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Sample records for mass extinction late

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Late Cretaceous stepwise mass extinction of planktonic foraminifera

    SciTech Connect

    D'Hondt, S.L.; Keller, G.

    1985-01-01

    Quantitative populations analysis of planktonic foraminifera from DSDP sites 10, 21, 528, 577 and the El Kef section of Tunisia indicates that the terminal Cretaceous mass extinction did not occur as a simple catastrophic event. Rather, the final Cretaceous extinction was heralded by a series of earlier extinction events, indicating a changing paleoenvironment during the late Cretaceous. Extinction events appear stepwise marked by periods of rapid faunal turnover during which dominant faunal elements decline in abundance. Generally, weakened surviving populations are subsequently annihilated during the next stepwise ecologic perturbation. Little or no faunal change appears between these stepwise events. Significantly, extinctions generally affect species which are numerically low in abundance (<3% of the total population). This indicates that the number of taxa going extinct is in itself a poor measure of the extent of ecologic perturbations. Thus, species extinctions and changes in populations dynamics must be viewed together in order to gain an understanding of the complex nature of mass extinctions. The observed stepwise extinction events can potentially be explained by geotectonically induced changes in ocean circulation accompanied by temperature and salinity fluctuations. However, it cannot be ruled out at this time that at least some of the extinction events maybe related to impact events. Further studies will be necessary to find evidence of between extinction events and impacts.

  4. Rapid recovery from the Late Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:15596725

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Comparative Earth history and Late Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    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.

  10. Comparative Earth History and Late Permian Mass Extinction

    PubMed

    Knoll; Bambach; Canfield; Grotzinger

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Intrinsic and extrinsic ecological determinants of extinction at the Late Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunhill, Alexander

    2017-04-01

    The Late Triassic extinction (c. 201 Ma) is recognised as one of the "Big Five" mass extinction events, resulting in an estimated loss of over 80% of marine species and ranked third, in terms of ecological severity, amongst Phanerozoic extinctions. Here, we assess how intrinsic and extrinsic ecological factors influence extinction intensity. Using the Bambach ecospace model - based on unique combinations of three variables focusing on mobility, feeding, and tiering - we show that extinction was highest in the tropics, and Panthalassan taxa suffered higher extinction rates than taxa residing in the Tethys Ocean. Reef dwelling taxa suffered the highest levels of extinction, whilst those inhabiting inner-shelf environments were the least affected. An erect benthic or pelagic mode of life appears to have been most susceptible to extinction whilst suspension feeders suffered higher extinction rates than taxa displaying other feeding strategies. Non-motile and highly mobile taxa appear to have suffered higher levels of extinction than slow moving and facultative mobile taxa. The results show that both intrinsic and extrinsic ecological factors have a bearing on whether taxa are more or less likely to survive a mass extinction event.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27432981

  1. 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.

  2. Controls on body size during the Late Permian mass extinction event.

    PubMed

    He, W-H; Twitchett, R J; Zhang, Y; Shi, G R; Feng, Q-L; Yu, J-X; Wu, S-B; Peng, X-F

    2010-12-01

    This study examines the morphological responses of Late Permian brachiopods to environmental changes. Quantitative analysis of body size data from Permian-Triassic brachiopods has demonstrated significant, directional changes in body size before, during and after the Late Permian mass extinction event. Brachiopod size significantly reduced before and during the extinction interval, increased for a short time in more extinction-resistant taxa in the latter stages of extinction and then dramatically reduced again across the Permian/Triassic boundary. Relative abundances of trace elements and acritarchs demonstrate that the body size reductions which happened before, during and after extinction were driven by primary productivity collapse, whereas declining oxygen levels had less effect. An episode of size increase in two of the more extinction-resistant brachiopod species is unrelated to environmental change and possibly was the result of reduced interspecific competition for resources following the extinction of competitors. Based on the results of this study, predictions can be made for the possible responses of modern benthos to present-day environmental changes.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2012-11-20

    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.

  4. 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

  5. Causes of the great mass extinction of marine organisms in the Late Devonian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2016-11-01

    The second of the five great mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic occurred in the Late Devonian. The number of species decreased by 70-82%. Major crises occurred at the Frasnian-Famennian and Devonian-Carboniferous boundary. The lithological and geochemical compositions of sediments, volcanic deposits, impactites, carbon and oxygen isotope ratios, evidence of climate variability, and sea level changes reflect the processes that led the critical conditions. Critical intervals are marked by layers of black shales, which were deposited in euxinic or anoxic environments. These conditions were the main direct causes of the extinctions. The Late Devonian mass extinction was determined by a combination of impact events and extensive volcanism. They produced similar effects: emissions of harmful chemical compounds and aerosols to cause greenhouse warming; darkening of the atmosphere, which prevented photosynthesis; and stagnation of oceans and development of anoxia. Food chains collapsed and biological productivity decreased. As a result, all vital processes were disturbed and a large portion of the biota became extinct.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Mass extinction: a commentary.

    PubMed

    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.

  11. 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

    2011-02-22

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Subsequent biotic crises delayed marine recovery following the late Permian mass extinction event in northern Italy.

    PubMed

    Foster, William J; Danise, Silvia; Price, Gregory D; Twitchett, Richard J

    2017-01-01

    The late Permian mass extinction event was the largest biotic crisis of the Phanerozoic and has the longest recovery interval of any extinction event. It has been hypothesised that subsequent carbon isotope perturbations during the Early Triassic are associated with biotic crises that impeded benthic recovery. We test this hypothesis by undertaking the highest-resolution study yet made of the rock and fossil records of the entire Werfen Formation, Italy. Here, we show that elevated extinction rates were recorded not only in the Dienerian, as previously recognised, but also around the Smithian/Spathian boundary. Functional richness increases across the Smithian/Spathian boundary associated with elevated origination rates in the lower Spathian. The taxonomic and functional composition of benthic faunas only recorded two significant changes: (1) reduced heterogeneity in the Dienerian, and (2) and a faunal turnover across the Smithian/Spathian boundary. The elevated extinctions and compositional shifts in the Dienerian and across the Smithian/Spathian boundary are associated with a negative and positive isotope excursion, respectively, which supports the hypothesis that subsequent biotic crises are associated with carbon isotope shifts. The Spathian fauna represents a more advanced ecological state, not recognised in the previous members of the Werfen Formation, with increased habitat differentiation, a shift in the dominant modes of life, appearance of stenohaline taxa and the occupation of the erect and infaunal tiers. In addition to subsequent biotic crises delaying the recovery, therefore, persistent environmental stress limited the ecological complexity of benthic recovery prior to the Spathian.

  15. Subsequent biotic crises delayed marine recovery following the late Permian mass extinction event in northern Italy

    PubMed Central

    Danise, Silvia; Price, Gregory D.; Twitchett, Richard J.

    2017-01-01

    The late Permian mass extinction event was the largest biotic crisis of the Phanerozoic and has the longest recovery interval of any extinction event. It has been hypothesised that subsequent carbon isotope perturbations during the Early Triassic are associated with biotic crises that impeded benthic recovery. We test this hypothesis by undertaking the highest-resolution study yet made of the rock and fossil records of the entire Werfen Formation, Italy. Here, we show that elevated extinction rates were recorded not only in the Dienerian, as previously recognised, but also around the Smithian/Spathian boundary. Functional richness increases across the Smithian/Spathian boundary associated with elevated origination rates in the lower Spathian. The taxonomic and functional composition of benthic faunas only recorded two significant changes: (1) reduced heterogeneity in the Dienerian, and (2) and a faunal turnover across the Smithian/Spathian boundary. The elevated extinctions and compositional shifts in the Dienerian and across the Smithian/Spathian boundary are associated with a negative and positive isotope excursion, respectively, which supports the hypothesis that subsequent biotic crises are associated with carbon isotope shifts. The Spathian fauna represents a more advanced ecological state, not recognised in the previous members of the Werfen Formation, with increased habitat differentiation, a shift in the dominant modes of life, appearance of stenohaline taxa and the occupation of the erect and infaunal tiers. In addition to subsequent biotic crises delaying the recovery, therefore, persistent environmental stress limited the ecological complexity of benthic recovery prior to the Spathian. PMID:28296886

  16. A late Paleocene probable metatherian (?deltatheroidan) survivor of the Cretaceous mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Ni, Xijun; Li, Qiang; Stidham, Thomas A.; Li, Lüzhou; Lu, Xiaoyu; Meng, Jin

    2016-01-01

    Deltatheroidans are primitive metatherian mammals (relatives of marsupials), previously thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous mass extinction. Here, we report a tiny new deltatheroidan mammal (Gurbanodelta kara gen. et sp. nov.) discovered at the South Gobi locality in China (Xinjiang Province) that is the first Cenozoic record of this clade and renders Deltatheroida a Lazarus taxon (with a new record 10 million years younger than their supposed extinction). The vertebrate fauna associated with Gurbanodelta is most similar to that from the slightly older late Paleocene Subeng locality in Inner Mongolia. The upper molars of Gurbanodelta exhibit a broad stylar shelf with one prominent cusp (stylocone), and a paracone that is sharp and significantly taller than the metacone. The lower molar tentatively assigned to Gurbanodelta has a very small talonid without an entoconid. This combination of these features is known only in deltatheroidans. Phylogenetic analysis places Gurbanodelta as the sister taxon of the North American latest Cretaceous Nanocuris. Gurbanodelta is the smallest-known deltatheroidan, and roughly the same size as the smallest living marsupial. It is likely that the Gurbanodelta lineage dispersed between Asia and North America as part of known intercontinental mammalian dispersals in the late Paleocene, or possibly earlier. PMID:27924847

  17. A late Paleocene probable metatherian (?deltatheroidan) survivor of the Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ni, Xijun; Li, Qiang; Stidham, Thomas A; Li, Lüzhou; Lu, Xiaoyu; Meng, Jin

    2016-12-07

    Deltatheroidans are primitive metatherian mammals (relatives of marsupials), previously thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous mass extinction. Here, we report a tiny new deltatheroidan mammal (Gurbanodelta kara gen. et sp. nov.) discovered at the South Gobi locality in China (Xinjiang Province) that is the first Cenozoic record of this clade and renders Deltatheroida a Lazarus taxon (with a new record 10 million years younger than their supposed extinction). The vertebrate fauna associated with Gurbanodelta is most similar to that from the slightly older late Paleocene Subeng locality in Inner Mongolia. The upper molars of Gurbanodelta exhibit a broad stylar shelf with one prominent cusp (stylocone), and a paracone that is sharp and significantly taller than the metacone. The lower molar tentatively assigned to Gurbanodelta has a very small talonid without an entoconid. This combination of these features is known only in deltatheroidans. Phylogenetic analysis places Gurbanodelta as the sister taxon of the North American latest Cretaceous Nanocuris. Gurbanodelta is the smallest-known deltatheroidan, and roughly the same size as the smallest living marsupial. It is likely that the Gurbanodelta lineage dispersed between Asia and North America as part of known intercontinental mammalian dispersals in the late Paleocene, or possibly earlier.

  18. Recovery and diversification of marine communities following the late Permian mass extinction event in the western Palaeotethys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foster, William J.; Sebe, Krisztina

    2017-08-01

    The recovery of benthic invertebrates following the late Permian mass extinction event is often described as occurring in the Middle Triassic associated with the return of Early Triassic Lazarus taxa, increased body sizes, platform margin metazoan reefs, and increased tiering. Most quantitative palaeoecological studies, however, are limited to the Early Triassic and the timing of the final phase of recovery is rarely quantified. Here, quantitative abundance data of benthic invertebrates were collected from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) succession of the Mecsek Mountains (Hungary), and analysed with univariate and multivariate statistics to investigate the timing of recovery following the late Permian mass extinction. These communities lived in a mixed siliciclastic-carbonate ramp setting on the western margin of the Palaeotethys Ocean. The new data presented here is combined with the previously studied Lower Triassic succession of the Aggtelek Karst (Hungary), which records deposition of comparable facies and in the same region of the Palaeotethys Ocean. The Middle Triassic benthic fauna can be characterised by three distinct ecological states. The first state is recorded in the Viganvár Limestone Formation representing mollusc-dominated communities restricted to above wave base, which are comparable to the lower and mid-Spathian Szin Marl Formation faunas. The second state is recorded in the Lapis Limestone Formation and records extensive bioturbation that is not limited to wave base and is comparable to the upper Spathian Szinpetri Limestone Formation. The third ecological state occurs in the Zuhánya Limestone Formation which was deposited in the Pelsonian Binodosus Zone, and has a more 'Palaeozoic' structure with sessile brachiopods dominating assemblages for the first time in the Mesozoic. The return of community-level characteristics to pre-extinction levels and the diversification of invertebrates suggests that the final stages of recovery and the radiation

  19. 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.

  20. Environmental conditions as the cause of the great mass extinction of marine organisms in the Late Devonian

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barash, M. S.

    2017-08-01

    During the Late Devonian extinction, 70-82% of all marine species disappeared. The main causes of this mass extinction include tectonic activity, climate and sea-level fluctuations, volcanism, and the collision of the Earth with cosmic bodies (impact events). The major causes are considered to be volcanism accompanying formation of the Viluy traps and, probably, basaltic magmatism in the Southern Urals, alkaline magmatism within the East European platform, and volcanism in northern Iran and northern and southern China. Several large impact craters of Late Devonian age have been documented in different parts of the world. The available data indicate that this time period on the Earth was marked by two major sequences of events: terrestrial events that resulted in extensive volcanism and cosmic (or impact) events. They produced similar effects such as emissions of harmful chemical compounds and aerosols to cause greenhouse warming and the darkening of the atmosphere, which prevented photosynthesis and cause ocean stagnation and anoxia. This disrupted the food chain and reduced ecosystem productivity. As a result, all vital processes were disturbed and a large part of the marine biota became extinct.

  1. Climate predictors of late quaternary extinctions.

    PubMed

    Nogués-Bravo, David; Ohlemüller, Ralf; Batra, Persaram; Araújo, Miguel B

    2010-08-01

    Between 50,000 and 3,000 years before present (BP) 65% of mammal genera weighing over 44 kg went extinct, together with a lower proportion of small mammals. Why species went extinct in such large numbers is hotly debated. One of the arguments proposes that climate changes underlie Late Quaternary extinctions, but global quantitative evidence for this hypothesis is still lacking. We test the potential role of global climate change on the extinction of mammals during the Late Quaternary. Our results suggest that continents with the highest climate footprint values, in other words, with climate changes of greater magnitudes during the Late Quaternary, witnessed more extinctions than continents with lower climate footprint values, with the exception of South America. Our results are consistent across species with different body masses, reinforcing the view that past climate changes contributed to global extinctions. Our model outputs, the climate change footprint dataset, provide a new research venue to test hypotheses about biodiversity dynamics during the Late Quaternary from the genetic to the species richness level.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, Peter D.; Garrison, Geoffrey H.; Haggart, James W.; Kring, David A.; Beattie, Michael J.

    2004-08-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-13

    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.

  9. Constraints on the duration and magnitude of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian glaciation and its relationship to the Late Ordovician mass extinction from carbonate ``clumped'' isotope paleothermometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finnegan, S.; Bergmann, K. D.; Eiler, J.; Jones, D. S.; Fike, D. A.; Eisenman, I. L.; Hughes, N.; Tripati, A. K.; Fischer, W. W.

    2010-12-01

    The second most severe mass extinction in the Phanerozoic fossil record occurred near the end of the Ordovician Period (~443.7 Mya). Although this episode is thought to be linked to cooling and glaciation of the southern supercontinent of Gondwana, the precise nature of the relationship between extinction and climate change has been obscured by persistent uncertainties about the timing of glaciation, the magnitude of the Gondwanan ice sheet(s), and the impact of global cooling on tropical ocean temperatures. Here we use carbonate “clumped” isotope paleothermometry, in combination with classical oxygen isotope paleothermometry, to place new constraints on these variables. We used textural analysis (light and scanning electron microscopy) and trace element analysis to evaluate preservation quality in a large and taxonomically diverse suite of Late Ordovician and Early Silurian calcitic fossils from tropical paleolatitudes in Laurentia (U.S. midcontinent and Anticosti Island, Canada). Using the best-preserved material to reconstruct tropical near-surface ocean temperature (SST) trends, we find temperatures in the 33-37° C range throughout most of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian time. During the terminal Ordovician Hirnantian stage, however, a sharp ~5° C drop coincided with a major eustatic regression, a globally recognized positive carbon isotope excursion, and the main pulse of mass extinction. Controlling for temperature allows us to reconstruct trends in the isotopic composition of seawater. These indicate that glaciation was protracted, beginning before and continuing well after Hirnatian time, but reached a maximum in the Hirnantian with ice volumes equal to or exceeding those of the last Pleistocene glacial maximum. The coexistence of substantial continental ice sheets with very warm tropical SSTs throughout much of Late Ordovician-Early Silurian time implies that the meridional temperature gradient during this interval may have been steeper than during

  10. Contrasting microbial community changes during mass extinctions at the Middle/Late Permian and Permian/Triassic boundaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Shucheng; Algeo, Thomas J.; Zhou, Wenfeng; Ruan, Xiaoyan; Luo, Genming; Huang, Junhua; Yan, Jiaxin

    2017-02-01

    Microbial communities are known to expand as a result of environmental deterioration during mass extinctions, but differences in microbial community changes between extinction events and their underlying causes have received little study to date. Here, we present a systematic investigation of microbial lipid biomarkers spanning ∼20 Myr (Middle Permian to Early Triassic) at Shangsi, South China, to contrast microbial changes associated with the Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary (GLB) and Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinctions. High-resolution analysis of the PTB crisis interval reveals a distinct succession of microbial communities based on secular variation in moretanes, 2-methylhopanes, aryl isoprenoids, steranes, n-alkyl cyclohexanes, and other biomarkers. The first episode of the PTB mass extinction (ME1) was associated with increases in red algae and nitrogen-fixing bacteria along with evidence for enhanced wildfires and elevated soil erosion, whereas the second episode was associated with expansions of green sulfur bacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and acritarchs coinciding with climatic hyperwarming, ocean stratification, and seawater acidification. This pattern of microbial community change suggests that marine environmental deterioration was greater during the second extinction episode (ME2). The GLB shows more limited changes in microbial community composition and more limited environmental deterioration than the PTB, consistent with differences in species-level extinction rates (∼71% vs. 90%, respectively). Microbial biomarker records have the potential to refine our understanding of the nature of these crises and to provide insights concerning possible outcomes of present-day anthropogenic stresses on Earth's ecosystems.

  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. 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)

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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)

  20. 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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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;…

  3. 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;…

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Microbialite resurgence after the Late Ordovician extinction.

    PubMed

    Sheehan, Peter M; Harris, Mark T

    2004-07-01

    Microbialites, including biogenic stromatolites, thrombolites and dendrolites, were formed by various microbial mats that trapped and bound sediments or formed the locus of mineral precipitation. Microbialites were common and diverse during the Proterozoic, but declined in abundance and morphological diversity when multicellular life diversified during the Cambrian Radiation. A second decline occurred during the Ordovician Radiation of marine animals, and from then until the present microbialites have been confined largely to high-stress environments where multicellular organisms are rare. The microbialite declines in the Phanerozoic are attributed to disruption of the mats by animals. A resurgence of stromatolite abundance and size during reduced animal diversity after the Permian extinction has been documented anecdotally. Here we show, with statistical support, that a microbialite resurgence also occurred after the Late Ordovician extinction event in western North America. The resurgences were associated with loss of mat-inhibiting animals, providing insights into shallow-water community structures after extinction events.

