

  15. Fossil Worm Burrows Reveal Very Early Terrestrial Animal Activity and Shed Light on Trophic Resources after the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Chin, Karen; Pearson, Dean; Ekdale, A. A.

    2013-01-01

    The widespread mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous caused world-wide disruption of ecosystems, and faunal responses to the one-two punch of severe environmental perturbation and ecosystem collapse are still unclear. Here we report the discovery of in situ terrestrial fossil burrows from just above the impact-defined Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in southwestern North Dakota. The crisscrossing networks of horizontal burrows occur at the interface of a lignitic coal and silty sandstone, and reveal intense faunal activity within centimeters of the boundary clay. Estimated rates of sedimentation and coal formation suggest that the burrows were made less than ten thousand years after the end-Cretaceous impact. The burrow characteristics are most consistent with burrows of extant earthworms. Moreover, the burrowing and detritivorous habits of these annelids fit models that predict the trophic and sheltering lifestyles of terrestrial animals that survived the K/Pg extinction event. In turn, such detritus-eaters would have played a critical role in supporting secondary consumers. Thus, some of the carnivorous vertebrates that radiated after the K/Pg extinction may owe their evolutionary success to thriving populations of earthworms. PMID:23951041

  16. Fossil worm burrows reveal very early terrestrial animal activity and shed light on trophic resources after the end-cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Chin, Karen; Pearson, Dean; Ekdale, A A

    2013-01-01

    The widespread mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous caused world-wide disruption of ecosystems, and faunal responses to the one-two punch of severe environmental perturbation and ecosystem collapse are still unclear. Here we report the discovery of in situ terrestrial fossil burrows from just above the impact-defined Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in southwestern North Dakota. The crisscrossing networks of horizontal burrows occur at the interface of a lignitic coal and silty sandstone, and reveal intense faunal activity within centimeters of the boundary clay. Estimated rates of sedimentation and coal formation suggest that the burrows were made less than ten thousand years after the end-Cretaceous impact. The burrow characteristics are most consistent with burrows of extant earthworms. Moreover, the burrowing and detritivorous habits of these annelids fit models that predict the trophic and sheltering lifestyles of terrestrial animals that survived the K/Pg extinction event. In turn, such detritus-eaters would have played a critical role in supporting secondary consumers. Thus, some of the carnivorous vertebrates that radiated after the K/Pg extinction may owe their evolutionary success to thriving populations of earthworms. PMID:23951041

  17. Body Size Preference of Marine Animals in Relation to Extinction Selectivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sriram, A.; Idgunji, S.; Heim, N. A.; Payne, J.

    2014-12-01

    Our project encompasses an extremely specific aspect in relation to the five mass extinctions in geologic history. We asked ourselves whether larger or smaller body sizes would be better suited for surviving a mass extinction. To conduct research for our project, we used the body sizes of 17,172 marine animal genera as our primary data. These animals include echinoderms, arthropods, chordates, mollusks, and brachiopods. These creatures are perfect model organisms in terms of finding data on them because they have an excellent fossil record, and are well documented. We focused on the mean body size of these animals before and after each of the five mass extinctions (end-Ordovician, Late Devonian, end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous). Our hypothesis was that the average biovolume of animals increased after each of the extinctions, with the mean size being greater after than it was before. Our size data is from the Ellis & Messina Catalogue of Ostracoda and the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. We obtained stratigraphic range data The Treatise and Sepkoski (2002). In our analyses, we compared the mean size of the different animal genera before and after each extinction event. We further partitioned size change across mass extinction boundaries into three categories: the surviving genera, the extinct genera, and the newly originating genera that came about after the extinction. According to our analyses, the mean sizes did not change significantly from the genera living during the stages before the extinctions and after the extinctions. From our results, we can assume that there were not enough major increases in the overall volume of the organisms to warrant a definite conclusion that extinctions lead to larger body sizes. Further support for our findings came from the T-tests in our R code. Only the Cretaceous period showed true evidence for size changing because of the extinction; in this case, the mean size decreased. T-tests for the Cretaceous