  9. The stratigraphy of mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holland, Steven

    2015-04-01

    The discovery of the end-Cretaceous bolide impact and the recognition of mass extinctions through taxonomic compendia triggered keen interest in the stratigraphic pattern of species extinctions. A principal question has been whether patterns of fossil occurrence indicate gradual, stepwise, pulsed, or instantaneous extinction. Based on principles of sequence stratigraphy, marine ecology, and evolution, numerical models of fossil occurrences in stratigraphic sections indicate that the last occurrence of fossils does not generally indicate the time of extinction but is instead controlled by stratigraphic architecture. These models have been confirmed in multiple field studies from different sedimentary basins of different ages. These models identify several distinct processes controlling the last occurrence of fossils. Anything that lowers the probability of collection of a species, such as peak abundance or environmental tolerance, causes the last occurrence to be shifted backward in time relative to the time of extinction. Sequence-bounding subaerial unconformities generally also force the last occurrence backward in time, except in the case of reworking, which may place fossil remains in rocks younger than the time of extinction. Unconformities also cause last occurrences of multiple species to be clustered as a result of the hiatus. Surfaces of abrupt facies change, such as flooding surfaces and surfaces of forced regression, also cause last occurrences to be clustered, with such clustering reflecting the environmental preferences of species. Stratigraphic condensation can also cause clustering of last occurrences. All of these surfaces - subaerial unconformities, flooding surfaces, surfaces of forced regression, and condensed horizons - have highly predictable positions with depositional sequences. Thus, it is the normal expectation that last occurrences should be clustered in the fossil record, that these clusters should occur in stratigraphically predictable

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Asteroid impact and mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Peter M.

    Knowledge of the phenomena of impacts of objects from space on planetary surfaces is extensive, resulting from more than a decade of studies of craters on the earth, moon, and the terrestrial planets. Expertise in the geochemical analysis of a trace element assemblage with an extraterrestrial signature, such as iridium, osmium, palladium, nickel, and gold, is also quite well developed, so it was tempting to interpret the finding of such an assemblage in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary layer at numerous locations around the globe as being caused by impact of a large asteroid or other body. The evidence was compelling, and the interpretation as applied to certain marine organisms may be correct. What made the discovery newsworthy, however, was the additional interpretation that the impact had caused the known mass extinction of the dinosaurs and certain other flora and fauna 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Particles of the earth's surface expelled by the impact would have been accelerated into orbit, shielding the earth from sunlight. The example for this was the effect observed after the 1888 explosive volcanic eruption in the sea between Java and Sumatra (now called Rakatu) that virtually propelled fragments of the entire mass of Krakatau into the atmosphere for a period thought to have extended for about 3 years, causing darkening of the sky and unusual and spectacular sunsets.

  15. 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

  16. Late Permian basalts in the Yanghe area, eastern Sichuan Province, SW China: Implications for the geodynamics of the Emeishan flood basalt province and Permian global mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Hongbo; Zhang, Zhaochong; Santosh, M.; Lü, Linsu; Han, Liu; Liu, Wei

    2017-02-01

    to the correlation between the end-Guadalupian mass extinction and the Emeishan flood basalt province.

  17. 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.

  18. Survival without recovery after mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, David

    2002-06-11

    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 approximately 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.

  19. Oceanic Anoxia and the End Permian Mass Extinction

    PubMed

    Wignall; Twitchett

    1996-05-24

    Data on rocks from Spitsbergen and the equatorial sections of Italy and Slovenia indicate that the world's oceans became anoxic at both low and high paleolatitudes in the Late Permian. Such conditions may have been responsible for the mass extinction at this time. This event affected a wide range of shelf depths and extended into shallow water well above the storm wave base.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Background and mass extinctions: the alternation of macroevolutionary regimes.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, D

    1986-01-10

    Comparison of evolutionary patterns among Late Cretaceous marine bivalves and gastropods during times of normal, background levels of extinction and during the end-Cretaceous mass extinction indicates that mass extinctions are neither an intensification of background patterns nor an entirely random culling of the biota. During background times, traits such as planktotrophic larval development, broad geographic range of constituent species, and high species richness enhanced survivorship of species and genera. In contrast, during the, end-Cretaceous and other mass extinctions these factors were ineffectual, but broad geographic deployment of an entire lineage, regardless of the ranges of its constituent species, enhanced survivorship. Large-scale evolutionary patterns are evidently shaped by the alternation of these two macroevolutionary regimes, with rare but important mass extinctions driving shifts in the composition of the biota that have little relation to success during the background regime. Lineages or adaptations can be lost during mass extinctions for reasons unrelated to their survival values for organisms or species during background times, and long-term success would require the chance occurrence within a single lineage of sets of traits conducive to survivorship under both regimes.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Life in the Aftermath of Mass Extinctions.

    PubMed

    Hull, Pincelli

    2015-10-05

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Mass extinctions and supernova explosions.

    PubMed Central

    Crutzen, P J; Brühl, C

    1996-01-01

    In a recent contribution to this journal Ellis and Schramm [Ellis, J. & Schramm, D. N. (1995) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 235-238] claim that supernova explosions can cause massive biological extinctions as a result of strongly enhanced stratospheric NOx (NO + NO2) production by accompanying galactic cosmic rays. They suggested that these NOx productions which would last over several centuries and occur once every few hundred million years would result in ozone depletions of about 95%, leading to vastly increased levels of biologically damaging solar ultraviolet radiation. Our detailed model calculations show, however, substantially smaller ozone depletions ranging from at most 60% at high latitudes to below 20% at the equator. PMID:11607631

  10. Calibrating the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Shen, Shu-zhong; Crowley, James L; Wang, Yue; Bowring, Samuel A; Erwin, Douglas H; Sadler, Peter M; Cao, Chang-qun; Rothman, Daniel H; Henderson, Charles M; Ramezani, Jahandar; Zhang, Hua; Shen, Yanan; Wang, Xiang-dong; Wang, Wei; Mu, Lin; Li, Wen-zhong; Tang, Yue-gang; Liu, Xiao-lei; Liu, Lu-jun; Zeng, Yong; Jiang, Yao-fa; Jin, Yu-gan

    2011-12-09

    The end-Permian mass extinction was the most severe biodiversity crisis in Earth history. To better constrain the timing, and ultimately the causes of this event, we collected a suite of geochronologic, isotopic, and biostratigraphic data on several well-preserved sedimentary sections in South China. High-precision U-Pb dating reveals that the extinction peak occurred just before 252.28 ± 0.08 million years ago, after a decline of 2 per mil (‰) in δ(13)C over 90,000 years, and coincided with a δ(13)C excursion of -5‰ that is estimated to have lasted ≤20,000 years. The extinction interval was less than 200,000 years and synchronous in marine and terrestrial realms; associated charcoal-rich and soot-bearing layers indicate widespread wildfires on land. A massive release of thermogenic carbon dioxide and/or methane may have caused the catastrophic extinction.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2016-02-09

    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.

  15. Chronology of magmatic and biological events during mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaltegger, U.; Davies, J.; Baresel, B.; Bucher, H.

    2016-12-01

    For mass extinctions, high-precision geochronology is key to understanding: 1) the age and duration of mass extinction intervals, derived from palaeo-biodiversity or chemical proxies in marine sections, and 2) the age and duration of the magmatism responsible for injecting volatiles into the atmosphere. Using high-precision geochronology, here we investigate the sequence of events linked to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (TJB) and the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB) mass extinctions. At the TJB, the model of Guex et al. (2016) invokes degassing of early magmas produced by thermal erosion of cratonic lithosphere as a trigger of climate disturbance in the late Rhaetian. We provide geochronological evidence that such early intrusives from the CAMP (Central Atlantic Magmatic Province), predate the end-Triassic extinction event (Blackburn et al. 2013) by 100 kyr (Davies et al., subm.). We propose that these early intrusions and associated explosive volcanism (currently unidentified) initiate the extinction, followed by the younger basalt eruptions of the CAMP. We also provide accurate and precise calibration of the PTB in marine sections in S. China: The PTB and the extinction event coincide within 30 kyr in deep water settings; a hiatus followed by microbial limestone deposition in shallow water settings is of <100 kyr duration. The PTB extinction interval is preceded by up to 300 kyr by the onset of partly alkaline explosive, extrusive and intrusive rocks, which are suggested as the trigger of the mass extinction, rather than the subsequent basalt flows of the Siberian Traps (Burgess and Bowring 2015). From temporal constraints, the main inferences that can be made are: The duration of extinction events is in the x10 kyr range during the initial intrusive activity of a Large Igneous Province, and is postdated by the majority of basalt flows over several 100 kyr. For modeling climate change associated with mass extinctions, volatiles released from the basalt flows may

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

    2005-08-16

    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 approximately 11,000 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP) or slightly less in North America, approximately 10,500 yr BP in South America, and approximately 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.

  20. Mass extinctions: Sensitivity of marine larval types.

    PubMed

    Valentine, J W; Jablonski, D

    1986-09-01

    Developmental types of marine invertebrates may be divided into planktotrophs, which feed on suspended food items, and nonplanktotrophs, which do not feed but are supplied with nutrients (yolk) parentally; these may represent high mortality-fecundity and low mortality-fecundity strategies, respectively. Most versions of the bolide impact hypothesis of mass extinction propose occlusion of the sun by dust or smoke and severance of planktonic food chains for months or a few years, and this should select preferentially against planktotrophs. Yet among fossil prosobranch gastropods, planktotrophs survived the end-Cretaceous extinction equally as well as nonplanktotrophs. Indirect evidence suggests that end-Permian extinctions may have selected against planktotrophs but that the effect was prolonged over millions of years.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-03-16

    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 approximately 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.

  6. 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. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  7. Comparing the evidence relevant to impact and flood basalt at times of major mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, Walter

    2003-01-01

    The five major mass extinctions identified in 1982 by Raup and Sepkoski have expanded to six, with the suggestion that the Permian-Triassic extinction was a double event. Is there a general explanation for great mass extinctions, or can they result from different triggers, or even from internal system instabilities? The two most-discussed candidates for a general extinction mechanism are impacts and flood-basalt eruptions. A compilation of evidence for impact at the times of mass extinctions shows that this cause is abundantly confirmed in the case of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction and the late Eocene, which is a time of minor and gradual extinction, but little or no evidence connects other major extinctions to impact. On the other hand, there is a remarkable time correlation between flood basalts and four major extinctions, but no other evidence that flood basalts cause mass extinctions. The evidence for an impact-extinction linkage is strikingly different from that for a connection between flood basalts and extinctions. Flood basalts cover larger areas than craters and their associated thick ejecta blankets, which are thus less likely to be found. Impacts distribute proxies globally at instantaneous time horizons, whereas flood-basalt events are extended in time, and no remote proxies have been recognized. Many global killing mechanisms have been proposed in the case of impacts, but few have been suggested for flood basalts. It is possible that flood basalts are triggered by impact, but it is not obvious how impacts could result from anything other than chance. The hypothesis that impacts are the general cause of mass extinctions has not received supporting evidence, but has not been falsified. The hypothesis that flood basalts are the general cause of mass extinctions is supported by evidence from timing, but is not susceptible to falsification. Other candidates for general extinction causes, especially sea-level changes and system instabilities, would

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Macroecological analyses support an overkill scenario for late Pleistocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Diniz-Filho, J A F

    2004-08-01

    The extinction of megafauna at the end of Pleistocene has been traditionally explained by environmental changes or overexploitation by human hunting (overkill). Despite difficulties in choosing between these alternative (and not mutually exclusive) scenarios, the plausibility of the overkill hypothesis can be established by ecological models of predator-prey interactions. In this paper, I have developed a macroecological model for the overkill hypothesis, in which prey population dynamic parameters, including abundance, geographic extent, and food supply for hunters, were derived from empirical allometric relationships with body mass. The last output correctly predicts the final destiny (survival or extinction) for 73% of the species considered, a value only slightly smaller than those obtained by more complex models based on detailed archaeological and ecological data for each species. This illustrates the high selectivity of Pleistocene extinction in relation to body mass and confers more plausibility on the overkill scenario.

  11. 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.

  12. The biology of mass extinction: a palaeontological view.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, D

    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.

  13. Global Implications of late Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinctions in the Holarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, Alan; Turney, Chris

    2017-04-01

    Improved resolution data from radiocarbon, climate and ancient DNA studies of megafauna and humans is providing the first ability to disentangle the roles of climate change and human impact in the Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions. In the Holarctic we find that megafaunal populations underwent repeated local or global extinctions apparently associated with abrupt, centennial to millennial duration warming events (Dansgaard-Oeschger interstadials). Importantly, the extinction events took place both before and after the arrival of modern humans in the landscape. Here we look at the possible role of human activity in Holarctic and suggest it may be through the disruption of metapopulation processes which stabilize ecosystems and may have evolved to provide resilience to rapid and frequent climate shifts in the past. The observed relationship between climate and humans on megafaunal populations may provide a model for global extinction. Fortunately in this regard, the rapid movement of the first Native Americans throughout both American continents during the Last Deglaciation provides a powerful and unique model system for testing the competing roles on extinction because the opposing climate trends in each hemisphere at the time. Here we show that while megafaunal extinctions were associated with warming trends in both cases, the out-of-phase climate patterns caused the sequence and timing of events to be mirrored, providing a unique high-resolution view of the interactions of human colonization and rapid climate change on megafaunal ecosystems, with implications for future warming scenarios. References: Cooper, A., Turney, C., Hughen, K.A., Brook, B.W., McDonald, H.G., Bradshaw, C.J.A., 2015. Abrupt warming events drove Late Pleistocene Holarctic megafaunal turnover. Science 349, 602-606. Metcalf, J.L., Turney, C., Barnett, R., Martin, F., Bray, S.C., Vilstrup, J.T., Orlando, L., Salas-Gismondi, R., Loponte, D., Medina, M., De Nigris, M., Civalero, T., Fern

  14. 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. Copyright © 1989. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  15. 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.

  16. Estimates of the magnitudes of major marine mass extinctions in earth history

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Procedures introduced here make it possible, first, to show that background (piecemeal) extinction is recorded throughout geologic stages and substages (not all extinction has occurred suddenly at the ends of such intervals); second, to separate out background extinction from mass extinction for a major crisis in earth history; and third, to correct for clustering of extinctions when using the rarefaction method to estimate the percentage of species lost in a mass extinction. Also presented here is a method for estimating the magnitude of the Signor–Lipps effect, which is the incorrect assignment of extinctions that occurred during a crisis to an interval preceding the crisis because of the incompleteness of the fossil record. Estimates for the magnitudes of mass extinctions presented here are in most cases lower than those previously published. They indicate that only ∼81% of marine species died out in the great terminal Permian crisis, whereas levels of 90–96% have frequently been quoted in the literature. Calculations of the latter numbers were incorrectly based on combined data for the Middle and Late Permian mass extinctions. About 90 orders and more than 220 families of marine animals survived the terminal Permian crisis, and they embodied an enormous amount of morphological, physiological, and ecological diversity. Life did not nearly disappear at the end of the Permian, as has often been claimed. PMID:27698119

  17. Estimates of the magnitudes of major marine mass extinctions in earth history.

    PubMed

    Stanley, Steven M

    2016-10-18

    Procedures introduced here make it possible, first, to show that background (piecemeal) extinction is recorded throughout geologic stages and substages (not all extinction has occurred suddenly at the ends of such intervals); second, to separate out background extinction from mass extinction for a major crisis in earth history; and third, to correct for clustering of extinctions when using the rarefaction method to estimate the percentage of species lost in a mass extinction. Also presented here is a method for estimating the magnitude of the Signor-Lipps effect, which is the incorrect assignment of extinctions that occurred during a crisis to an interval preceding the crisis because of the incompleteness of the fossil record. Estimates for the magnitudes of mass extinctions presented here are in most cases lower than those previously published. They indicate that only ∼81% of marine species died out in the great terminal Permian crisis, whereas levels of 90-96% have frequently been quoted in the literature. Calculations of the latter numbers were incorrectly based on combined data for the Middle and Late Permian mass extinctions. About 90 orders and more than 220 families of marine animals survived the terminal Permian crisis, and they embodied an enormous amount of morphological, physiological, and ecological diversity. Life did not nearly disappear at the end of the Permian, as has often been claimed.

  18. Estimates of the magnitudes of major marine mass extinctions in earth history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Steven M.

    2016-10-01

    Procedures introduced here make it possible, first, to show that background (piecemeal) extinction is recorded throughout geologic stages and substages (not all extinction has occurred suddenly at the ends of such intervals); second, to separate out background extinction from mass extinction for a major crisis in earth history; and third, to correct for clustering of extinctions when using the rarefaction method to estimate the percentage of species lost in a mass extinction. Also presented here is a method for estimating the magnitude of the Signor-Lipps effect, which is the incorrect assignment of extinctions that occurred during a crisis to an interval preceding the crisis because of the incompleteness of the fossil record. Estimates for the magnitudes of mass extinctions presented here are in most cases lower than those previously published. They indicate that only ˜81% of marine species died out in the great terminal Permian crisis, whereas levels of 90-96% have frequently been quoted in the literature. Calculations of the latter numbers were incorrectly based on combined data for the Middle and Late Permian mass extinctions. About 90 orders and more than 220 families of marine animals survived the terminal Permian crisis, and they embodied an enormous amount of morphological, physiological, and ecological diversity. Life did not nearly disappear at the end of the Permian, as has often been claimed.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

    2016-05-26

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time.

    PubMed

    Sahney, Sarda; Benton, Michael J

    2008-04-07

    The end-Permian mass extinction, 251 million years (Myr) ago, was the most devastating ecological event of all time, and it was exacerbated by two earlier events at the beginning and end of the Guadalupian, 270 and 260 Myr ago. Ecosystems were destroyed worldwide, communities were restructured and organisms were left struggling to recover. Disaster taxa, such as Lystrosaurus, insinuated themselves into almost every corner of the sparsely populated landscape in the earliest Triassic, and a quick taxonomic recovery apparently occurred on a global scale. However, close study of ecosystem evolution shows that true ecological recovery was slower. After the end-Guadalupian event, faunas began rebuilding complex trophic structures and refilling guilds, but were hit again by the end-Permian event. Taxonomic diversity at the alpha (community) level did not recover to pre-extinction levels; it reached only a low plateau after each pulse and continued low into the Late Triassic. Our data showed that though there was an initial rise in cosmopolitanism after the extinction pulses, large drops subsequently occurred and, counter-intuitively, a surprisingly low level of cosmopolitanism was sustained through the Early and Middle Triassic.

  7. Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time

    PubMed Central

    Sahney, Sarda; Benton, Michael J

    2008-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction, 251 million years (Myr) ago, was the most devastating ecological event of all time, and it was exacerbated by two earlier events at the beginning and end of the Guadalupian, 270 and 260 Myr ago. Ecosystems were destroyed worldwide, communities were restructured and organisms were left struggling to recover. Disaster taxa, such as Lystrosaurus, insinuated themselves into almost every corner of the sparsely populated landscape in the earliest Triassic, and a quick taxonomic recovery apparently occurred on a global scale. However, close study of ecosystem evolution shows that true ecological recovery was slower. After the end-Guadalupian event, faunas began rebuilding complex trophic structures and refilling guilds, but were hit again by the end-Permian event. Taxonomic diversity at the alpha (community) level did not recover to pre-extinction levels; it reached only a low plateau after each pulse and continued low into the Late Triassic. Our data showed that though there was an initial rise in cosmopolitanism after the extinction pulses, large drops subsequently occurred and, counter-intuitively, a surprisingly low level of cosmopolitanism was sustained through the Early and Middle Triassic. PMID:18198148

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

    PubMed

    Payne, Jonathan L; Finnegan, Seth

    2007-06-19

    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 approximately 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.

  10. 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

  11. Epicontinental seas versus open-ocean settings: the kinetics of mass extinction and origination.

    PubMed

    Miller, Arnold I; Foote, Michael

    2009-11-20

    Environmental perturbations during mass extinctions were likely manifested differently in epicontinental seas than in open-ocean-facing habitats of comparable depth. Here, we present a dissection of origination and extinction in epicontinental seas versus open-ocean-facing coastal regions in the Permian through Cretaceous periods, an interval through which both settings are well represented in the fossil record. Results demonstrate that extinction rates were significantly higher in open-ocean settings than in epicontinental seas during major mass extinctions but not at other times and that origination rates were significantly higher in open-ocean settings for a protracted interval from the Late Jurassic through the Late Cretaceous. These patterns are manifested even when other paleogeographic and environmental variables are held fixed, indicating that epicontinental seas and open-ocean-facing coastlines carry distinct macroevolutionary signatures.

  12. Do the Cotham Member stromatolites of the Late Triassic, SW UK represent extinction "disaster forms"?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ibarra, Y.; Corsetti, F. A.; Greene, S.; Bottjer, D. J.

    2011-12-01

    A widespread and well-preserved horizon (~20cm thick) of alternating stromatolite-dendrolite facies occurs at the top of the Cotham Member of the Lilstock Formation in the Upper Triassic (latest Rhaetian) of the SW UK. The close stratigraphic position to the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) mass extinction interval raises questions about the potential relationship to the mass extinction. Were the Cotham Member stromatolites a result of a decline in taxonomic richness (including decline of bioturbators and grazers) across the Late Triassic extinction episode? Or, were they deposited in a hypersaline lagoon, an environment known to develop microbialites during non-extinction times, and therefore decoupled from the extinction event? Light microscopic observations of thin sections reveal a sparse assemblage of shelly epifauna including molluscs and echinoderm fragments. Carbon and oxygen isotope values of micro-drilled portions of the stromatolites exhibit ∂13C values of -0.1% to -1.7% and ∂18O values of -0.8% to -2.3%. We also observe 2 thin layers (each about 1mm thick) of gypsum pseudomorphs a few centimeters below the first occurrence of stromatolites. On the one hand, the isotopic evidence and the presence of echinoderm fragments (echinoderms/crinoids generally require open marine conditions) would argue against a restricted lagoonal origin for the stromatolites and dendrolites. On the other hand, the presence of evaporite minerals within cm of the stromatolitic units would argue for at least periodic restriction of the depositional environment. Consequently, more work is needed to unequivocally resolve the depositional environment of the Cotham Member stromatolites and their relevance to the T-J mass extinction.

  13. Global fires after asteroid impact probably caused mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balcerak, Ernie

    2013-05-01

    About 66 million years ago, a mountain-sized asteroid hit what is now the Yucatan in Mexico at exactly the time of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction. Evidence for the asteroid impact comes from sediments in the K-Pg boundary layer, but the details of the event, including what precisely caused the mass extinction, are still being debated.

  14. Shallow marine ecosystem feedback to the Permian/Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yongbiao; Meng, Zheng; Liao, Wei; Weng, Zeting; Yang, Hao

    2011-03-01

    Late Permian reefs developed widely on shallow marine carbonate platforms in South China but disappeared far below the main mass extinction level of the latest Permian. The collapse of reef ecosystem may be related to the enhanced volcanism at the end of Late Permian. Notably, some colony corals and reef-building sponges were found to occur near the mass extinction boundary, inferring the eclipse of reef ecosystem is ahead of the disappearance of reef-building organisms, and the triggers would be present long before the main mass extinction. As the primary producers, the calcareous algae are rich in platform limestones of Late Permian and played a very important role in maintaining the shallow benthic ecosystems. The calcareous algae were found to disappear synchronously with the great reduction of foraminifers, which were ecologically associated with these algae. The extinction of Late Permian calcareous algae greatly reduced the biodiversity of primary producers in the shallow marine environment and destroyed in part the structure and the base of the shallow marine ecosystems, which in turn cause the extinction of ecologically associated metazoan. Microbialites developed on carbonate platforms immediately after the end-Permian mass extinction, representing a simple and unique microbial ecosystem. Widespread occurrence of microbialites symbolized the deterioration of marine environmental conditions and the dramatic revolution of marine ecosystems. As the new primary producers instead of the extinguished calcareous algae, cyanobacteria in the microbialites were an important base of this peculiar ecosystem and contributed greatly to the survival of the remnant faunas after the mass extinction. Widespread occurrence of microbialites in shallow marine environment is suggested to be related to the elevated level of volcanism-induced greenhouse gases and enhanced evaporation and hypersaline condition in addition to the decrease of metazoan grazing pressure. The change

  15. The end and the beginning: recoveries from mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Erwin, D H

    1998-09-01

    The evolutionary consequences of mass extinctions depend as much on the processes of survival and recovery following these biotic crises as on the patterns of extinction themselves. Paleontologists are currently documenting biotic recoveries from six major mass extinctions and several smaller biotic crises. Although the immediate responses are remarkably similar after each event, with low-diversity assemblages dominated by widespread, eurytopic species, the recovery response in the long-term is more varied. Lineages that survive the extinction can lack the resilience for recovery, whereas others vanish from the fossil record seemingly to return from the dead after several million years.

  16. Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived?

    PubMed

    Barnosky, Anthony D; Matzke, Nicholas; Tomiya, Susumu; Wogan, Guinevere O U; Swartz, Brian; Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles; McGuire, Jenny L; Lindsey, Emily L; Maguire, Kaitlin C; Mersey, Ben; Ferrer, Elizabeth A

    2011-03-03

    Palaeontologists characterize mass extinctions as times when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short interval, as has happened only five times in the past 540 million years or so. Biologists now suggest that a sixth mass extinction may be under way, given the known species losses over the past few centuries and millennia. Here we review how differences between fossil and modern data and the addition of recently available palaeontological information influence our understanding of the current extinction crisis. Our results confirm that current extinction rates are higher than would be expected from the fossil record, highlighting the need for effective conservation measures.

  17. Mass extinction in poorly known taxa.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-23

    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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Ecological selectivity of the emerging mass extinction in the oceans.

    PubMed

    Payne, Jonathan L; Bush, Andrew M; Heim, Noel A; Knope, Matthew L; McCauley, Douglas J

    2016-09-16

    To better predict the ecological and evolutionary effects of the emerging biodiversity crisis in the modern oceans, we compared the association between extinction threat and ecological traits in modern marine animals to associations observed during past extinction events using a database of 2497 marine vertebrate and mollusc genera. We find that extinction threat in the modern oceans is strongly associated with large body size, whereas past extinction events were either nonselective or preferentially removed smaller-bodied taxa. Pelagic animals were victimized more than benthic animals during previous mass extinctions but are not preferentially threatened in the modern ocean. The differential importance of large-bodied animals to ecosystem function portends greater future ecological disruption than that caused by similar levels of taxonomic loss in past mass extinction events.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Aerobic Marine Habitat Loss During the Late Permian Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penn, J. L.; Deutsch, C.; Payne, J.; Sperling, E. A.

    2016-12-01

    Rapid climate change at the end of the Permian is thought to have triggered the most severe mass extinction in Earth's history, but the precise mechanism of biodiversity loss is unknown. Geological evidence points to lethally hot equatorial temperatures and an expansion of anoxic ocean waters as likely culprits. However, previous climate model simulations of the warm Early Triassic exhibit weak tropical warming, and anoxic conditions require a massive and unconstrained increase in the ocean nutrient reservoir. Reconciling model predictions with the geologic record remains a key challenge to identifying the kill-mechanism, which must also take into account the role of animal physiology. Here we apply a recently developed index for the metabolic scope of marine animals to the first global climate simulations of the Permian-Triassic transition to quantify the effects of ocean warming and oxygen (O2) depletion on aerobic habitat availability. Forcing with extreme CO2 concentrations warms the surface ocean by over 10oC, consistent with paleoproxies for upper ocean temperature change. Warming depletes global O2, with greatest losses occuring in tropical deep waters as a result of their reduced ventilation. Together warming and deoxygenation would have constricted the occurrence of marine habitat by 80% globally, by decreasing the metabolic index of the Permian ocean. These changes are most pronounced in the tropics where the fossil record suggests recovery was severely inhibited. Fossil deposits also record changes in animal body size across the extinction. We find that adaptation via body size reductions can compensate for increasing hypoxia at high latitudes, and even prevent extinction there, but cannot maintain the habitability of the tropics.

  5. Abundance not linked to survival across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: patterns in North American bivalves.

    PubMed

    Lockwood, Rowan

    2003-03-04

    Ecological studies suggest that rare taxa are more likely to go extinct than abundant ones, but the influence of abundance on survivorship in the fossil record has received little attention. An analysis of Late Maastrichtian bivalve subgenera from the North American Coastal Plain found no evidence that survivorship is tied to abundance across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 million years ago), regardless of abundance metric or spatial scale examined. The fact that abundance does not promote survivorship in end-Cretaceous bivalves suggests that the factors influencing survivorship during mass extinctions in the fossil record may differ from those operating during intervals of background extinction.

  6. Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction as trigger for the Mesozoic radiation of crocodylomorphs

    PubMed Central

    Toljagić, Olja; Butler, Richard J.

    2013-01-01

    Pseudosuchia, one of the two main clades of Archosauria (Reptilia: Diapsida), suffered a major decline in lineage diversity during the Triassic–Jurassic (TJ) mass extinction (approx. 201 Ma). Crocodylomorpha, including living crocodilians and their extinct relatives, is the only group of pseudosuchians that survived into the Jurassic. We reassess changes in pseudosuchian morphological diversity (disparity) across this time interval, using considerably larger sample sizes than in previous analyses. Our results show that metrics of pseudosuchian disparity did not change significantly across the TJ boundary, contrasting with previous work suggesting low pseudosuchian disparity in the Early Jurassic following the TJ mass extinction. However, a significant shift in morphospace occupation between Late Triassic and Early Jurassic taxa is recognized, suggesting that the TJ extinction of many pseudosuchian lineages was followed by a major and geologically rapid adaptive radiation of crocodylomorphs. This marks the onset of the spectacularly successful evolutionary history of crocodylomorphs in Jurassic and Cretaceous ecosystems. PMID:23536443

  7. Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction as trigger for the Mesozoic radiation of crocodylomorphs.

    PubMed

    Toljagic, Olja; Butler, Richard J

    2013-06-23

    Pseudosuchia, one of the two main clades of Archosauria (Reptilia: Diapsida), suffered a major decline in lineage diversity during the Triassic-Jurassic (TJ) mass extinction (approx. 201 Ma). Crocodylomorpha, including living crocodilians and their extinct relatives, is the only group of pseudosuchians that survived into the Jurassic. We reassess changes in pseudosuchian morphological diversity (disparity) across this time interval, using considerably larger sample sizes than in previous analyses. Our results show that metrics of pseudosuchian disparity did not change significantly across the TJ boundary, contrasting with previous work suggesting low pseudosuchian disparity in the Early Jurassic following the TJ mass extinction. However, a significant shift in morphospace occupation between Late Triassic and Early Jurassic taxa is recognized, suggesting that the TJ extinction of many pseudosuchian lineages was followed by a major and geologically rapid adaptive radiation of crocodylomorphs. This marks the onset of the spectacularly successful evolutionary history of crocodylomorphs in Jurassic and Cretaceous ecosystems.

  8. Volcanism, impact and mass extinctions: incredible or credible coincidences?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, Rosalind V.; Saunders, Andrew D.

    2005-02-01

    Massive continental volcanism and/or bolide impacts are considered by many authors to have caused three major mass extinction events during the last 300 million years: the end-Permian, end-Cretaceous and end-Triassic extinctions. However, re-evaluation of the frequency of bolide impacts and plume-related flood basalt provinces indicates that both types of event occur much more frequently than mass extinctions, and so, in isolation, may not be responsible for the largest extinctions. Furthermore, the kill mechanisms associated with either flood basalts or impacts do not appear to be sufficiently powerful to cause worldwide collapse of ecosystems leading to the largest mass extinctions. Contemporaneous flood basalts and bolide impact may be prerequisites for the largest mass extinctions. We present a statistical analysis of the probability of coincidence between volcanism and impact, and show that three random coincidences of these events in the last 300 m.y. are likely. No causal relationship between impact and volcanism is necessary. The lesser mass extinctions, on the other hand, may not require juxtaposition of two such catastrophic events; such coincidences occurring on more than three occasions during the last 300 m.y. become increasingly unlikely.

  9. Cretaceous stem chondrichthyans survived the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cavin, Lionel; Cappetta, Henri

    2013-01-01

    Cladodontomorph sharks are Palaeozoic stem chondrichthyans thought to go extinct at the end-Permian mass extinction. This extinction preceded the diversification of euselachians, including modern sharks. Here we describe an outer-platform cladodontomorph shark tooth assemblage from the Early Cretaceous of southern France, increasing the fossil record of this group by circa 120 million years. Identification of this material rests on new histological observations and morphological evidence. Our finding shows that this lineage survived mass extinctions most likely by habitat contraction, using deep-sea refuge environments during catastrophic events. The recorded gap in the cladodontomorph lineage represents the longest gap in the fossil record for an extinct marine vertebrate group. This discovery demonstrates that the deep-sea marine diversity, poorly known during most of the fish evolutionary history, contains essential data for a complete understanding of the long-term evolution of marine fish paleobiodiversity.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Is Global Anoxia an Alternative Cause for the Hirnantian Mass Extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Weirdt, Julie; Vandenbroucke, Thijs; Emsbo, Poul; McLaughlin, Patrick; Delabroye, Aurélien; Munnecke, Axel; Desrochers, André

    2017-04-01

    Cooling and glacial episodes have long been considered the main driver of Late Ordovician-Silurian (mass) extinction events that coincide with δ13Ccarb excursions. However, emerging evidence for protracted cooling during most of the Ordovician and the misalignment between major regressions and faunal turnovers in the Upper Ordovician, suggests a more complex relation between glaciations and extinctions. Emsbo et al. (2010, GSA Abstracts with Programs) demonstrated dramatic enrichments in redox sensitive metals during the early Wenlock Ireviken extinction event and suggested ocean anoxia as an alternative kill-mechanism. Vandenbroucke et al. (2015, Nature Communications), built on this idea and recorded a similar increase of redox-sensitive metals at the onset of the mid-Pridoli extinction event, coinciding with peak abundances of malformed (teratological) fossil microplankton (acritarchs and chitinozoans). By analogy with metal-induced malformations in modern marine microplankton, teratology might serve as an independent proxy for monitoring changes in the metal concentration of the Palaeozoic ocean. These data from the Ireviken and Pridoli events are the foundation for the hypothesis that many, if not all, of these Late Ordovician-Silurian extinctions are caused by large-scale 'oceanic anoxic events'. Here, we are testing this hypothesis for the most devastating extinction event in this series, the Hirnantian mass extinction. Bulk rock samples spanning the Hirnantian strata of Anticosti Island were geochemically analysed. Our choice of sections is guided by the presence of teratological acritarchs (Delabroye et al., 2012, Rev. Pal. Pal.) that overlap the base of the extinction horizon. Revealing similar results as in our the previous studies, the new XRF data show distinct peaks in redox sensitive metals, supporting ocean anoxia and metal pollution as an important factor in the Hirnantian extinction, if not its fundamental cause.

  14. Primate extinction risk and historical patterns of speciation and extinction in relation to body mass.

    PubMed

    Matthews, Luke J; Arnold, Christian; Machanda, Zarin; Nunn, Charles L

    2011-04-22

    Body mass is thought to influence diversification rates, but previous studies have produced ambiguous results. We investigated patterns of diversification across 100 trees obtained from a new Bayesian inference of primate phylogeny that sampled trees in proportion to their posterior probabilities. First, we used simulations to assess the validity of previous studies that used linear models to investigate the links between IUCN Red List status and body mass. These analyses support the use of linear models for ordinal ranked data on threat status, and phylogenetic generalized linear models revealed a significant positive correlation between current extinction risk and body mass across our tree block. We then investigated historical patterns of speciation and extinction rates using a recently developed maximum-likelihood method. Specifically, we predicted that body mass correlates positively with extinction rate because larger bodied organisms reproduce more slowly, and body mass correlates negatively with speciation rate because smaller bodied organisms are better able to partition niche space. We failed to find evidence that extinction rates covary with body mass across primate phylogeny. Similarly, the speciation rate was generally unrelated to body mass, except in some tests that indicated an increase in the speciation rate with increasing body mass. Importantly, we discovered that our data violated a key assumption of sample randomness with respect to body mass. After correcting for this bias, we found no association between diversification rates and mass.

  15. 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.

  16. Mass extinctions among tetrapods and the quality of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Benton, M J

    1989-11-06

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation, in terrestrial sediments in particular, 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, and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses. The relative incompleteness of a fossil record may be assessed readily, and this can be used to test whether drops in overall diversity are related to mass extinctions or to gaps in our knowledge. Absolute incompleteness cannot be assessed directly, but a historical approach may offer clues to future improvements in our knowledge. One of the key problems facing palaeobiologists is paraphyly, the fact that many higher taxa in common use do not contain all of the descendants of the common ancestor. This may be overcome by cladistic analysis and the identification of monophyletic groups. The diversity of tetrapods increased from the Devonian to the Permian, remained roughly constant during the Mesozoic, and 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, crocodilians, birds and mammals--was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event. Major mass extinctions among tetrapods took place in the early Permian, late Permian, early Triassic, late Triassic, late Cretaceous, early Oligocene and late Miocene. Many of these events appear to coincide with the major mass extinctions among marine invertebrates, but the tetrapod record is largely equivocal with regard to the theory of periodicity of mass extinctions.

  17. 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.

  18. Assessing the causes of late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents.

    PubMed

    Barnosky, Anthony D; Koch, Paul L; Feranec, Robert S; Wing, Scott L; Shabel, Alan B

    2004-10-01

    One of the great debates about extinction is whether humans or climatic change caused the demise of the Pleistocene megafauna. Evidence from paleontology, climatology, archaeology, and ecology now supports the idea that humans contributed to extinction on some continents, but human hunting was not solely responsible for the pattern of extinction everywhere. Instead, evidence suggests that the intersection of human impacts with pronounced climatic change drove the precise timing and geography of extinction in the Northern Hemisphere. The story from the Southern Hemisphere is still unfolding. New evidence from Australia supports the view that humans helped cause extinctions there, but the correlation with climate is weak or contested. Firmer chronologies, more realistic ecological models, and regional paleoecological insights still are needed to understand details of the worldwide extinction pattern and the population dynamics of the species involved.

  19. Mass extinctions and the sun's encounters with spiral arms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leitch, Erik M.; Vasisht, Gautam

    1998-02-01

    The terrestrial fossil record shows that the exponential rise in biodiversity since the Precambrian period has been punctuated by large extinctions, at intervals of 40 to 140 Myr. These mass extinctions represent extremes over a background of smaller events and the natural process of species extinction. We point out that the non-terrestrial phenomena proposed to explain these events, such as boloidal impacts (a candidate for the end-Cretaceous extinction) and nearby supernovae, are collectively far more effective during the solar system's traversal of spiral arms. Using the best available data on the location and kinematics of the Galactic spiral structure (including distance scale and kinematic uncertainties), we present evidence that arm crossings provide a viable explanation for the timing of the large extinctions.