  18. Determining the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMPS)'s Role in the Increased Flux of CO2 in the end-Triassic Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Srinivasan, P. S.; Bachan, A.; Stanford School of Earth Sciences Department of Paleobiology

    2011-12-01

    The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) is one of the largest flood basalt provinces known. Its empacement coincided with a period of major plant and animal extinctions-the end-Triassic mass extinction. It is postulated that the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the volcanics was one of the causes of this mass extinction. However,the magnitude of impact on ocean chemistry, and timescales involved remain unclear. To determine CAMP's role in this increased flux of CO2, we studied the geochemistry of samples of rock from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, in northern Italy. Specifically, by observing the ratios of carbon isotopes 12 and 13 in the organic carbon found in these limestone sedimentary rocks, we could determine the ratio of carbonate to organic burial fluxes globally. We drilled limestone rocks from two different sections in the Southern Alps-- Pozzo Glaciale and Val Adrara. Once they were drilled to a fine powder-like form, we acidified the CaCO3 with HCl to isolate the organic carbon. Then, the organic matter was cleaned to rid the acid, and eventually was placed into tin foil to be placed into the Elemental Analyzer, which determined the percent Carbon in each sample. We tested about 200 samples, and placed them into the Mass Spectrometer machine to determine the isotopic ratios of C12 and C13. According to the data, there was a positive excursion for both sample sets, which means that there was an increase in the amount of C13 in the organic matter. The duration of this excursion was at least a few hundred thousand years. This suggests a protracted increase in the burial flux of organic carbon globally, which is consistent with the hypothesized volcanically driven increase in CO2. This further bolsters the contention that CAMP was responsible, in part, for this mass extinction. By studying the earth's recovery from increased carbon fluxes in the past, we can predict the recovery path that our anthropogenically

  19. UNDERSTANDING BLACK HOLE MASS ASSEMBLY VIA ACCRETION AND MERGERS AT LATE TIMES IN COSMOLOGICAL SIMULATIONS

    SciTech Connect

    Kulier, Andrea; Ostriker, Jeremiah P.; Lackner, Claire N.; Cen, Renyue; Natarajan, Priyamvada

    2015-02-01

    Accretion is thought to primarily contribute to the mass accumulation history of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) throughout cosmic time. While this may be true at high redshifts, at lower redshifts and for the most massive black holes (BHs) mergers themselves might add significantly to the mass budget. We explore this in two disparate environments—a massive cluster and a void region. We evolve SMBHs from 4 > z > 0 using merger trees derived from hydrodynamical cosmological simulations of these two regions, scaled to the observed value of the stellar mass fraction to account for overcooling. Mass gains from gas accretion proportional to bulge growth and BH-BH mergers are tracked, as are BHs that remain ''orbiting'' due to insufficient dynamical friction in a merger remnant, as well as those that are ejected due to gravitational recoil. We find that gas accretion remains the dominant source of mass accumulation in almost all SMBHs; mergers contribute 2.5% ± 0.1% for all SMBHs in the cluster and 1.0% ± 0.1% in the void since z = 4. However, mergers are significant for massive SMBHs. The fraction of mass accumulated from mergers for central BHs generally increases for larger values of the host bulge mass: in the void, the fraction is 2% at M {sub *,} {sub bul} = 10{sup 10} M {sub ☉}, increasing to 4% at M {sub *,} {sub bul} ≳ 10{sup 11} M {sub ☉}, and in the cluster it is 4% at M {sub *,} {sub bul} = 10{sup 10} M {sub ☉} and 23% at 10{sup 12} M {sub ☉}. We also find that the total mass in orbiting SMBHs is negligible in the void, but significant in the cluster, in which a potentially detectable 40% of SMBHs and ≈8% of the total SMBH mass (where the total includes central, orbiting, and ejected SMBHs) is found orbiting at z = 0. The existence of orbiting and ejected SMBHs requires modification of the Soltan argument. We estimate this correction to the integrated accreted mass density of SMBHs to be in the range 6%-21%, with a mean value of 11% ± 3

  20. Influence of climate change and marine chemistry on ecological shifts following the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ritterbush, K. A.; West, A. J.; Berelson, W.; Rosas, S.; Bottjer, D. J.; Yager, J. A.; Corsetti, F. A.