  20. Microbes and mass extinctions: paleoenvironmental distribution of microbialites during times of biotic crisis.

    PubMed

    Mata, S A; Bottjer, D J

    2012-01-01

    Widespread development of microbialites characterizes the substrate and ecological response during the aftermath of two of the 'big five' mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic. This study reviews the microbial response recorded by macroscopic microbial structures to these events to examine how extinction mechanism may be linked to the style of microbialite development. Two main styles of response are recognized: (i) the expansion of microbialites into environments not previously occupied during the pre-extinction interval and (ii) increases in microbialite abundance and attainment of ecological dominance within environments occupied prior to the extinction. The Late Devonian biotic crisis contributed toward the decimation of platform margin reef taxa and was followed by increases in microbialite abundance in Famennian and earliest Carboniferous platform interior, margin, and slope settings. The end-Permian event records the suppression of infaunal activity and an elimination of metazoan-dominated reefs. The aftermath of this mass extinction is characterized by the expansion of microbialites into new environments including offshore and nearshore ramp, platform interior, and slope settings. The mass extinctions at the end of the Triassic and Cretaceous have not yet been associated with a macroscopic microbial response, although one has been suggested for the end-Ordovician event. The case for microbialites behaving as 'disaster forms' in the aftermath of mass extinctions accurately describes the response following the Late Devonian and end-Permian events, and this may be because each is marked by the reduction of reef communities in addition to a suppression of bioturbation related to the development of shallow-water anoxia.

  1. 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.

  2. End-Triassic mass extinction started by intrusive CAMP activity

    PubMed Central

    Davies, J.H.F.L.; Marzoli, A.; Bertrand, H.; Youbi, N.; Ernesto, M.; Schaltegger, U.

    2017-01-01

    The end-Triassic extinction is one of the Phanerozoic's largest mass extinctions. This extinction is typically attributed to climate change associated with degassing of basalt flows from the central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). However, recent work suggests that the earliest known CAMP basalts occur above the extinction horizon and that climatic and biotic changes began before the earliest known CAMP eruptions. Here we present new high-precision U-Pb ages from CAMP mafic intrusive units, showing that magmatic activity was occurring ∼100 Kyr ago before the earliest known eruptions. We correlate the early magmatic activity with the onset of changes to the climatic and biotic records. We also report ages from sills in an organic rich sedimentary basin in Brazil that intrude synchronously with the extinction suggesting that degassing of these organics contributed to the climate change which drove the extinction. Our results indicate that the intrusive record from large igneous provinces may be more important for linking to mass extinctions than the eruptive record. PMID:28561025

  3. End-Triassic mass extinction started by intrusive CAMP activity.

    PubMed

    Davies, J H F L; Marzoli, A; Bertrand, H; Youbi, N; Ernesto, M; Schaltegger, U

    2017-05-31

    The end-Triassic extinction is one of the Phanerozoic's largest mass extinctions. This extinction is typically attributed to climate change associated with degassing of basalt flows from the central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). However, recent work suggests that the earliest known CAMP basalts occur above the extinction horizon and that climatic and biotic changes began before the earliest known CAMP eruptions. Here we present new high-precision U-Pb ages from CAMP mafic intrusive units, showing that magmatic activity was occurring ∼100 Kyr ago before the earliest known eruptions. We correlate the early magmatic activity with the onset of changes to the climatic and biotic records. We also report ages from sills in an organic rich sedimentary basin in Brazil that intrude synchronously with the extinction suggesting that degassing of these organics contributed to the climate change which drove the extinction. Our results indicate that the intrusive record from large igneous provinces may be more important for linking to mass extinctions than the eruptive record.

  4. End-Triassic mass extinction started by intrusive CAMP activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, J. H. F. L.; Marzoli, A.; Bertrand, H.; Youbi, N.; Ernesto, M.; Schaltegger, U.

    2017-05-01

    The end-Triassic extinction is one of the Phanerozoic's largest mass extinctions. This extinction is typically attributed to climate change associated with degassing of basalt flows from the central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). However, recent work suggests that the earliest known CAMP basalts occur above the extinction horizon and that climatic and biotic changes began before the earliest known CAMP eruptions. Here we present new high-precision U-Pb ages from CAMP mafic intrusive units, showing that magmatic activity was occurring ~100 Kyr ago before the earliest known eruptions. We correlate the early magmatic activity with the onset of changes to the climatic and biotic records. We also report ages from sills in an organic rich sedimentary basin in Brazil that intrude synchronously with the extinction suggesting that degassing of these organics contributed to the climate change which drove the extinction. Our results indicate that the intrusive record from large igneous provinces may be more important for linking to mass extinctions than the eruptive record.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Roopnarine, Peter D; Angielczyk, Kenneth D

    2015-10-02

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Flourishing Sponge-Based Ecosystems after the End-Ordovician Mass Extinction.

    PubMed

    Botting, Joseph P; Muir, Lucy A; Zhang, Yuandong; Ma, Xuan; Ma, Junye; Wang, Longwu; Zhang, Jianfang; Song, Yanyan; Fang, Xiang

    2017-02-20

    The Late Ordovician (Hirnantian, approximately 445 million years ago) extinction event was among the largest known, with 85% species loss [1]. Post-extinction survival faunas are invariably low diversity, especially benthic communities [2], but ecological structure was restored relatively rapidly [1]. This pattern, however, reflects organisms with robust skeletons, as only one exceptionally preserved Hirnantian fossil biota was previously known [3, 4]; in particular, almost no Hirnantian sponges have been recorded. Our study reveals an extraordinarily diverse, sponge-dominated community thriving immediately after the Hirnantian extinction in Zhejiang, South China. Several contemporaneous sites preserve a total diversity of over 75 sponge species, many with preserved soft tissues, in pronounced contrast to normal survival and early recovery faunas. This diversity is unprecedented for any Hirnantian fossil group, and the fauna provides a unique window into a post-extinction ecosystem. The sponges are often large and structurally complex and represent numerous different lineages that survived the extinction. Layers with abundant sponge remains were deposited after other mass extinctions [5, 6], suggesting a general pattern of sponge abundance during collapse of Phanerozoic marine ecosystems. It is possible that the conditions of ecological collapse increase the particulate food sources for sponges, while they themselves are relatively unaffected by the crises. Furthermore, the abundance of sponges in the Hirnantian sequence of South China may have aided post-extinction ecosystem recovery by stabilizing the sediment surface, allowing sessile suspension feeders such as brachiopods, corals, and bryozoans to recover rapidly.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Mass extinction efficiency and extinction hygroscopicity of ambient PM2.5 in urban China.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Zhen; Ma, Xin; He, Yujie; Jiang, Jingkun; Wang, Xiaoliang; Wang, Yungang; Sheng, Li; Hu, Jiangkai; Yan, Naiqiang

    2017-07-01

    The ambient PM2.5 pollution problem in China has drawn substantial international attentions. The mass extinction efficiency (MEE) and hygroscopicity factor (f(RH)) of PM2.5 can be readily applied to study the impacts on atmospheric visibility and climate. The few previous investigations in China only reported results from pilot studies and are lack of spatial representativeness. In this study, hourly average ambient PM2.5 mass concentration, relative humidity, and atmospheric visibility data from China national air quality and meteorological monitoring networks were retrieved and analyzed. It includes 24 major Chinese cities from nine city-clusters with the period of October 2013 to September 2014. Annual average extinction coefficient in urban China was 759.3±258.3Mm(-1), mainly caused by dry PM2.5 (305.8.2±131.0Mm(-1)) and its hygroscopicity (414.6±188.1Mm(-1)). High extinction coefficient values were resulted from both high ambient PM2.5 concentration (68.5±21.7µg/m(3)) and high relative humidity (69.7±8.6%). The PM2.5 mass extinction efficiency varied from 2.87 to 6.64m(2)/g with an average of 4.40±0.84m(2)/g. The average extinction hygroscopic factor f(RH=80%) was 2.63±0.45. The levels of PM2.5 mass extinction efficiency and hygroscopic factor in China were in comparable range with those found in developed countries in spite of the significant diversities among all 24 cities. Our findings help to establish quantitative relationship between ambient extinction coefficient (visual range) and PM2.5 & relative humidity. It will reduce the uncertainty of extinction coefficient estimation of ambient PM2.5 in urban China which is essential for the research of haze pollution and climate radiative forcing. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. 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

    2016-01-29

    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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-11

    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 (delta(13)C) composition of carbonate minerals. Several extinction scenarios consistent with these observations have been put forward. Secular variation in the calcium isotope (delta(44/40)Ca) composition of marine sediments provides a tool for distinguishing among these possibilities and thereby constraining the causes of mass extinction. Here we report delta(44/40)Ca across the Permian-Triassic boundary from marine limestone in south China. The delta(44/40)Ca exhibits a transient negative excursion of approximately 0.3 per thousand over a few hundred thousand years or less, which we interpret to reflect a change in the global delta(44/40)Ca composition of seawater. CO(2)-driven ocean acidification best explains the coincidence of the delta(44/40)Ca excursion with negative excursions in the delta(13)C 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 delta(13)C of CO(2) released was heavier than -28 per thousand and more likely near -15 per thousand; 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.

  17. 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

  18. Methane-driven oceanic eruptions and mass extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryskin, Gregory

    2003-09-01

    Focusing on the Permian-Triassic boundary, ca. 251 Ma, I explore the possibility that mass extinction can be caused by an extremely fast, explosive release of dissolved methane (and other dissolved gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide) that accumulated in the oceanic water masses prone to stagnation and anoxia (e.g., in silled basins). The mechanism of the explosive release is the same as in the Lake Nyos disaster of 1986, i.e., a water-column eruption caused by the interplay of buoyancy forces and exsolution of dissolved gas. The eruption brings to the surface deep anoxic waters that cause extinctions in the marine realm. Terrestrial extinctions are caused by explosions and conflagrations that follow the massive release of methane (the air-methane mixture is explosive at methane concentrations between 5% and 15%) and by the eruption-triggered floods. This scenario accounts well for the available data, and may be relevant to other phenomena.

  19. Triassic-Jurassic Mass Extinction: Evidence for Bolide Impact?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perry, R.; Becker, L.; Haggart, J.; Poreda, R.

    2003-04-01

    The Triassic-Jurassic (TJ) mass extinction event is one of the most severe in geologic history and is one of the five largest in the Phanerozoic with as many as 80% of the species lost. It is also one of the most poorly understood. Only a few geologic sections have been identified for the TJ extinction and most of those are not well preserved. Previously, the paucity of suitable stratigraphic sections has prevented corroborative geochemical studies. Recently a well-preserved stratigraphic section spanning the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (˜200 mya) was identified at Kennecott Point, Queen Charlotte, Islands, British Columbia. Initial studies have shown that the Kennecott Point sequence is one of the best preserved and contains one of the most complete radiolarian microfossil turnovers known. Analyses of stable isotopes have shown that a 13C perturbation exits within the sequence and suggests a decline in organic productivity (Ward et al., 2001). Preliminary results of laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) of selected Queen Charlotte samples suggest that fullerenes (C60 to C200) may be present in the Kennecott Point stratigraphic sequence. Previous studies have shown that fullerenes are present in the mass extinction boundary of the Permian-Triassic (˜251 mya) as well as the well-known "dinosaur" extinction event of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (˜65 mya). Therefore, three of the big five extinction events appear to have associated fullerenes. The possible presence of fullerenes along with the productivity collapse (rapid environmental change) suggests that a cometary or asteroidal impact may have occurred. Although no known impact crater exists, we hope to present chemical evidence that an impact or multiple impacts may have been responsible for the TJ mass extinction.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. U/Pb zircon geochronology and tempo of the end-permian mass extinction

    PubMed

    Bowring; Erwin; Jin M W Martin YG; Davidek; Wang

    1998-05-15

    The mass extinction at the end of the Permian was the most profound in the history of life. Fundamental to understanding its cause is determining the tempo and duration of the extinction. Uranium/lead zircon data from Late Permian and Early Triassic rocks from south China place the Permian-Triassic boundary at 251.4 +/- 0.3 million years ago. Biostratigraphic controls from strata intercalated with ash beds below the boundary indicate that the Changhsingian pulse of the end-Permian extinction, corresponding to the disappearance of about 85 percent of marine species, lasted less than 1 million years. At Meishan, a negative excursion in delta13C at the boundary had a duration of 165,000 years or less, suggesting a catastrophic addition of light carbon.

  5. Graptoloid diversity and disparity became decoupled during the Ordovician mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Bapst, David W.; Bullock, Peter C.; Melchin, Michael J.; Sheets, H. David; Mitchell, Charles E.

    2012-01-01

    The morphological study of extinct taxa allows for analysis of a diverse set of macroevolutionary hypotheses, including testing for change in the magnitude of morphological divergence, extinction selectivity on form, and the ecological context of radiations. Late Ordovician graptoloids experienced a phylogenetic bottleneck at the Hirnantian mass extinction (∼445 Ma), when a major clade of graptoloids was driven to extinction while another clade simultaneously radiated. In this study, we developed a dataset of 49 ecologically relevant characters for 183 species with which we tested two main hypotheses: (i) could the biased survival of one graptoloid clade over another have resulted from morphological selectivity alone and (ii) are the temporal patterns of morphological disparity and innovation during the recovery consistent with an interpretation as an adaptive radiation resulting from ecological release? We find that a general model of morphological selectivity has a low probability of producing the observed pattern of taxonomic selectivity. Contrary to predictions from theory on adaptive radiations and ecological speciation, changes in disparity and species richness are uncoupled. We also find that the early recovery is unexpectedly characterized by relatively low morphological disparity and innovation, despite also being an interval of elevated speciation. Because it is necessary to invoke factors other than ecology to explain the graptoloid recovery, more complex models may be needed to explain recovery dynamics after mass extinctions. PMID:22331867

  6. Graptoloid diversity and disparity became decoupled during the Ordovician mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Bapst, David W; Bullock, Peter C; Melchin, Michael J; Sheets, H David; Mitchell, Charles E

    2012-02-28

    The morphological study of extinct taxa allows for analysis of a diverse set of macroevolutionary hypotheses, including testing for change in the magnitude of morphological divergence, extinction selectivity on form, and the ecological context of radiations. Late Ordovician graptoloids experienced a phylogenetic bottleneck at the Hirnantian mass extinction (∼445 Ma), when a major clade of graptoloids was driven to extinction while another clade simultaneously radiated. In this study, we developed a dataset of 49 ecologically relevant characters for 183 species with which we tested two main hypotheses: (i) could the biased survival of one graptoloid clade over another have resulted from morphological selectivity alone and (ii) are the temporal patterns of morphological disparity and innovation during the recovery consistent with an interpretation as an adaptive radiation resulting from ecological release? We find that a general model of morphological selectivity has a low probability of producing the observed pattern of taxonomic selectivity. Contrary to predictions from theory on adaptive radiations and ecological speciation, changes in disparity and species richness are uncoupled. We also find that the early recovery is unexpectedly characterized by relatively low morphological disparity and innovation, despite also being an interval of elevated speciation. Because it is necessary to invoke factors other than ecology to explain the graptoloid recovery, more complex models may be needed to explain recovery dynamics after mass extinctions.

  7. 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

  8. End-Cretaceous mass extinction event - Argument for terrestrial causation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallam, Anthony

    1987-11-01

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinctions were not a geologically instantaneous event and were selective in character. These features are incompatible with the original Alvarez hypothesis of their being caused by a single asteroid impact that produced a world-embracing dust cloud with devastating environmental consequences. By analysis of physical and chemical evidence from the stratigraphic record it is shown that a modified extraterrestrial model in which stepwise extinctions resulted from encounter with a comet shower is less plausible than one intrinsic to the earth, involving significant disturbance in the mantle.

  9. End-cretaceous mass extinction event: argument for terrestrial causation.

    PubMed

    Hallam, A

    1987-11-27

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinctions were not a geologically instantaneous event and were selective in character. These features are incompatible with the original Alvarez hypothesis of their being caused by a single asteroid impact that produced a world-embracing dust cloud with devastating environmental consequences. By analysis of physical and chemical evidence from the stratigraphic record it is shown that a modified extraterrestrial model in which stepwise extinctions resulted from encounter with a comet shower is less plausible than one intrinsic to the earth, involving significant disturbance in the mantle.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

    2016-06-17

    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.

  13. Ocean acidification and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2015-04-01

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. Mass extinctions and ocean acidification: biological constraints on geological dilemmas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veron, J. E. N.

    2008-09-01

    The five mass extinction events that the earth has so far experienced have impacted coral reefs as much or more than any other major ecosystem. Each has left the Earth without living reefs for at least four million years, intervals so great that they are commonly referred to as ‘reef gaps’ (geological intervals where there are no remnants of what might have been living reefs). The causes attributed to each mass extinction are reviewed and summarised. When these causes and the reef gaps that follow them are examined in the light of the biology of extant corals and their Pleistocene history, most can be discarded. Causes are divided into (1) those which are independent of the carbon cycle: direct physical destruction from bolides, ‘nuclear winters’ induced by dust clouds, sea-level changes, loss of area during sea-level regressions, loss of biodiversity, low and high temperatures, salinity, diseases and toxins and extraterrestrial events and (2) those linked to the carbon cycle: acid rain, hydrogen sulphide, oxygen and anoxia, methane, carbon dioxide, changes in ocean chemistry and pH. By process of elimination, primary causes of mass extinctions are linked in various ways to the carbon cycle in general and ocean chemistry in particular with clear association with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The prospect of ocean acidification is potentially the most serious of all predicted outcomes of anthropogenic carbon dioxide increase. This study concludes that acidification has the potential to trigger a sixth mass extinction event and to do so independently of anthropogenic extinctions that are currently taking place.

  16. A Galactic Plane relative extinction map from 2MASS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Froebrich, D.; Ray, T. P.; Murphy, G. C.; Scholz, A.

    2005-03-01

    We present three 14 400 square degree relative extinction maps of the Galactic Plane (|b| < 20°) obtained from 2MASS using accumulative star counts (Wolf diagrams). This method is independent of the colour of the stars and the variation of extinction with wavelength. Stars were counted in 3.5 × 3.5 boxes, every 20.1° × 1° surrounding fields were chosen for reference, hence the maps represent local extinction enhancements and ignore any contribution from the ISM or very large clouds. Data reduction was performed on a Beowulf-type cluster (in approximately 120 hours). Such a cluster is ideal for this type of work as areas of the sky can be independently processed in parallel. We studied how extinction depends on wavelength in all of the high extinction regions detected and within selected dark clouds. On average a power law opacity index (β) of 1.0 to 1.8 in the NIR was deduced. The index however differed significantly from region to region and even within individual dark clouds. That said, generally it was found to be constant, or to increase, with wavelength within a particular region.

  17. Geochemical Consequences of Mass Extinction: The K/Pg Compensation Depth Excursion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norris, R. D.; Hull, P. M.