    2014-12-01

    Two aspects of the Triassic/Jurassic transition that seem incongruous are increasing warming and increasing ecological dominance by siliceous sponges on shallow shelves. Warming is interpreted from proxy data showing increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations associated with eruption pulses of the Central Atlantic Province (CAMP) basalts across rifting Pangea. Post-extinction ecological dominance by siliceous sponges is found in recent field investigations of Nevada and Peru, and literature on the Austrian Alps. Whereas evidence from the Panthalassan siliceous sponge ramps of the early Jurassic clearly records deposition on sub- and tropical shallow shelves (a warm environment), modern sponge occupations of comparable intensity exist only in deep and cold environments. Resolving this apparent contrast requires consideration of silica cycling. Silica is a limiting nutrient for siliceous sponges, and the post-extinction sponges of the earliest Jurassic show desmid spicule morphologies matching modern phenotypic indicators of high silica concentration. During the Triassic the major documented biosiliceous sink was radiolarian deep sea chert deposits despite a major species-level turnover at the extinction. Diatoms did not exist in the Triassic. A major alteration to silica cycling in the early Jurassic could have resulted from increased terrigenous supply for two reasons: increased atmospheric carbon dioxide would likely intensify continental weathering, and the extensive flood basalts produced an easily-weathered silica source. Simple box model calculations allow consideration of supply vs demand, and of the pace of possible changes. Potential weathering rates of silica are contrasted with recent published data on sponge silica sequestration, showing that the presence of the CAMP basalts alone could support increased sponge abundance across tropical carbonate shelves. Estimates of doubling and residence times in a simple one-box model show that the change in

  1. High precision time calibration of the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction event in a deep marine context

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baresel, Björn; Bucher, Hugo; Brosse, Morgane; Bagherpour, Borhan; Schaltegger, Urs

    2015-04-01

    To construct a revised and high resolution calibrated time scale for the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) we use (1) high-precision U-Pb zircon age determinations of a unique succession of volcanic ash layers interbedded with deep water fossiliferous sediments in the Nanpanjiang Basin (South China) combined with (2) accurate quantitative biochronology based on ammonoids, conodonts, radiolarians, and foraminifera and (3) tracers of marine bioproductivity (carbon isotopes) across the PTB. The unprecedented precision of the single grain chemical abrasion isotope-dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) dating technique at sub-per mil level (radio-isotopic calibration of the PTB at the <100 ka level) now allows calibrating magmatic and biological timescales at resolution adequate for both groups of processes. Using these alignments allows (1) positioning the PTB in different depositional setting and (2) solving the age contradictions generated by the misleading use of the first occurrence (FO) of the conodont Hindeodus parvus, whose diachronous first occurrences are arbitrarily used for placing the base of the Triassic. This new age framework provides the basis for a combined calibration of chemostratigraphic records with high-resolution biochronozones of the Late Permian and Early Triassic. Here, we present new single grain U-Pb zircon data of volcanic ash layers from two deep marine sections (Dongpan and Penglaitan) revealing stratigraphic consistent dates over several volcanic ash layers bracketing the PTB. These analyses define weighted mean 206Pb/238U ages of 251.956±0.033 Ma (Dongpan) and 252.062±0.043 Ma (Penglaitan) for the last Permian ash bed. By calibration with detailed litho- and biostratigraphy new U-Pb ages of 251.953±0.038 Ma (Dongpan) and 251.907±0.033 Ma (Penglaitan) are established for the onset of the Triassic.

  2. Biostratigraphic case studies of six major extinctions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sloan, R. E.