    2012-12-01

    The Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction triggered a major depression of the lysocline in the global ocean. A global compilation of carbonate preservation indices—% carbonate and foraminifer preservation— shows that carbonate sediments are found in deeper waters and with better foraminifer preservation in the ~300-400 kyr following the K/Pg mass extinction than in the late Cretaceous or during the rest of the early Danian. Indeed, foraminifer preservation commonly is very good to glassy in the earliest Danian, with translucent foraminifer shells even in very deep water deposits. For example, DSDP Site 356 in the South Atlantic has glassy preservation at 2.2 km paleodeth only during this time interval. Other very deep water sites, such as DSDP 398D offshore Portugal and IODP U1370 in the central South Pacific, are close to, or below, the carbonate compensation depth, but experience a brief taphonomic window of foraminifer preservation in the earliest Danian. We consider the three potential causes for this post-extinction transient depression of the lysocline: 1) increased carbonate ion availability due to >50% loss of calcareous nannofossil production (the major producers of late Cretaceous deep sea carbonate) and coastal reefs, 2) increased silica weathering associated with major disruption to terrestrial ecosystems at the K-Pg boundary, and 3) decreased organic matter flux to the deep sea following the extinction. An increase in planktic foraminifer production coincident with the lowest fluxes of calcareous nannoplankton and excellent preservation of calcareous microfossils suggests that the first mechanism is at least partly responsible for the preservation spike. The earliest Danian preservation spike of foraminifera, therefore in part reflects the transient alteration of plankton communities in the aftermath of the extinction—a phenomenon that ended with the reappearance of more biologically diverse pelagic communities several hundred thousand years after

  18. 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.

  19. Mass Extinctions of Pangea (Jean Baptiste Lamarck Medal Lecture)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wignall, Paul B.

    2017-04-01

    The 80 million years of Earth history from middle of the Permian to the early Jurassic were some of the worst life ever experienced. The interval includes two mass extinctions that bracket the Triassic period and several lesser crises. It was to be nearly another 120 million years before another major crisis was to strike (this time it was the famous one that removed the dinosaurs). So what was so bad about the 80 million years and why was it so good afterwards? My talk will try to provide at least some of the answers. There are plenty of clues. Notably, the interval coincides with the presence of the Pangea supercontinent and all the extinctions coincided with the eruption of large igneous provinces (LIPs). Indeed, every LIP of this interval coincides with an extinction crisis, a perfect correlation that completely breaks down afterwards. However, getting from correlation to causation is far from straight forward. There are many unknowns - how much gas was released by the volcanism, how quickly and what type of gases were they? These are all questions under investigation. Most of the extinctions of Pangean time coincide with rapid global warming and extensive marine anoxia suggesting that greenhouse gas emissions linked to volcanism were an important extinction driver. For the most severe crises (Permo-Triassic and end-Triassic) losses occurred throughout the food chain all the way down to the primary producers of the oceans and across all habitats including terrestrial ecosystems. At the other end of the spectrum of disaster, the lesser extinctions (Toarcian, Smithian/Spathian) only affected marine invertebrates. The full panoply of catastrophe was played out during the Permo-Triassic mass extinction and has received the most attention. The record in South China shows that there were two phases of extinction. These straddle the boundary and show selective losses initially for shallow-water organisms that were susceptible to high temperatures and then for deeper

  20. Sedimentation and diagenesis at a Late Cambrian biomere extinction horizon

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, K.A.; Miller, J.F.; Taylor, J.F.

    1985-01-01

    The base of the Eurekia apopsis Subzone of the Saukia Zone, slightly below the present Cambrian-Ordovician boundary, has been interpreted as a biomere extinction crisis for trilobites and conodonts. This boundary can be recognized to within two centimeters in platform carbonates in Utah, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma. Regional stratigraphy in West Utah reveals that this extinction horizon occurs within a shoaling upward sequence in which sedimentation was predominantly episodic. Shallow subtidal sedimentation, producing bioturbated mixed-skeletal wackestones and graded intraclastic grainsupportstones (tempestites), shifted to peritidal sedimentation through the boundary interval and for the duration of the E. apopsis Subzone. Associated lithofacies include sponge-dominated thrombolite mounds with tidal channels, sublittoral stromatolite reefs, and a restricted marine lagoon. The base of the E. apopsis Subzone in West Utah is a sharp contact but is interpreted as neither a disconformity nor a surface of subaerial exposure. In Texas, this boundary is a planar disconformity between biosparites. The bed underlying this surface displays features that reflect wholesale aragonite dissolution followed by two stages of inferred meteroic phreatic cementation. The surface is well washed and provided a clean substrate for epitaxial cementation across the boundary. The overlying basal strata of the E. apopsis Subzone are cemented with marine phreatic non-ferroan calcite and contain faunas that are strikingly dissimilar to those below.

  1. Sporormiella and the late Holocene extinctions in Madagascar

    PubMed Central

    Burney, David A.; Robinson, Guy S.; Burney, Lida Pigott

    2003-01-01

    Fossil spores of the dung fungus Sporormiella spp. in sediment cores from throughout Madagascar provide new information concerning megafaunal extinction and the introduction of livestock. Sporormiella percentages are very high in prehuman southwest Madagascar, but at the site with best stratigraphic resolution the spore declines sharply by ≈1,720 yr B.P. (radiocarbon years ago). Within a few centuries there is a concomitant rise in microscopic charcoal that probably represents human transformation of the local environment. Reduced megaherbivore biomass in wooded savannas may have resulted in increased plant biomass and more severe fires. Some now-extinct taxa persisted locally for a millennium or more after the inferred megafaunal decline. Sites in closed humid forests of northwest Madagascar and a montane ericoid formation of the central highlands show only low to moderate Sporormiella percentages before humans. A subsequent rise in spore concentrations, thought to be evidence for livestock proliferation, occurs earliest at Amparihibe in the northwest at ≈1,130 yr B.P. PMID:12960385

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-11

    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.

  6. 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

  7. Astronomical age constraints and extinction mechanisms of the Late Triassic Carnian crisis.

    PubMed

    Miller, Charlotte S; Peterse, Francien; da Silva, Anne-Christine; Baranyi, Viktória; Reichart, Gert J; Kürschner, Wolfram M

    2017-05-31

    The geological record contains evidence for numerous pronounced perturbations in the global carbon cycle, some of which are associated with mass extinction. In the Carnian (Late Triassic), evidence from sedimentology and fossil pollen points to a significant change in climate, resulting in biotic turnover, during a time termed the 'Carnian Pluvial Episode' (CPE). Evidence from the marine realm suggests a causal relationship between the CPE, a global 'wet' period, and the injection of light carbon into the atmosphere. Here we provide the first evidence from a terrestrial stratigraphic succession of at least five significant negative C-isotope excursions (CIE)'s through the CPE recorded in both bulk organic carbon and compound specific plant leaf waxes. Furthermore, construction of a floating astronomical timescale for 1.09 Ma of the Late Triassic, based on the recognition of 405 ka eccentricity cycles in elemental abundance and gamma ray (GR) data, allows for the estimation of a duration for the isotope excursion(s). Source mixing calculations reveal that the observed substantial shift(s) in δ(13)C was most likely caused by a combination of volcanic emissions, subsequent warming and the dissociation of methane clathrates.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. The late Quaternary decline and extinction of palms on oceanic Pacific islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prebble, M.; Dowe, J. L.

    2008-12-01

    Late Quaternary palaeoecological records of palm decline, extirpation and extinction are explored from the oceanic islands of the Pacific Ocean. Despite the severe reduction of faunal diversity coincidental with human colonisation of these previously uninhabited oceanic islands, relatively few plant extinctions have been recorded. At low taxonomic levels, recent faunal extinctions on oceanic islands are concentrated in larger bodied representatives of certain genera and families. Fossil and historic records of plant extinction show a similar trend with high representation of the palm family, Arecaceae. Late Holocene decline of palm pollen types is demonstrated from most islands where there are palaeoecological records including the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, the Hawaiian Islands, the Juan Fernandez Islands and Rapanui. A strong correspondence between human impact and palm decline is measured from palynological proxies including increased concentrations of charcoal particles and pollen from cultivated plants and invasive weeds. Late Holocene extinctions or extirpations are recorded across all five of the Arecaceae subfamilies of the oceanic Pacific islands. These are most common for the genus Pritchardia but also many sedis fossil palm types were recorded representing groups lacking diagnostic morphological characters.

  14. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change.

    PubMed

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-07-22

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132,000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial-interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary.

  15. Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change

    PubMed Central

    Sandom, Christopher; Faurby, Søren; Sandel, Brody; Svenning, Jens-Christian

    2014-01-01

    The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132 000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial–interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary. PMID:24898370

  16. 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

  17. Megafaunal isotopes reveal role of increased moisture on rangeland during late Pleistocene extinctions.

    PubMed

    Rabanus-Wallace, M Timothy; Wooller, Matthew J; Zazula, Grant D; Shute, Elen; Jahren, A Hope; Kosintsev, Pavel; Burns, James A; Breen, James; Llamas, Bastien; Cooper, Alan

    2017-04-18

    The role of environmental change in the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions remains a key question, owing in part to uncertainty about landscape changes at continental scales. We investigated the influence of environmental changes on megaherbivores using bone collagen nitrogen isotopes (n = 684, 63 new) as a proxy for moisture levels in the rangelands that sustained late Pleistocene grazers. An increase in landscape moisture in Europe, Siberia and the Americas during the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT; ~25-10 kyr bp) directly affected megaherbivore ecology on four continents, and was associated with a key period of population decline and extinction. In all regions, the period of greatest moisture coincided with regional deglaciation and preceded the widespread formation of wetland environments. Moisture-driven environmental changes appear to have played an important part in the late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions through alteration of environments such as rangelands, which supported a large biomass of specialist grazers. On a continental scale, LGIT moisture changes manifested differently according to regional climate and geography, and the stable presence of grasslands surrounding the central forested belt of Africa during this period helps to explain why proportionally fewer African megafauna became extinct during the late Pleistocene.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2013-01-01

    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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Late-surviving megafauna in Tasmania, Australia, implicate human involvement in their extinction.

    PubMed

    Turney, Chris S M; Flannery, Timothy F; Roberts, Richard G; Reid, Craig; Fifield, L Keith; Higham, Tom F G; Jacobs, Zenobia; Kemp, Noel; Colhoun, Eric A; Kalin, Robert M; Ogle, Neil

    2008-08-26

    Establishing the cause of past extinctions is critical if we are to understand better what might trigger future occurrences and how to prevent them. The mechanisms of continental late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction, however, are still fiercely contested. Potential factors contributing to their demise include climatic change, human impact, or some combination. On the Australian mainland, 90% of the megafauna became extinct by approximately 46 thousand years (ka) ago, soon after the first archaeological evidence for human colonization of the continent. Yet, on the neighboring island of Tasmania (which was connected to the mainland when sea levels were lower), megafaunal extinction appears to have taken place before the initial human arrival between 43 and 40 ka, which would seem to exonerate people as a contributing factor in the extirpation of the island megafauna. Age estimates for the last megafauna, however, are poorly constrained. Here, we show, by direct dating of fossil remains and their associated sediments, that some Tasmanian megafauna survived until at least 41 ka (i.e., after their extinction on the Australian mainland) and thus overlapped with humans. Furthermore, a vegetation record for Tasmania spanning the last 130 ka shows that no significant regional climatic or environmental change occurred between 43 and 37 ka, when a land bridge existed between Tasmania and the mainland. Our results are consistent with a model of human-induced extinction for the Tasmanian megafauna, most probably driven by hunting, and they reaffirm the value of islands adjacent to continental landmasses as tests of competing hypotheses for late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions.

  6. 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

  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. The Cometary Hypothesis of the K/t Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wickramasinghe, N. C.; Wallis, M. K.

    1994-09-01

    The correlation of the extended period of biological mass extinctions around the KIT boundary with extraterrestrial amino acids in the sediment record constitutes strong evidence of a cometary cause. While the fact that the dinosaurs' extinction coincided with the Chixculub cratering event and iridium-rich sediments suggests a chance asteroidal or cometary impact, the enhanced input of extraterrestrial matter over 1 0 yr supports the hypothesis of a Jupiter-associated giant comet, fragmented into a multitude of pieces, as demonstrated by comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, and perturbed into Earth-crossing orbits. Copious amounts of dust were released also, enhancing the dust abundance in the Solar system by several orders of magnitude. By studying the radiative properties of the submicron dust fraction of organic composition, we find that it is retained in the inner Solar system and is available for planetary accretion, uniike the IR-containing metallic and mineral dust. The shroud of dust accreted in the Earth's upper atmosphere can be sufficient to impose climatic stresses and cause extinctions of species over a protracted period of 10 yr. Dynamical arguments imply that the impacting comet most probably came directly from Jupiter's family. Details of the iridium record are compatible with re-accretion of some of the material ejected into space from the Chixculub impact. Key words: gravitation - comets: general - Earth - interplanetary medium - planets and satellites: individual: Jupiter - Solar system: general.

  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. 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.

  11. Mass Extinctions' Selectivity on the Diversity of Marine Modes of Life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, C.; Saux, J.; Heim, N.; Payne, J.

    2015-12-01

    A mass extinction is defined by a substantial increase in extinction rates, resulting in a loss of biological and ecological diversity. However, a mass extinction's taxonomic severity does not always correlate with its ecological severity (Droser et al. 2009). Using the fossil record, one can reconstruct the relationships between extinct biota and past environments through extrapolating evidence of an organism's feeding, tiering, and motility based on its functional morphology and analogies with its extant relatives. We used Bush, Bambach, and Daly's conceptual model of marine ecospace to study marine modes of life. We looked at the number of different ecological modes over time, and observed that this curve roughly parallels Sepkoski's generic diversity over time in that the number of ecological modes generally increases over time. Then we measured the selectivity of each mass extinction in log-odds using logistic regression. Here we compiled a "heat map" of the selectivity of 5 major mass extinctions based on the life mode of each marine genus in our dataset. Additionally, we looked at the standard deviation of the log-odds of extinction, which shows how uniform the selectivity of the mass extinction is across all life modes (i.e. a small standard deviation points to a more uniform selectivity among life modes). Ecological diversity was impacted by the mass extinctions: the end-Permian (Changhsingian) mass extinction had less variation in log-odds of extinction, whereas the other mass extinctions had a greater range of standard deviation of the log-odds of extinction. Three of the five mass extinctions (Famennian, Rhaetian, and Maastrichtian) were more ecologically selective than the others (Hirnantian and Changhsingian), which indicate that these two had factors that affected most marine life modes equally. In conclusion, not all mass extinctions had the same ecological effect.

  12. 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.

  13. Impacts and mass extinctions: To whom the laurel falls?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steel, D.

    1994-12-01

    Few readers of this journal can be unaware of the well-developed hypothesis advanced by Alvarez et al., and since built upon in publications too numerous and varied to mention, that the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event was due to an impact by a large asteroid. Indeed personal discussions with astronomers interested only in extra-solar system phenomena suggest that they regard this as being a bane rather than a boon, since acquaintances expect them to be conversant with, and intrigued by, whatever happened 65 Myr ago. This communication is designed to elucidate the history behind the idea.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    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 "KT boundary." The recent argument that the KT event was exceedingly large and thus quite rare supports the need for other catastrophic events.

  1. Extinction, ejecta masses, and radial velocities of novae

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, Robert E.

    1994-01-01

    Interstellar reddening is determined for a number of recent novae based upon emission-line ratios which are generally observable using CCDs. Large values of extinction are found for most systems, possibly indicative of an intrinsic component of reddening in postoutburst novae. The unusual characteristics of the (O I) lines in novae, which are strong and optically thick, require a large population of very dense globules which are the likely sites of dust formation. These pyroclasts must be ejected from the white dwarf. The total mass of the neutral gas in the globules in some of the objects is substantially larger than the masses normally derived for the ionized ejecta of novae. The distribution of radial velocities of Galactic novae in the Tololo sample, although uncertain, shows an asymmetry in having predominantly negative values. Either high internal absorption in the expanding ejecta skews the emission lines to bluer wavelengths, or most of the novae are moving out from the center of the Galaxy.

  2. Extinction, ejecta masses, and radial velocities of novae

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, Robert E.

    1994-01-01

    Interstellar reddening is determined for a number of recent novae based upon emission-line ratios which are generally observable using CCDs. Large values of extinction are found for most systems, possibly indicative of an intrinsic component of reddening in postoutburst novae. The unusual characteristics of the (O I) lines in novae, which are strong and optically thick, require a large population of very dense globules which are the likely sites of dust formation. These pyroclasts must be ejected from the white dwarf. The total mass of the neutral gas in the globules in some of the objects is substantially larger than the masses normally derived for the ionized ejecta of novae. The distribution of radial velocities of Galactic novae in the Tololo sample, although uncertain, shows an asymmetry in having predominantly negative values. Either high internal absorption in the expanding ejecta skews the emission lines to bluer wavelengths, or most of the novae are moving out from the center of the Galaxy.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Rebuilding biodiversity of Patagonian marine molluscs after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

    PubMed

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Some implications of mass extinction for the evolution of complex life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1985-01-01

    Extinction has the destructive effect of eliminating established lineages from an evolutionary system, and the constructive effect of vacating ecospace into which new lineages can evolve. Mass extinctions, which are times of unusually intense extinction, have been consistently followed by major radiations of new lineages. Extraterrestrial impacts associated with extinction events and a periodic recurrence of these events implicates an extraterrestrial forcing mechanism as the ultimate cause of mass extinction. This suggests that the extraplanetary environment has played an important, active role in the development of complex life on earth.

  10. Some implications of mass extinction for the evolution of complex life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1985-01-01

    Extinction has the destructive effect of eliminating established lineages from an evolutionary system, and the constructive effect of vacating ecospace into which new lineages can evolve. Mass extinctions, which are times of unusually intense extinction, have been consistently followed by major radiations of new lineages. Extraterrestrial impacts associated with extinction events and a periodic recurrence of these events implicates an extraterrestrial forcing mechanism as the ultimate cause of mass extinction. This suggests that the extraplanetary environment has played an important, active role in the development of complex life on earth.

  11. 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.

  12. Biotic replacement and mass extinction of the Ediacara biota.

    PubMed

    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

    2015-09-07

    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.

  13. 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

  14. What caused the mass extinction A volcanic eruption

    SciTech Connect

    Courtillot, V.E. )

    1990-10-01

    The authors proposes that dust, carbon dioxide and other emissions from an episode of enormous volcanism that formed the basaltic Deccan Traps in India produced the climate changes that led to the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period. The iridium could, he says, just as easily have risen from the earth's mantle. The sheer size of the Deccan Traps suggests that their formation must have been an important event in the earth's history. An important, unresolved question was whether the data and duration of Deccan volcanism are compatible with the age and thickness of the KT boundary. Until recently the lava samples from the Deccan Traps were thought to range in age from 80 to 30 million years (estimated by measuring the decay of the radioactive isotope potassium 40 in rocks). The author presents data suggesting volcanism could not have lasted much more than one million years and was roughly simultaneous with the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period.

  15. 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."

  16. 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."

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Long, Virginia A; Fanselow, Michael S

    2012-11-01

    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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Deccan volcanism, the KT mass extinction and dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Keller, G; Sahni, A; Bajpai, S

    2009-11-01

    Recent advances in Deccan volcanic studies indicate three volcanic phases with the phase-1 at 67.5 Ma followed by a 2 m.y. period of quiescence. Phase-2 marks the main Deccan volcanic eruptions in Chron 29r near the end of the Maastrichtian and accounts for approximately 80% of the entire 3500 m thick Deccan lava pile. At least four of the world's longest lava flows spanning 1000 km across India and out into the Gulf of Bengal mark phase-2. The final phase-3 was smaller, coincided with the early Danian Chron 29n and also witnessed several of the longest lava flows. The KT boundary and mass extinction was first discovered based on planktic foraminifera from shallow marine intertrappean sediments exposed in Rajahmundry quarries between the longest lava flows of the main volcanic phase-2 and smaller phase-3. At this locality early Danian (zone P1a) planktic foraminiferal assemblages directly overlie the top of phase-2 eruptions and indicate that the masse extinction coincided with the end of this volcanic phase. Planktic foraminiferal assemblages also mark the KT boundary in intertrappean sediments at Jhilmili, Chhindwara, where freshwater to estuarine conditions prevailed during the early Danian and indicate the presence of a marine seaway across India at KT time. Dinosaur bones, nesting sites with complete eggs and abundant eggshells are known from central India surrounding the hypothesized seaway through the Narmada-Tapti rift zone. A Maastrichtian age is generally assigned to these dinosaur remains. Age control may now be improved based on marine microfossils from sequences deposited in the seaway and correlating these strata to nearby terrestrial sequences with dinosaur remains.