    1988-01-01

    Biostratigraphic case studies of six major extinctions show all are gradual save one, which is a catastrophic extinction of terrestrial origin. These extinctions show a continuum of environmental insults from major to minor. The major causes of these extinctions are positive and negative eustatic sea level changes, temperature, or ecological competition. Extraterrestrial causes should not be posited without positive association with a stratigraphically sharp extinction. The Cretaceous-Tertiary terrestrial extinction is considerably smaller in percentage of extinction than the marine extinction and is spread over 10 my of the Cretaceous and 1 my of the Tertiary. Sixty percent of the 30 dinosaurs in the northern Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada had become extinct in the 9 my before the late Maastrichtian sea level drop. The best data on the Permo-Triassic terrestrial extinction are from the Karoo basin of South Africa. This is a series of 6 extinctions in some 8 my, recorded in some 2800 meters of sediment. Precision of dating is enhanced by the high rate of accumulation of these sediments. Few data are readily available on the timing of the marine Permo-Triassic extinction, due to the very restricted number of sequences of Tatarian marine rocks. The terminal Ordovician extinction at 438 my is relatively rapid, taking place over about 0.5 my. The most significant aspect of this extinction is a eustatic sea level lowering associated with a major episode of glaciation. New data on this extinction is the reduction from 61 genera of trilobites in North America to 14, for a 77 percent extinction. Another Ordovician extinction present over 10 percent of the North American craton occurs at 454 my in the form of a catastrophic extinction due to a volcanic eruption which blanketed the U.S. east of the Transcontinental Arch. This is the only other sizeable extinction in the Ordovician.

  3. STUDYING THE PHYSICAL DIVERSITY OF LATE-M DWARFS WITH DYNAMICAL MASSES

    SciTech Connect

    Dupuy, Trent J.; Liu, Michael C.; Bowler, Brendan P.; Cushing, Michael C.; Helling, Christiane; Witte, Soeren; Hauschildt, Peter

    2010-10-01

    We present a systematic study of the physical properties of late-M dwarfs based on high-quality dynamical mass measurements and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. We use astrometry from Keck natural and laser guide star adaptive optics imaging to determine orbits for the late-M binaries LP 349 - 25AB (M7.5+M8), LHS 1901AB (M6.5+M6.5), and Gl 569Bab (M8.5+M9). We find that LP 349 - 25AB (M{sub tot} = 0.120{sup +0.008}{sub -0.007} M{sub sun}) is a pair of young brown dwarfs for which Lyon and Tucson evolutionary models jointly predict an age of 140 {+-} 30 Myr, consistent with the age of the Pleiades. However, at least the primary component seems to defy the empirical Pleiades lithium depletion boundary, implying that the system is in fact older (if the parallax is correct) and that evolutionary models under-predict the component luminosities for this magnetically active binary. We find that LHS 1901AB is a pair of very low-mass stars (M{sub tot} = 0.194{sup +0.025}{sub -0.021} M{sub sun}) with evolutionary model-derived ages consistent with the old age (>6 Gyr) implied by its lack of activity. Our improved orbit for Gl 569Bab results in a higher mass for this binary (M{sub tot} = 0.140{sup +0.009}{sub -0.008} M{sub sun}) compared to previous work (0.125 {+-} 0.007 M{sub sun}). We use these mass measurements along with our published results for 2MASS J2206 - 2047AB (M8+M8) to test four sets of ultracool model atmospheres currently in use. Fitting these models to our NIR integrated-light spectra provides temperature estimates warmer by {approx}250 K than those derived independently from Dusty evolutionary models given the measured masses and luminosities. We propose that model atmospheres are more likely to be the source of this discrepancy, as it would be difficult to explain a uniform temperature offset over such a wide range of masses, ages, and activity levels in the context of evolutionary models. This contrasts with the conclusion of Konopacky et al. that model

  4. Studying the Physical Diversity of Late-M Dwarfs with Dynamical Masses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dupuy, Trent J.; Liu, Michael C.; Bowler, Brendan P.; Cushing, Michael C.; Helling, Christiane; Witte, Soeren; Hauschildt, Peter

    2010-10-01

    We present a systematic study of the physical properties of late-M dwarfs based on high-quality dynamical mass measurements and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. We use astrometry from Keck natural and laser guide star adaptive optics imaging to determine orbits for the late-M binaries LP 349 - 25AB (M7.5+M8), LHS 1901AB (M6.5+M6.5), and Gl 569Bab (M8.5+M9). We find that LP 349 - 25AB (Mtot = 0.120+0.008 -0.007 Msun) is a pair of young brown dwarfs for which Lyon and Tucson evolutionary models jointly predict an age of 140 ± 30 Myr, consistent with the age of the Pleiades. However, at least the primary component seems to defy the empirical Pleiades lithium depletion boundary, implying that the system is in fact older (if the parallax is correct) and that evolutionary models under-predict the component luminosities for this magnetically active binary. We find that LHS 1901AB is a pair of very low-mass stars (Mtot = 0.194+0.025 -0.021 Msun) with evolutionary model-derived ages consistent with the old age (>6 Gyr) implied by its lack of activity. Our improved orbit for Gl 569Bab results in a higher mass for this binary (Mtot = 0.140+0.009 -0.008 Msun) compared to previous work (0.125 ± 0.007 Msun). We use these mass measurements along with our published results for 2MASS J2206 - 2047AB (M8+M8) to test four sets of ultracool model atmospheres currently in use. Fitting these models to our NIR integrated-light spectra provides temperature estimates warmer by ≈250 K than those derived independently from Dusty evolutionary models given the measured masses and luminosities. We propose that model atmospheres are more likely to be the source of this discrepancy, as it would be difficult to explain a uniform temperature offset over such a wide range of masses, ages, and activity levels in the context of evolutionary models. This contrasts with the conclusion of Konopacky et al. that model-predicted masses (given input T eff and L bol) are at fault for differences between

  5. Tracking Taphonomic Regimes Using Chemical and Mechanical Damage of Pollen and Spores: An Example from the Triassic–Jurassic Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Mander, Luke; Wesseln, Cassandra J.; McElwain, Jennifer C.; Punyasena, Surangi W.

    2012-01-01

    The interpretation of biotic changes in the geological past relies on the assumption that samples from different time intervals represent an equivalent suite of natural sampling conditions. As a result, detailed investigations of taphonomic regimes during intervals of major biotic upheaval, such as mass extinctions, are crucial. In this paper, we have used variations in the frequency of chemical and mechanical sporomorph (pollen and spore) damage as a guide to taphonomic regimes across the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction (Tr-J; ∼201.3 Ma) at a boundary section at Astartekløft, East Greenland. We find that the frequency of sporomorph damage is extremely variable in samples from this locality. This likely reflects a combination of taxon-specific susceptibility to damage and the mixing of sporomorphs from a mosaic of environments and taphonomic regimes. The stratigraphic interval containing evidence of plant extinction and compositional change in the source vegetation at Astartekløft is not marked by a consistent rise or fall in the frequency of sporomorph damage. This indicates that natural taphonomic regimes did not shift radically during this critical interval. We find no evidence of a consistent relationship between the taxonomic richness of sporomorph assemblages and the frequency of damage among sporomorphs at Astartekløft. This indicates that previously reported patterns of sporomorph richness across the Tr-J at this locality are likely to be robust. Taken together, our results suggest that the patterns of vegetation change at Astartekløft represent a real biological response to environmental change at the Tr-J. PMID:23145104

  6. Darwin and the uses of extinction.

    PubMed

    Beer, Gillian

    2009-01-01

    We currently view extinction with dismay and even horror, but Darwin saw extinction as ordinary and as necessary to evolutionary change. Still, the degree to which extinction is fundamental to his theory is rarely discussed. This essay examines Darwin's linking of the idea of "improvement" with that of natural selection and tracks a cluster of reasons for our changed valuation of extinction now. Those reasons demonstrate how scientific information and ideological preferences have reshaped the concept. The essay challenges the reader to assess some current assumptions about extinction and concludes by considering the shift in Darwin's own understanding from the "Origin" to the late "Autobiography". PMID:19824221

  7. Proposed law of nature linking impacts, plume volcanism, and Milankovitch cycles to terrestrial vertebrate mass extinctions via greenhouse-embryo death coupling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mclean, D. M.