  5. Differential effects of temperature change and human impact on European Late Quaternary mammalian extinctions.

    PubMed

    Varela, Sara; Lima-Ribeiro, Matheus Souza; Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre Felizola; Storch, David

    2015-04-01

    Species that inhabited Europe during the Late Quaternary were impacted by temperature changes and early humans, resulting in the disappearance of half of the European large mammals. However, quantifying the relative importance that each factor had in the extinction risk of species has been challenging, mostly due to the spatio-temporal biases of fossil records, which complicate the calibration of realistic and accurate ecological niche modeling. Here, we overcome this problem by using ecotypes, and not real species, to run our models. We created 40 ecotypes with different temperature requirements (mean temperature from -20 °C to 25 °C and temperature range from 10 °C to 40 °C) and used them to quantify the effect of climate change and human impact. Our results show that cold-adapted ecotypes would have been highly affected by past temperature changes in Europe, whereas temperate and warm-adapted ecotypes would have been positively affected by temperature change. Human impact affected all ecotypes negatively, and temperate ecotypes suffered the greatest impacts. Based on these results, the extinction of cold-adapted species like Mammuthus primigenius may be related to temperature change, while the extinction of temperate species, like Crocuta crocuta, may be related to human impact. Our results suggest that temperature change and human impact affected different ecotypes in distinct ways, and that the interaction of both impacts may have shaped species extinctions in Europe. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-26

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Crocodylian diversity peak and extinction in the late Cenozoic of the northern Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Scheyer, T M; Aguilera, O A; Delfino, M; Fortier, D C; Carlini, A A; Sánchez, R; Carrillo-Briceño, J D; Quiroz, L; Sánchez-Villagra, M R

    2013-01-01

    Northern South America and South East Asia are today's hotspots of crocodylian diversity with up to six (mainly alligatorid) and four (mainly crocodylid) living species respectively, of which usually no more than two or three occur sympatrically. In contrast, during the late Miocene, 14 species existed in South America. Here we show a diversity peak in sympatric occurrence of at least seven species, based on detailed stratigraphic sequence sampling and correlation, involving four geological formations from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene, and on the discovery of two new species and a new occurrence. This degree of crocodylian sympatry is unique in the world and shows that at least several members of Alligatoroidea and Gavialoidea coexisted. By the Pliocene, all these species became extinct, and their extinction was probably related to hydrographic changes linked to the Andean uplift. The extant fauna is first recorded with the oldest Crocodylus species from South America.

  11. 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.

  12. Climate warming and humans played different roles in triggering Late Quaternary extinctions in east and west Eurasia.

    PubMed

    Wan, Xinru; Zhang, Zhibin

    2017-03-29

    Climate change and humans are proposed as the two key drivers of total extinction of many large mammals in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, but disentangling their relative roles remains challenging owing to a lack of quantitative evaluation of human impact and climate-driven distribution changes on the extinctions of these large mammals in a continuous temporal-spatial dimension. Here, our analyses showed that temperature change had significant effects on mammoth (genus Mammuthus), rhinoceros (Rhinocerotidae), horse (Equidae) and deer (Cervidae). Rapid global warming was the predominant factor driving the total extinction of mammoths and rhinos in frigid zones from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. Humans showed significant, negative effects on extirpations of the four mammalian taxa, and were the predominant factor causing the extinction or major extirpations of rhinos and horses. Deer survived both rapid climate warming and extensive human impacts. Our study indicates that both the current rates of warming and range shifts of species are much faster than those from the Late Pleistocene to Holocene. Our results provide new insight into the extinction of Late Quaternary megafauna by demonstrating taxon-, period- and region-specific differences in extinction drivers of climate change and human disturbances, and some implications about the extinction risk of animals by recent and ongoing climate warming. © 2017 The Author(s).

  13. Determinants of loss of mammal species during the Late Quaternary 'megafauna' extinctions: life history and ecology, but not body size.

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, C N

    2002-01-01

    Extinctions of megafauna species during the Late Quaternary dramatically reduced the global diversity of mammals. There is intense debate over the causes of these extinctions, especially regarding the extent to which humans were involved. Most previous analyses of this question have focused on chronologies of extinction and on the archaeological evidence for human-megafauna interaction. Here, I take an alternative approach: comparison of the biological traits of extinct species with those of survivors. I use this to demonstrate two general features of the selectivity of Late Quaternary mammal extinctions in Australia, Eurasia, the Americas and Madagascar. First, large size was not directly related to risk of extinction; rather, species with slow reproductive rates were at high risk regardless of their body size. This finding rejects the 'blitzkrieg' model of overkill, in which extinctions were completed during brief intervals of selective hunting of large-bodied prey. Second, species that survived despite having low reproductive rates typically occurred in closed habitats and many were arboreal or nocturnal. Such traits would have reduced their exposure to direct interaction with people. Therefore, although this analysis rejects blitzkrieg as a general scenario for the mammal megafauna extinctions, it is consistent with extinctions being due to interaction with human populations. PMID:12427315

  14. 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.

  15. Biogeochemical evidence for euxinic oceans and ecological disturbance presaging the end-Permian mass extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Changqun; Love, Gordon D.; Hays, Lindsay E.; Wang, Wei; Shen, Shuzhong; Summons, Roger E.

    2009-05-01

    The Permian-Triassic Boundary event at 252.2 Ma marks the largest extinction of marine fauna in the Phanerozoic and there is a wide consensus that the extinction coincided with an intense oceanic anoxic event. The stratotype of the Changhsingian Stage, precisely constrained by the PTB Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) and the GSSP for the Wuchiapingian-Changhsingian Boundary, both at Meishan in southern China, is well-documented in respect to geochronology and the pattern of extinction. Here we report secular trends in bulk isotopic parameters and lipid biomarkers in a core spanning 214 m of stratigraphic section across the PTB and through the entire Changhsingian interval. Our analysis of these data, viewed in the context of relative sea level change and strontium isotopes, reveals distinct shifts in paleoenvironmental conditions and profound changes in plankton ecology well before and following the biological extinction event. Specifically, patterns of steroids and triterpenoids indicate a marine plankton community that was heavily dominated by bacteria during the late Wuchiapingian, middle Changhsingian and early Griesbachian stages. Secular trends in aromatic hydrocarbons diagnostic for anoxygenic green sulphur bacteria (Chlorobiaceae) identify periods when euxinic conditions extended into the photic zone during the entire Changhsingian stage. Here also, the δ15N of organic nitrogen progressively shifted from positive values around + 2 or + 3‰ to - 1‰ coincident with a sharp negative excursion in δ13C org and slightly postdating the sharp minimum in δ13C values of inorganic carbon that occurs at the top of Bed 24. These results, together the published chronology indicate that conditions unfavourable for aerobiosis existed in the marine photic zone at Meishan for 1.5 million years prior to the main phase of the biological extinction. The induction of marine euxinic conditions, worldwide, at the end of the Permian was likely a consequence of the

  16. Mass extinction in a dynamical system of evolution with variable dimension.

    PubMed

    Tokita, K; Yasutomi, A

    1999-07-01

    Introducing the effect of extinction into the so-called replicator equations in mathematical biology, we construct a general model where the diversity of species, i.e., the dimension of the equation, is a time-dependent variable. The system shows very different behavior from the original replicator equation, and leads to mass extinction when the system initially has high diversity. The present theory can serve as a mathematical foundation for the paleontologic theory for mass extinction. This extinction dynamics is a prototype of dynamical systems where the variable dimension is inevitable.

  17. 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

  18. Exploring mass extinction events and their association with global warming events from muliproxy biomarker and isotopic approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grice, K.; Nabbefeld, B.; Maslen, E.; Jaraula, C.; Holman, A.; Melendez, I.; Tulipani, S.; Twitchett, R.; Hays, L. E.; Summons, R. E.; Mella, L.; Williford, K. H.; McElwain, J.; Böttcher, M.

    2011-12-01

    The Late Permian mass extinction event was the most profound extinctions of the entire Phanerozoic. Biomarker evidence for photic zone euxinic (PZE) conditions within Permian/Triassic (P/Tr) setions, where concentrations of sulfide, are sufficient to support anoxygenic photosynthesis, come from components derived from pigments of Chlorobi. Evidence for such conditions occurred at 6 global localities from shallow marine settings. Perturbations in the redox-state of the ancient seas are also reflected in d34S of pyrite (e.g. from China, Italy, Iran, Western Australia, East Greenland, Western Canada and Spitsbergen) supporting widespread euxinic conditions in both Palaeotethys and Panthalassa oceans. The aromatic biomarkers, dibenzothiophene, dibenzofuran and biphenyl have been detected in high abundances in samples just before the onset of the marine ecosystem collapse in East Greenland, Spitsbergen, South China and Western Canada . We have proposed that lignin derived from land plants, present during the Late Permian is their likely source. We provide sedimentological data, biomarker abundances and compound specific isotopic data (δ13C and δD) along with bulk isotopes (δ34Spyrite, δ13Ccarbonate, δ13Corg) for several sections. At two localities sedimentological and geochemical data supports a marine transgression and collapse of the marine ecosystem occurring in the Late Permian. δ13C data of algal and land-plant derived biomarkers, δ13C carbonate and organic matter support synchronous changes in δ13C of marine and atmospheric CO2, attributed to a 13C-depleted source (13C depleted methane and/or CO2 derived from degradation of organic matter due to the marine ecosystem collapse). Evidence for waxing and waning of PZE throughout the Late Permian is provided by Chlorobi derived biomarkers and δ34S pyrite implying multiple phases of H2S outgassing and potentially several prolonged pulses of extinction at several global localities. We suggest that high levels of

  19. Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-01

    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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Seeking a paleontological signature for mass extinctions caused by flood basalt eruptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Payne, J.; Bush, A. M.; Chang, E. T.; Heim, N. A.; Knope, M. L.; Pruss, S. B.

    2016-12-01

    Flood basalt eruptions coincide with numerous extinction events in the fossil record. Increasingly precise absolute age determinations for both the timing of eruption and of species extinctions have strengthened the case for flood basalt eruptions as the single most important trigger for major mass extinction events in the fossil record. However, the extent to which flood basalt eruptions cause a pattern of biotic loss distinctive from extinctions triggered by other geological or biological processes remains an open question. In the absence of diagnostic mapping between geological triggers and biological losses, establishing the identities of causal agents for mass extinctions will continue to depend primarily on evidence for temporal coincidence. Here we use a synoptic database of marine animal genera spanning the Phanerozoic, including times of first and last occurrence, body size, motility, life position, feeding mode, and respiratory physiology to assess whether extinction events temporally associated with flood basalt eruptions exhibit a diagnostic pattern of extinction selectivity. We further ask whether any events not associated with known large igneous provinces nevertheless display extinction patterns suggestive of such a cause. Finally, we ask whether extinction events associated with other primary causes, such as glaciation or bolide impact, are distinguishable from events apparently triggered by flood basalt eruptions on the basis of extinction selectivity patterns

  3. The role of climate and vegetation on woolly mammoth extinction on St. Paul Island, Alaska and megafauna extinction in North America in the late Quaternary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Y.; Porter, W.; Miller, P. A.; Graham, R. W.; Williams, J. W.

    2016-12-01

    Estimate of megafauna behaviors dynamically under associated environmental factors is important to understand the mechanisms and causes of the late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions. On St. Paul Island, an isolated remnant of the Bering Land Bridge, a late-surviving population of woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) persisted until 5,600 cal BP, while 37 out of 54 megafauna species in the continent of North America, all herbivores, went extinct at the end of Pleistocene between 13,800 and 11,500 cal BP. Proposed natural drivers of the extinction events include abrupt temperature changes, food resource loss and freshwater shortage. Here we tested these three hypothesized mechanisms, using a physiological model (Niche Mapper) to estimate individual megafauna behaviors from the perspectives of metabolic rate, individual vegetation and freshwater requirement under simulated climates from Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), vegetation reconstructions based on dynamic LPJ-GUESS model and woolly mammoth and megafauna species trait data reconstructed based on mammal fossils. Preliminary simulations of woolly mammoth on St. Paul Island point to the importance of net vegetation primary productivity and freshwater availability as limits on the carrying capacity of St. Paul for mammoth populations, with a low carrying capacity in the middle Holocene making this population highly vulnerable to extinction. Results also indicate that the abrupt warming based around 14,000 cal BP in Bering land bridge on CCSM3 simulations causes woolly mammoth extinction, by driving metabolic rate high up beyond the active basic metabolic rate. Analysis suggests a positive relationship between temperature and metabolic rate, and woolly mammoth would go extinct when summer temperature is up to 12 °C or higher. However the temperature reconstructed based on regional proxies is relatively stable compared to CCSM3 simulations, and leads to stable metabolic rate of woolly mammoth and

  4. 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

  5. Living-fossil coccolithophore survivors of the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hagino, K.; Young, J. R.; Bown, P. R.; Godrijan, J.; Kogame, K.; Kulhanek, D. K.; Horiguchi, T.

    2012-12-01

    Calcareous nannofossils (coccolithophores and other associated fossils), diversified greatly through the middle-late Mesozoic, but around 90% of these species became extinct at the K/Pg event. Although the specific cause of this mass extinction is still uncertain, the record of extinction and survivorship of nannoplankton has informed our understanding of the rates of extinction and recovery, and nature of survivorship in the plankton ecosystem. Recently we found living cells of a coccolithophore, which morphologically and structurally resembles the Mesozoic genus Cyclagelosphaera, from coastal-neritic waters of Tottori, Japan and of Rovinj, Croatia. Cyclagelosphaera is a characteristic Mesozoic genus that appeared in the middle Jurassic. It survived the K/Pg event, briefly flourished in post K/Pg oceans, with other K/Pg survivors, but disappeared from the fossil record in the Eocene. Bibliographic study has revealed that our specimens correspond to a living species Tergestiella adriatica, which was discovered from offshore Rovinji in 1934 but has never since been reported. Molecular phylogenetic studies of T. adriatica based on SSU rDNA sequences show that T. adriatica branched from the base of the clade of other living coccolithophores. This result suggests that T. adriatica diverged from the ancestor of other coccolithophores before the diversification of other taxa and supports the inference that T. adriatica is a direct descendent of Mesozoic Cyclagelosphaera rather than a homoeomorph. Floristic studies of living coccolithophores show that T. adriatica coexists with Braarudosphaera bigelowii, another K/Pg survivor, in the coastal area of Tottori, Japan. In both Mesozoic and Cenozoic oceans, calcareous nannoplankton are typically open-ocean dwellers, but a few taxa are confined to coastal waters. Curiously, all three extant coccolithophores with Mesozoic fossil records are coastal, meanwhile the other extant taxa with Cenozoic fossil records are oceanic. Our

  6. 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.

  7. 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

    2010-03-05

    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.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

    Stanley, Steven M

    2009-09-08

    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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    1983-07-08

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2016-07-19

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. Extinction with 2MASS: star counts and reddening toward the North America and the Pelican Nebulae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cambresy, L.; Beichman, C. A.; Jarrett, T. H.; Cutri, R. M.

    2001-05-01

    We propose a general method to map the extinction in dense molecular clouds using 2MASS near-infrared data. It is based on the simultaneous utilization of star count and color analysis. These two techniques provide independent estimations of the extinction and each method reacts differently to foreground star contamination and to star clustering. We take advantage of the specificities of both methods to build a large scale extinction map of the North America-Pelican nebulae complex. With Ks star counts and H-Ks color analysis the visual extinction is mapped up to 35 mag and nine star clusters are identified in the area.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Orth, C.J.; Attrep, M.; 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

  18. Response of beta diversity to pulses of Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Darroch, Simon A F; Wagner, Peter J

    2015-02-01

    Ecologists are increasingly using the fossil record of mass extinction to build predictive models for the ongoing biodiversity crisis. During mass extinctions, major depletions in global (i.e., gamma) diversity may reflect decrease in alpha diversity (i.e., local assemblages support fewer taxa), and/or decrease in beta diversity (such that similar pools of taxa are common to a greater number of local areas). Contrasting the effects of extinction on alpha and beta diversity is therefore central to understanding how global richness becomes depleted over these critical events. Here we investigate the spatial effects of mass extinction by examining changes in alpha, beta, and gamma diversity in brachiopod communities over both pulses of Ordovician-Silurian extinction (-445.2 and -438.8 million years ago), which had dramatically different causal mechanisms. We furthermore reconstruct geographic range sizes for brachiopod genera to test competing models for drivers of beta diversity change. We find that: (1) alpha and beta diversity respond differently to extinction; (2) these responses differ between pulses of extinction; (3) changes in beta diversity associated with extinction are accompanied by changes in geographic range size; and (4) changes in global beta diversity were driven by the extinction of taxa with statistically small and large ranges, rather than range expansion/contraction in taxa that survive into the aftermath. A symptom of ongoing biotic crisis may therefore be the extinction of specific narrow- or wide-ranging taxa, rather than the global proliferation of opportunistic and "disaster" forms. In addition, our results illustrate that changes in beta diversity on these longer timescales may largely be dictated by emplacement and removal of barriers to dispersal. Lastly, this study reinforces the utility of the fossil record in addressing questions surrounding the role of global-scale processes (such as mass extinctions) in sculpting and assembling

  19. Fear-Potentiated Startle and Fear Extinction in a Sample of Undergraduate Women Exposed to a Campus Mass Shooting.

    PubMed

    Orcutt, Holly K; Hannan, Susan M; Seligowski, Antonia V; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth D; Ressler, Kerry J; McCanne, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological disorder that affects a substantial minority of individuals. Previous research has suggested that PTSD can be partially explained as a disorder of impaired fear inhibition. The current study utilized a previously validated fear acquisition and extinction paradigm in a sample of 75 undergraduate women who were exposed to a campus mass shooting that occurred in 2008. We used a protocol in which conditioned fear was first acquired through the presentation of one colored shape (reinforced conditioned stimulus, CS+) that was paired with an aversive airblast to the larynx (unconditioned stimulus, US) and a different colored shape that was not paired with the airblast (non-reinforced conditioned stimulus, CS-). Fear was extinguished 10 min later through repeated presentations of the CSs without reinforcement. Number of clinically significant posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) immediately following the mass shooting were positively associated with fear-potentiated startle (FPS) to the CS+ and CS- during late periods of acquisition. During early periods of fear extinction, PTSS was positively associated with FPS to the CS+. Results from the current study suggest that PTSS is related to altered fear inhibition and extinction during an FPS paradigm. In line with similar research, women with greater PTSS demonstrated a greater "fear load," suggesting that these women experienced elevated fear to the CS+ during extinction after conditioned fear was acquired.

  20. Fear-Potentiated Startle and Fear Extinction in a Sample of Undergraduate Women Exposed to a Campus Mass Shooting

    PubMed Central

    Orcutt, Holly K.; Hannan, Susan M.; Seligowski, Antonia V.; Jovanovic, Tanja; Norrholm, Seth D.; Ressler, Kerry J.; McCanne, Thomas

    2017-01-01

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological disorder that affects a substantial minority of individuals. Previous research has suggested that PTSD can be partially explained as a disorder of impaired fear inhibition. The current study utilized a previously validated fear acquisition and extinction paradigm in a sample of 75 undergraduate women who were exposed to a campus mass shooting that occurred in 2008. We used a protocol in which conditioned fear was first acquired through the presentation of one colored shape (reinforced conditioned stimulus, CS+) that was paired with an aversive airblast to the larynx (unconditioned stimulus, US) and a different colored shape that was not paired with the airblast (non-reinforced conditioned stimulus, CS-). Fear was extinguished 10 min later through repeated presentations of the CSs without reinforcement. Number of clinically significant posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) immediately following the mass shooting were positively associated with fear-potentiated startle (FPS) to the CS+ and CS- during late periods of acquisition. During early periods of fear extinction, PTSS was positively associated with FPS to the CS+. Results from the current study suggest that PTSS is related to altered fear inhibition and extinction during an FPS paradigm. In line with similar research, women with greater PTSS demonstrated a greater “fear load,” suggesting that these women experienced elevated fear to the CS+ during extinction after conditioned fear was acquired. PMID:28111559

  1. Extinction with 2MASS: Star Counts and Reddening toward the North America and Pelican Nebulae

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cambrésy, L.; Beichman, C. A.; Jarrett, T. H.; Cutri, R. M.

    2002-05-01

    We propose a general method for mapping the extinction in dense molecular clouds using Two Micron All Sky Survey near-infrared data. The technique is based on the simultaneous utilization of star counts and colors. These two techniques provide independent estimations of the extinction, and each method reacts differently to foreground star contamination and to star clustering. We take advantage of both methods to build a large-scale extinction map (2.5d×2.5d) of the North America and Pelican Nebulae complex. With Ks star counts and H-Ks color analysis the visual extinction is mapped up to 35 mag. Regions with visual extinction greater than 20 mag account for less than 3% of the total mass of the cloud. Color is generally a better estimator for the extinction than star counts. Nine star clusters are identified in the area, seven of which were previously unknown.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-07

    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.

  3. 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

  4. The intrusive record of the CAMP and what it means for the end Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, Joshua; Marzoli, Andrea; Bertrand, Hervé; Youbi, Nasrrddine; Ernesto, Marcia; Schaltegger, Urs

    2017-04-01

    The end-Triassic mass extinction is one of the Phanerozoic's five largest mass extinctions. The extinction is usually attributed to climate change associated with degassing of erupting basalt from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). However, recent work has shown that the earliest known CAMP basaltic flows occur stratigraphically above the extinction horizon indicating that the relationship between the CAMP and the extinction is more complex when resolved at higher temporal resolution. Here we present new high-precision U-Pb age determinations from intrusive units, which show that CAMP magmatic activity was occurring 100 ka before the oldest known eruptions. We show that the early magmatic activity correlates temporally with the onset of globally recognized changes to climatic and biotic records. We also report ages from sills in the Amazonas basin in Brazil that intrude synchronously with the extinction. We suggest that the release of thermogenic gases from the contact metamorphism of these sediments induced by injection of mafic sills may have contributed to the climate change that drove the extinction. Our results indicate that the intrusive record from large igneous provinces may be more important for linking to mass extinctions than the eruptive record.

  5. Middle Pleistocene protein sequences from the rhinoceros genus Stephanorhinus and the phylogeny of extant and extinct Middle/Late Pleistocene Rhinocerotidae

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Geoff M.; Hutson, Jarod M.; Kindler, Lutz; Garcia-Moreno, Alejandro; Villaluenga, Aritza; Turner, Elaine

    2017-01-01

    Background Ancient protein sequences are increasingly used to elucidate the phylogenetic relationships between extinct and extant mammalian taxa. Here, we apply these recent developments to Middle Pleistocene bone specimens of the rhinoceros genus Stephanorhinus. No biomolecular sequence data is currently available for this genus, leaving phylogenetic hypotheses on its evolutionary relationships to extant and extinct rhinoceroses untested. Furthermore, recent phylogenies based on Rhinocerotidae (partial or complete) mitochondrial DNA sequences differ in the placement of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). Therefore, studies utilising ancient protein sequences from Middle Pleistocene contexts have the potential to provide further insights into the phylogenetic relationships between extant and extinct species, including Stephanorhinus and Dicerorhinus. Methods ZooMS screening (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry) was performed on several Late and Middle Pleistocene specimens from the genus Stephanorhinus, subsequently followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to obtain ancient protein sequences from a Middle Pleistocene Stephanorhinus specimen. We performed parallel analysis on a Late Pleistocene woolly rhinoceros specimen and extant species of rhinoceroses, resulting in the availability of protein sequence data for five extant species and two extinct genera. Phylogenetic analysis additionally included all extant Perissodactyla genera (Equus, Tapirus), and was conducted using Bayesian (MrBayes) and maximum-likelihood (RAxML) methods. Results Various ancient proteins were identified in both the Middle and Late Pleistocene rhinoceros samples. Protein degradation and proteome complexity are consistent with an endogenous origin of the identified proteins. Phylogenetic analysis of informative proteins resolved the Perissodactyla phylogeny in agreement with previous studies in regards to the placement of the families Equidae

  6. Middle Pleistocene protein sequences from the rhinoceros genus Stephanorhinus and the phylogeny of extant and extinct Middle/Late Pleistocene Rhinocerotidae.

    PubMed

    Welker, Frido; Smith, Geoff M; Hutson, Jarod M; Kindler, Lutz; Garcia-Moreno, Alejandro; Villaluenga, Aritza; Turner, Elaine; Gaudzinski-Windheuser, Sabine

    2017-01-01

    Ancient protein sequences are increasingly used to elucidate the phylogenetic relationships between extinct and extant mammalian taxa. Here, we apply these recent developments to Middle Pleistocene bone specimens of the rhinoceros genus Stephanorhinus. No biomolecular sequence data is currently available for this genus, leaving phylogenetic hypotheses on its evolutionary relationships to extant and extinct rhinoceroses untested. Furthermore, recent phylogenies based on Rhinocerotidae (partial or complete) mitochondrial DNA sequences differ in the placement of the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis). Therefore, studies utilising ancient protein sequences from Middle Pleistocene contexts have the potential to provide further insights into the phylogenetic relationships between extant and extinct species, including Stephanorhinus and Dicerorhinus. ZooMS screening (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry) was performed on several Late and Middle Pleistocene specimens from the genus Stephanorhinus, subsequently followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to obtain ancient protein sequences from a Middle Pleistocene Stephanorhinus specimen. We performed parallel analysis on a Late Pleistocene woolly rhinoceros specimen and extant species of rhinoceroses, resulting in the availability of protein sequence data for five extant species and two extinct genera. Phylogenetic analysis additionally included all extant Perissodactyla genera (Equus, Tapirus), and was conducted using Bayesian (MrBayes) and maximum-likelihood (RAxML) methods. Various ancient proteins were identified in both the Middle and Late Pleistocene rhinoceros samples. Protein degradation and proteome complexity are consistent with an endogenous origin of the identified proteins. Phylogenetic analysis of informative proteins resolved the Perissodactyla phylogeny in agreement with previous studies in regards to the placement of the families Equidae, Tapiridae, and Rhinocerotidae

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    2016-04-06

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  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. 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

  16. What can the data on late survival of Australian megafauna tell us about the cause of their extinction?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Christopher N.

    2005-11-01

    [Roberts et al. 2001a. New ages for the last Australian megafauna: continent-wide extinction about 46,000 years ago. Science 292, 1888-1892] concluded that the extinction of Australia's late Pleistocene megafauna was an abrupt event that took place about 46 ka ago throughout the continent. By placing the extinctions soon after the arrival of people in Australia but before climate changes associated with the Last Glacial Maximum, this study implicated human impact as cause. However, the study was controversial because it excluded evidence, mainly from archaeological sites containing disarticulated megafauna remains, for survival of some megafauna well past 46 ka ago. Here, I ask how our interpretation of the extinctions would be changed if this evidence were accepted. Contrary to climate-change models of extinction, the young megafauna sites are not concentrated in mesic refuges around the coast. These sites do suggest that relatively small-bodied megafauna species were the last to disappear, as predicted by a version of the overkill hypothesis. More work is needed to test the evidence for late survival of megafauna species in Australia, but at present this evidence supports overkill, not climate change, as the cause of the extinctions.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Uranium isotope evidence for the abrupt onset of oceanic anoxia during the end-Guadalupian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Song, H.; Algeo, T. J.; Romaniello, S. J.; Tong, J.; Du, Y.; Wei, H.; Shen, S.; Anbar, A. D.

    2016-12-01

    The end-Guadalupian (Middle/Late Permian) mass extinction was one of the major crises of the Phanerozoic, resulting in the disappearance of numerous shallow-marine taxa. Several hypotheses have been proposed for this catastrophe but are still under debate. Here, we undertook a high-resolution carbonate U isotopic (δ238/235U) study of the Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary (GLB) at the Penglaitan section (Guadalupian/ Lopingian GSSP) to explore the causal relationship between ocean redox changes and the mass extinction event. The Penglaitan δ238U profile shows two abrupt negative excursions, one in the uppermost Guadalupian (Beds 6j-6k) and the other in the lowermost Lopingian (lower Bed 7). The first excursion (from ‒0.30 ‰ to ‒0.50 ‰) coincided with the main extinction event, suggesting that rapid expansion of oceanic anoxia may have been a contributor to the biotic crisis. The second, larger excursion (from ‒0.25 ‰ to ‒0.65 ‰) demonstrates that the crisis interval was marked by multiple phases of expanded oceanic anoxia. A U-isotope mass balance model shows that, during these excursions, the anoxic/euxinic sink flux increased to 40 % of the total sink flux of seawater U, which is three times of the modern ocean value of 13 %. This study thus provides circumstantial evidence for a causal relationship between expansion of oceanic anoxia and the end-Guadalupian biotic crisis.

  1. 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.

  2. The Impact of the Impact: Signature of the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction in the Modern Biota

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krug, A. Z.; Jablonski, D.; Valentine, J. W.

    2010-04-01

    The end-Cretaceous mass extinction caused a permanent increase in the origination rates of living marine bivalves. This increase is visible in the marine bioprovinces of modern oceans, making the extinction a prominent feature of modern biogeography.

  3. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  4. 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.

  5. Redox conditions and marine microbial community changes during the end-Ordovician mass extinction event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smolarek, Justyna; Marynowski, Leszek; Trela, Wiesław; Kujawski, Piotr; Simoneit, Bernd R. T.

    2017-02-01

    The end-Ordovician (Hirnantian) crisis is the first globally distinct extinction during the Phanerozoic, but its causes are still not fully known. Here, we present an integrated geochemical and petrographic analysis to understand the sedimentary conditions taking place before, during and after the Late Ordovician ice age. New data from the Zbrza (Holy Cross Mountains) and Gołdap (Baltic Depression) boreholes shows that, like in other worldwide sections, the total organic carbon (TOC) content is elevated in the upper Katian and uppermost Hirnantian to Rhudannian black shales, but depleted (below 1%) during most of the Hirnantian. Euxinic conditions occurred in the photic zone in both TOC-rich intervals. This is based on the maleimide distribution, occurrence of aryl isoprenoids and isorenieratane, as well as a dominance of tiny pyrite framboids. Euxinic conditions were interrupted by the Hirnantian regression caused by glaciation. Sedimentation on the deep shelf changed to aerobic probably due to intense thermohaline circulation. Euxinia in the water column occurred directly during the time associated with the second pulse of the mass extinction with a termination of the end-Ordovician glaciation and sea level rise just at the Ordovician/Silurian (O/S) boundary. In contrast, we suggest based on inorganic proxies that bottom water conditions were generally oxic to dysoxic due to upwelling in the Rheic Ocean. The only episode of seafloor anoxia in the Zbrza basin was found at the O/S boundary, where all inorganic indicators showed elevated values typical for anoxia (U/Th > 1.25; V/Cr > 4.25; V/(V + Ni): 0.54-0.82 and Mo > 10-25 ppm). Significant differences in hopanes to steranes ratio and in C27-C29 sterane distribution between the Katian, Rhudannian and Hirnantian deposits indicate changes in marine microbial communities triggered by sharp climate change and Gondwana glaciation. The increase from biomarkers of cyanobacteria (2α-methylhopanes) after the O

  6. 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.

  7. Diversification and extinction in the history of life.

    PubMed

    Benton, M J

    1995-04-07

    Analysis of the fossil record of microbes, algae, fungi, protists, plants, and animals shows that the diversity of both marine and continental life increased exponentially since the end of the Precambrian. This diversification was interrupted by mass extinctions, the largest of which occurred in the Early Cambrian, Late Ordovician, Late Devonian, Late Permian, Early Triassic, Late Triassic, and end-Cretaceous. Most of these extinctions were experienced by both marine and continental organisms. As for the periodicity of mass extinctions, no support was found: Seven mass extinction peaks in the last 250 million years are spaced 20 to 60 million years apart.

  8. 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.

  9. A stochastic model for the probability of malaria extinction by mass drug administration.

    PubMed

    Pemberton-Ross, Peter; Chitnis, Nakul; Pothin, Emilie; Smith, Thomas A

    2017-09-18

    Mass drug administration (MDA) has been proposed as an intervention to achieve local extinction of malaria. Although its effect on the reproduction number is short lived, extinction may subsequently occur in a small population due to stochastic fluctuations. This paper examines how the probability of stochastic extinction depends on population size, MDA coverage and the reproduction number under control, R c . A simple compartmental model is developed which is used to compute the probability of extinction using probability generating functions. The expected time to extinction in small populations after MDA for various scenarios in this model is calculated analytically. The results indicate that mass drug administration (Firstly, R c must be sustained at R c  < 1.2 to avoid the rapid re-establishment of infections in the population. Secondly, the MDA must produce effective cure rates of >95% to have a non-negligible probability of successful elimination. Stochastic fluctuations only significantly affect the probability of extinction in populations of about 1000 individuals or less. The expected time to extinction via stochastic fluctuation is less than 10 years only in populations less than about 150 individuals. Clustering of secondary infections and of MDA distribution both contribute positively to the potential probability of success, indicating that MDA would most effectively be administered at the household level. There are very limited circumstances in which MDA will lead to local malaria elimination with a substantial probability.

  10. Climate warming during and in the aftermath of the End-Permian mass extinction (Arne Richter Award for Outstanding ECSs Lecture)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Yadong

    2017-04-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction saw the most catastrophic diversity loss in the Phanerozoic. The extinction event was accompanied with a rapid temperature raise from 25 °C to 32 °C across the Permian-Triassic boundary, suggesting a warming climate might have played an important role in the extinction event. This high amplitude warming of 8-10 °C is seen in South China, Iran and Armenia, pointing to a true global signature. Oxygen isotope data measured from conodont phosphate in South China suggest that the temperature continued to increase in the Early Triassic and reached the first thermal maximum in the late Griesbachian. The late Griesbachian Thermal Maximum accompanied with the extinction of many Permian holdovers, such as the conodont Hindeodus and the ammonoid Otoceras. The following substage, the Dienerian, saw a 3-4 °C temperature decrease which coincides with a transient recovery pulse in which several groups began to diversify. The early and middle Smithian represent a relatively stable high temperature plateau but the late Smithian saw a further 2°C temperature increase to produce sea surface temperatures that exceeded 40°C. The Late Smithian Thermal Maximum coincided with major diversity loss of marine nektons such as conodont and ammonoid and minor extinctions among many other groups such as bivalves and gastropods. The Spathian saw an initial cooling trend followed by relatively stable temperatures in the middle part and further cooling at the end of this stage and stabilization of temperatures in the earliest Middle Triassic. High amplitude temperature changes may have played a vital role in controlling the pace of recovery in the aftermath of the end Permian mass extinction.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Briggs, J C

    1991-10-01

    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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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

  17. Sudden productivity collapse associated with the Triassic-Jurassic boundary mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Ward, P D; Haggart, J W; Carter, E S; Wilbur, D; Tipper, H W; Evans, T

    2001-05-11

    The end-Triassic mass extinction is one of the five most catastrophic in Phanerozoic Earth history. Here we report carbon isotope evidence of a pronounced productivity collapse at the boundary, coincident with a sudden extinction among marine plankton, from stratigraphic sections on the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada. This signal is similar to (though smaller than) the carbon isotope excursions associated with the Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous-Tertiary events.

  18. Periodicity of mass extinctions without an extraterrestrial cause.

    PubMed

    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.

  19. Initial pulse of Siberian Traps sills as the trigger of the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Burgess, S D; Muirhead, J D; Bowring, S A

    2017-07-31

    Mass extinction events are short-lived and characterized by catastrophic biosphere collapse and subsequent reorganization. Their abrupt nature necessitates a similarly short-lived trigger, and large igneous province magmatism is often implicated. However, large igneous provinces are long-lived compared to mass extinctions. Therefore, if large igneous provinces are an effective trigger, a subinterval of magmatism must be responsible for driving deleterious environmental effects. The onset of Earth's most severe extinction, the end-Permian, coincided with an abrupt change in the emplacement style of the contemporaneous Siberian Traps large igneous province, from dominantly flood lavas to sill intrusions. Here we identify the initial emplacement pulse of laterally extensive sills as the critical deadly interval. Heat from these sills exposed untapped volatile-fertile sediments to contact metamorphism, likely liberating the massive greenhouse gas volumes needed to drive extinction. These observations suggest that large igneous provinces characterized by sill complexes are more likely to trigger catastrophic global environmental change than their flood basalt- and/or dike-dominated counterparts.Although the mass end-Permian extinction is linked to large igneous provinces, its trigger remains unclear. Here, the authors propose that the abrupt change from flood lavas to sills resulted in the heating of sediments and led to the release of large-scale greenhouse gases to drive the end-Permian extinction.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-17

    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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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

  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. 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

  6. The end-cretaceous mass extinction in the marine realm: year 2000 assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keller, Gerta

    2001-07-01

    The current database indicates that the terminal decline and extinction, or near extinction, of many groups commonly attributed to an asteroid or comet impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary (e.g., ammonites, bivalves, planktic foraminifera) began during the last 500 k.y. of the Maastrichtian. By the time of the K-T boundary, extinction-prone tropical and subtropical marine faunas and floras were almost gone, or had severely reduced species populations struggling to survive. The K-T boundary kill-effect was largely restricted to these struggling tropical and subtropical populations that accounted for 2/3 of the species among planktic foraminifera, but less than 10% of the total foraminiferal population. No significant extinctions occurred among ecological generalists that dominated across latitudes. No single kill mechanism can account for this mass extinction pattern. The last 500 k.y. of the Maastrichtian were characterized by a series of rapid and extreme climate changes characterized by 3-4°C warming between 65.4 and 65.2 Ma, major volcanic activity between 65.4 and 65.2 Ma, a spherule-producing event between 65.3 and 65.2 Ma, and an impact at the K-T boundary ( 65.0 Ma). All of these events caused major environmental perturbations and biotic stresses that resulted in severe reductions in species populations and extinctions that culminated at the K-T boundary. The mass extinction pattern, and the parallel environmental changes during the last 500 k.y. of the Maastrichtian, suggest that both long-term (climate, sea-level) and short-term (impact, volcanism) events contributed to the K-T boundary mass extinction.

  7. Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

    PubMed Central

    Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2017-01-01

    The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event. PMID:28696295

  8. 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

  9. Simulated Hothouse Climate at the P-Tr and implications for the mass extinction (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winguth, A. M.; Winguth, C.