    1994-01-01

    A greenhouse-physiological coupling killing mechanism active among mammals, birds, and reptiles has been identified. Operating via environmental thermal effects upon the maternal core-skin blood flow critical to the survival and development of embryos, it reduces the flow of blood to the uterine tract. Today, during hot summers, this phenomena kills embryos on a vast, global scale. Because of sensitivity of many mammals to modern heat, a major modern greenhouse could reduce population numbers on a global scale, and potentially trigger population collapses in the more vulnerable parts of the world. In the geological past, the killing mechanism has likely been triggered into action by greenhouse warming via impact events, plume volcanism, and Earth orbital variations (Milankovitch cycles). Earth's biosphere is maintained and molded by the flow of energy from the solar energy source to Earth and on to the space energy sink (SES). This SES energy flow maintains Earth's biosphere and its living components, as open, intermediate, dissipative, nonequilibrium systems whose states are dependent upon the rate of energy flowing through them. Greenhouse gases such as CO2 in the atmosphere influence the SES energy flow rate. Steady-state flow is necessary for global ecological stability (autopoiesis). Natural fluctuations of the C cycle such as rapid releases of CO2 from the mantle, or oceans, disrupt steady-state SES flow. These fluctuations constantly challenge the biosphere; slowdown of SES energy flow drives it toward thermodynamical equilibrium and stagnation. Fluctuations induced by impact event, mantle plume volcanism, and Milankovitch cycles can grow into structure-breaking waves triggering major perturbations of Earth's C cycle and mass extinctions. A major C cycle perturbation involves readjustment of the outer physiochemical spheres of the Earth: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; and by necessity, the biosphere. A greenhouse, one manifestation of a major

  8. In situ vertical profiles of aerosol extinction, mass, and composition over the SEUS during the SENEX and SEAC4RS studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, N. L.; Brock, C. A.; Day, D. A.; Diskin, G. S.; Gordon, T. D.; Graus, M.; Holloway, J. S.; Huey, L. G.; Jimenez, J. L.; Lack, D.; Liao, J.; Liu, X.; Markovic, M. Z.; Middlebrook, A. M.; Perring, A. E.; Richardson, M.; Schwarz, J. P.; Warneke, C.; Welti, A.; Wisthaler, A.; Ziemba, L. D.; Murphy, D. M.; Campuzano Jost, P.

    2014-12-01

    Shallow cumulus convection enhances vertical transport of trace gases and aerosol and creates a cloudy transition layer on top of the sub-cloud mixed layer. Two recent studies have proposed that an elevated layer of enhanced organic aerosol over the southeastern United States (SEUS) could explain the discrepancy in the summertime enhancement of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and summertime enhancement of surface measurements of aerosol mass. We investigate the vertical profile of aerosol over the SEUS during the summertime using in situ aircraft-based measurements of aerosol from the SENEX and SEAC4RS studies. During shallow cumulus convection over the SEUS, we found that aerosol and trace gas concentration in the transition layer are diluted by cleaner air from the free troposphere, and the absolute aerosol loading decreases with altitude in the transition layer. However, after normalizing the vertical profiles to the CO boundary layer enhancement to correct for the dilution, the aerosol mass, volume, and extinction relative to the boundary layer CO enhancement is ~20% greater in the transition layer than in the mixed layer. The enhancement of aerosol loading suggests production of aerosol mass in the transition layer, although biomass burning could also be the source of the enhancement. The median composition of the aerosol in the mixed layer is ~70% organics and ~18% sulfate, while it is 65% organics and 23% sulfate in the transition layer. The composition of the aerosol enhancement in the transition layer is roughly equal parts sulfate and organics by mass. The enhancement of aerosol extinction in the transition layer is not sufficient to explain the summertime enhancement of AOD over S