    2013-12-01

    The Permian-Triassic Boundary (P-Tr, ~251.5 Ma) marks the largest mass extinction of the Phanerozoic, with a reduction of marine family diversity of 60% and an extinction of marine organisms of 90%, and is characterized by large oscillatory excursions of carbon isotopes, wide-spread anoxia and extreme sea surface temperatures, reaching over 40 C in the equatorial Tethys. Anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel burning over the next centuries will probably lead to a transition into a hothouse world with an ice-free climate analog to that at the P-Tr. The P-Tr global warming has been linked to greenhouse emissions from the Siberian Traps and associated coal-bed intrusions and likely led to severe environmental consequences, such as a decline in the dissolved oxygen concentration and marine productivity. In order to understand these changes, the pole-to-equator heat transport and feedbacks in the climate system have been explored with climate simulations, temperature reconstructions, climate-sensitive sediments, and the distribution of biomes. The response of the ocean circulation to a perturbation of ~4,900 PgC, comparable to the total Earth's fossil fuel inventory, leads to a global temperature increase by 3-4 C and an increase in ocean stratification. The pole-to-equator gradient changes remain small, because an ice-free world already existed during the Late Permian, with an atmospheric CO2 concentration of ~4x the preindustrial value, prior to the carbon pulse. However, the climatic changes might have been amplified by feedback processes. The greenhouse-induced warming could have led to a weakening of the Hadley cell and an associated decrease in the trade winds and equatorial primary productivity. A decline of cloud condensation nuclei due to these changes would lead to reduction of the cloud optical depth, particularly in high latitudes. Results from a climate simulation with reduced optical depth suggest a polar warming of ~5-7 C and a reduction of the pole

  10. Microbial response to limited nutrients in shallow water immediately after the end-Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Jia, C; Huang, J; Kershaw, S; Luo, G; Farabegoli, E; Perri, M C; Chen, L; Bai, X; Xie, S

    2012-01-01

    Previous work indicates that a variety of microbes bloomed in the oceans after the end-Permian faunal mass extinction, but evidence is sporadically documented. Thus, the nature and geographic distribution of such microbes and their associations are unclear, addressed in this study using a series of biomarker groups. On the basis of microbial biomarker records of the 2-methylhopane index, evidence is presented for cyanobacterial blooms in both the western and eastern Tethys Sea and in both shallow and deep waters, after the mass extinction. The enhanced relative abundance of C(28) (expressed by the C(28) /C(29) ratio of) regular steranes suggests a bloom of prasinophyte algae occurred immediately after the end-Permian faunal extinction, comparable with those observed in some other mass extinctions in Phanerozoic. Significantly, cyanobacteria and prasinophyte algae show a synchronized onset of bloom in the shallow water Bulla section, north Italy, inferring for the first time their coupled response to the biotic crisis and the associated environmental conditions. However, in Meishan of Zhejiang Province in south China, the bloom declined earlier than in Bulla. The association of increased 2-methylhopane index with a negative shift in the nitrogen isotope composition infers a scenario of enhanced nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria immediately after the faunal mass extinction. N(2) fixation by cyanobacteria is here interpreted to have provided prasinophyte algae with ammonium in nutrient-limited shallow waters, and thus caused their associated blooms.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Morphological disparity of ammonoids and the mark of Permian mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Villier, Loïc; Korn, Dieter

    2004-10-08

    The taxonomic diversity of ammonoids, in terms of the number of taxa preserved, provides an incomplete picture of the extinction pattern during the Permian because of a strongly biased fossil record. The analysis of morphological disparity (the variety of shell shapes) is a powerful complementary tool for testing hypotheses about the selectivity of extinction and permits the recognition of three distinct patterns. First, a trend of decreasing disparity, ranging for about 30 million years, led to a minimum disparity immediately before the Permian-Triassic boundary. Second, the strongly selective Capitanian crisis fits a model of background extinction driven by standard environmental changes. Third, the end-Permian mass extinction operated as a random, nonselective sorting of morphologies, which is consistent with a catastrophic cause.

  15. Carbon isotopic record of terrestrial ecosystems spanning the Late Miocene extinction of Oreopithecus bambolii, Baccinello Basin (Tuscany, Italy).

    PubMed

    Matson, Samuel D; Rook, Lorenzo; Oms, Oriol; Fox, David L

    2012-07-01

    Oreopithecus bambolii is a Late Miocene hominoid with an extensive fossil record in the Baccinello Basin (Tuscany, Italy), and was the only western European hominoid to survive a major extinction event ca. 9.6 Ma (millions of years ago). Oreopithecus lived in the insular Tusco-Sardinian paleobioprovince, where it evolved many unique anatomical specializations that make it important for understanding the mechanisms and history of Late Miocene hominoid evolution. The eventual extinction of Oreopithecus and its associated fauna ca. 6.5 Ma has generally been attributed to interaction with species that arrived from continental Europe following tectonic collision of the Tusco-Sardinian province with mainland Italy, but palynological, paleontological, and sedimentological records indicate an environmental shift toward more variable climate across the extinction event. To explore the possibility of environmental change as a contributing factor in the extinction of Oreopithecus, we developed a stable carbon and oxygen isotope record from organic matter in paleosols from the Baccinello Basin. These data show very low temporal and spatial variability (indicating plant ecosystem stability through time and space) and provide no evidence for ecologically significant changes in floral composition spanning the extinction event, suggesting that environmental change was not an underlying cause for the extinction of Oreopithecus and its associated fauna. The carbon isotope values fall entirely within the range of isotopic variability for modern plants following the C(3) photosynthetic pathway (trees, shrubs, cool-season grasses), indicating that C(4) vegetation (warm-season grasses) was not an important component of biomass. When corrected for temporal variation in the carbon isotopic composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the paleosol carbon isotope values are consistent with predicted values based on modern plants and the Baccinello palynoflora, supporting the reliability of

  16. 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.

  17. Disentangling the Hettangian carbon isotope record: Implications for the aftermath of the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartolini, A.; Guex, J.; Spangenberg, J. E.; Schoene, B.; Taylor, D. G.; Schaltegger, U.; Atudorei, V.

    2012-01-01

    This study provides an organic carbon stable isotope (δ13Corg) record calibrated with detailed ammonite biostratigraphy, following the end-Triassic biological crisis. Precise correlation between this crucial fossil group and the δ13Corg record is key to understanding feedbacks between biological and environmental events following mass extinction. The latest Triassic and Hettangian δ13Corg record shows several negative and positive excursions. The end-Triassic negative shift coinciding with the mass extinction interval is followed by a positive excursion in the earliest Hettangian Psiloceras spelae beds, which marks the onset of recovery in the marine ecosystem. This positive trend is interrupted by a second negative δ13Corg excursion in the P. pacificum beds related to a minor ammonite extinction event. This pattern of the δ13Corg curve culminates in the uppermost Hettangian Angulata Zone major positive excursion. This indicates that both the ecosystem and the carbon cycle remained in a state of perturbation for at least 2 Ma, although the recovery of some pelagic taxa already began at the base of Jurassic. The early and late Hettangian positive δ13Corg excursions have been confused in several recent papers. Here, we show that during the Hettangian there are indeed two distinct positive δ13Corg excursions. Phases of anoxia and further pulses of Central Atlantic Magmatic Province volcanism during the Hettangian might have inhibited the full recovery for that interval of time. The main Liasicus-Angulata organic positive CIE (carbon isotope excursion) during the Late Hettangian might be related to gradual decreasing of pCO2 due to protracted high organic burial, and coincides with a second phase of recovery, as indicated by a pulse of ammonoid diversification.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  20. Severe environmental effects of Chicxulub impact imply key role in end-Cretaceous mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brugger, Julia; Feulner, Georg; Petri, Stefan

    2017-04-01

    66 million years ago, during the most recent of the five severe mass extinctions in Earth's history, non-avian dinosaurs and many other organisms became extinct. The cause of this end-Cretaceous mass extinction is seen in either flood-basalt eruptions or an asteroid impact. Modeling the climatic changes after the Chicxulub asteroid impact allow to assess its contribution to the extinction event and to analyze the short-term and long-term response of the climate and the biosphere to the impact. Existing studies either investigated the effect of dust, which is now believed to play a minor role, or used one-dimensional, non-coupled models. In contrast, we use a coupled climate model to explore the longer lasting cooling due to sulfate aerosols. Based on data from geophysical impact modeling, we set up simulations with different stratospheric residence times for sulfate aerosols. Depending on this residence time, global surface air temperature decreased by at least 26°C, with 3 to 16 years subfreezing temperatures and a recovery time larger than 30 years. Vigorous ocean mixing, caused by the fast cooling of the surface ocean, might have perturbed marine ecosystems by the upwelling of nutrients. The dramatic climatic changes seen in our simulations imply severe environmental effects and therefore a significant contribution of the impact in the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

    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.

  2. 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

    2016-04-05

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Signature of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction in the modern biota.

    PubMed

    Krug, Andrew Z; Jablonski, David; Valentine, James W

    2009-02-06

    The long-term effects of mass extinctions on spatial and evolutionary dynamics have been poorly studied. Here we show that the evolutionary consequences of the end-Cretaceous [Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg)] mass extinction persist in present-day biogeography. The geologic ages of genera of living marine bivalves show a significant break from a smooth exponential distribution, corresponding to the K/Pg boundary. The break reflects a permanent increase in origination rates, intermediate between the Mesozoic rate and the post-extinction recovery pulse. This global rate shift is most clearly seen today in tropical bioprovinces and weakens toward the poles. Coupled with the modern geographic distributions of taxa originating before and after the K/Pg boundary, this spatial pattern indicates that tropical origination rates after the K/Pg event have left a permanent mark on the taxonomic and biogeographic structure of the modern biota, despite the complex Cenozoic history of marine environments.

  8. Organic-Chemical Clues to the Theory of Impacts as a Cause of Mass Extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sack, N. J.

    1988-11-01

    The reasons for the mass extinctions, which occur from time to time in Earth's history-as, e.g., the dinosaur extinction at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary 65 myr ago - are still not satisfactorily cleared up. A possible reason might be the impact of one or several comets of several kilometers in diameter. In this paper the astrophysical background of this hypothesis and organic-chemical processes during an impact will be discussed. Quantitative estimations are given, which show that the amount of organic substances brought to the Earth may be of the same order of magnitude as the normal biological production of organic material. Investigations are proposed to examine the organic-chemical composition of profiles of the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary and other boundaries, at which mass extinction had occurred, in order to find anomalies as consequences of impacts.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Body Size Reductions in Nonmammalian Eutheriodont Therapsids (Synapsida) during the End-Permian Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    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

  13. Persistent predator–prey dynamics revealed by mass extinction

    PubMed Central

    Sallan, Lauren Cole; Kammer, Thomas W.; Ausich, William I.; Cook, Lewis A.

    2011-01-01

    Predator–prey interactions are thought by many researchers to define both modern ecosystems and past macroevolutionary events. In modern ecosystems, experimental removal or addition of taxa is often used to determine trophic relationships and predator identity. Both characteristics are notoriously difficult to infer in the fossil record, where evidence of predation is usually limited to damage from failed attacks, individual stomach contents, one-sided escalation, or modern analogs. As a result, the role of predation in macroevolution is often dismissed in favor of competition and abiotic factors. Here we show that the end-Devonian Hangenberg event (359 Mya) was a natural experiment in which vertebrate predators were both removed and added to an otherwise stable prey fauna, revealing specific and persistent trophic interactions. Despite apparently favorable environmental conditions, crinoids diversified only after removal of their vertebrate consumers, exhibiting predatory release on a geological time scale. In contrast, later Mississippian (359–318 Mya) camerate crinoids declined precipitously in the face of increasing predation pressure from new durophagous fishes. Camerate failure is linked to the retention of obsolete defenses or “legacy adaptations” that prevented coevolutionary escalation. Our results suggest that major crinoid evolutionary phenomena, including rapid diversification, faunal turnover, and species selection, might be linked to vertebrate predation. Thus, interactions observed in small ecosystems, such as Lotka-Volterra cycles and trophic cascades, could operate at geologic time scales and higher taxonomic ranks. Both trophic knock-on effects and retention of obsolete traits might be common in the aftermath of predator extinction. PMID:21536875

  14. A unified theory of impact crises and mass extinctions: quantitative tests.

    PubMed

    Rampino, M R; Haggerty, B M; Pagano, T C

    1997-05-30

    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 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 the impacts of objects > or = 5 km in diameter (> or = 10(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 > or = 10 km in diameter (> or = 10(8) Mt events). Smaller impacts (approximately 10(6) Mt), with significant regional 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, also suggest that major mass extinctions require large impacts, and that a step in the kill curve may exist at impacts that produce craters of approximately 100 km diameter, smaller impacts being capable of only relatively weak extinction pulses. Single impact craters less than approximately 60 km in diameter should not be associated with detectable global extinction pulses (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

  15. Influence of Feeding and Body Mass on IUCN Extinction Threat of Extant Marine and Terrestrial Mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lam, G.; Wang, I. M.; Heim, N.; Payne, J.

    2016-12-01

    Extinction is a fundamental phenomenon that has been occurring for millions of years and is critical to the development of new organisms and niches. However, the current extinction rate is now one hundred to a thousand times the past background extinction rate due to human influences and rapidly changing environments. Research on geographic range and life history has been performed in extinction analyses, but rarely any on feeding type and trophic level. We compiled data from the IUCN Red List Database, Paleobiology database and diets from Pauly et al. (1998) to explore the possible correlation between various aspects of ecology and extinction threat. By doing so, we can better understand where to focus our conservation efforts, and what type of approach will reap the best results. We discovered that terrestrial carnivores are slightly less at risk than herbivores and omnivores, and that the feeding and tiering of marine mammals have minimal effect on their IUCN threat level. Body mass is the most influential factor on risk level, with larger adult body masses being most at risk.

  16. Direct evaluation of aerosol-mass loadings from multispectral extinction data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Box, M. A.; Mckellar, B. H. J.

    1978-01-01

    A formula is derived for the evaluation of the total volume of aerosol in a column, and hence for the aerosol columnar mass loading, from multispectral extinction data. This formula is exact in the 'anomalous diffraction' approximation, and reasonably accurate for Mie scattering, over a fairly wide range of refractive indices typical of real aerosols.

  17. Characteristics of winter and summer aerosol mass and light extinction on the Colorado plateau.

    PubMed

    Sisler, J F; Malm, W C

    1997-03-01

    This paper focuses on the spatial variability of fine mass and extinction budgets taking data from the winter and summer months of 1992. The study area included southern California, southern Nevada, southern Utah, Arizona, and parts of New Mexico. Two types of monitoring sites were operated: intensive and secondary or satellite. At the intensive sites, all major aerosol species were measured as well as extinction or scattering. At the satellite sites, trace elements including sulfur and hydrogen, absorption, and gravimetric fine mass were measured. Where all aerosol species are measured, the spatial variability of extinction budgets is examined assuming an externally mixed aerosol. At the satellite sites, an approximated fine mass budget is derived and the variability of these budgets in space and time are examined. This effort was part of a study called Project MOHAVE (Measurement of Haze and Visual Effects) carried out with the principal objective of understanding the relative contribution of regional and local sources to visibility impairment on the Colorado Plateau and specifically, the Grand Canyon. Generally, the contribution of sulfates, organics, and absorption to extinction are about equal at 20-30% with the coarse mass fraction being about 10-20%. The one exception is in southern California where the nitrate contribution tends to be higher in the winter than summer. During the summer, concentration gradients tend to be spread out across the study area, while during the winter months, variability in concentration and budgets tends to occur on a smaller scale.

  18. Direct evaluation of aerosol-mass loadings from multispectral extinction data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Box, M. A.; Mckellar, B. H. J.

    1978-01-01

    A formula is derived for the evaluation of the total volume of aerosol in a column, and hence for the aerosol columnar mass loading, from multispectral extinction data. This formula is exact in the 'anomalous diffraction' approximation, and reasonably accurate for Mie scattering, over a fairly wide range of refractive indices typical of real aerosols.

  19. 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.

  20. Reassessing The Recovery of Marine Primary Production After the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sepúlveda, J.; Alegret, L.; Wooton, E.; Summons, R. E.

    2010-12-01

    The hypothesized post-extinction (“Strangelove” and “Living Ocean”; Hsü et al., 1982; D’Hondt et al., 1998; D’Hondt, 2005) models for the status of marine primary productivity and the global carbon cycle following the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction remain controversial. Recently, we provided provoking geochemical and micropaleontological evidence suggestive of an early resurgence in marine primary production and food supply reaching the seafloor after the K-Pg (Alegret and Thomas, 2009; Sepúlveda et al., 2009). Here, we present a more comprehensive investigation of the post-impact ecosystem recovery based on investigations of a broader sampling of sedimentary sections. Our study examines the lipid biomarker record of marine organisms in combination with stable N- and C-isotopes in eight remarkably expanded K-Pg sections representative of different bathymetric zones along a latitudinal gradient (Denmark, France, Spain, and Tunisia). We discuss secular variations in lipid biomarkers and stable isotopes in relation to environmental conditions and paleoecology during the aftermath of the K-Pg event and provide a new view of the ecological recovery in marine ecosystems that challenges previously postulated scenarios. Alegret, L., Thomas. E., 2009. Food supply to the seafloor in the Pacific Ocean after the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary event. Marine Micropaleontology 73, 105-116. D’Hondt, S., et al., 1998. Organic carbon fluxes and ecological recovery from the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Science 282, 276-79. D’Hondt, S., 2005. Consequences of the Cretaceous/Paleogene Mass Extinction for marine ecosystems. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 36, 295-317. Hsü, KJ., et al., 1982. Mass mortality and its environmental and evolutionary conse- quences. Science 216, 249-56. Sepúlveda, J., et al., 2009. Rapid Resurgence of Marine Productivity After the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction. Science 326, 129-132.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. © 2015 The Authors.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Detecting patterns of species diversification in the presence of both rate shifts and mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Laurent, Sacha; Robinson-Rechavi, Marc; Salamin, Nicolas

    2015-08-11

    Recent methodological advances allow better examination of speciation and extinction processes and patterns. A major open question is the origin of large discrepancies in species number between groups of the same age. Existing frameworks to model this diversity either focus on changes between lineages, neglecting global effects such as mass extinctions, or focus on changes over time which would affect all lineages. Yet it seems probable that both lineages differences and mass extinctions affect the same groups. Here we used simulations to test the performance of two widely used methods under complex scenarios of diversification. We report good performances, although with a tendency to over-predict events with increasing complexity of the scenario. Overall, we find that lineage shifts are better detected than mass extinctions. This work has significance to assess the methods currently used to estimate changes in diversification using phylogenetic trees. Our results also point toward the need to develop new models of diversification to expand our capabilities to analyse realistic and complex evolutionary scenarios.

  6. 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

  7. Abrupt and gradual extinction among Late Permian land vertebrates in the Karoo basin, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Ward, Peter D; Botha, Jennifer; Buick, Roger; De Kock, Michiel O; Erwin, Douglas H; Garrison, Geoffrey H; Kirschvink, Joseph L; Smith, Roger

    2005-02-04

    The Karoo basin of South Africa exposes a succession of Upper Permian to Lower Triassic terrestrial strata containing abundant terrestrial vertebrate fossils. Paleomagnetic/magnetostratigraphic and carbon-isotope data allow sections to be correlated across the basin. With this stratigraphy, the vertebrate fossil data show a gradual extinction in the Upper Permian punctuated by an enhanced extinction pulse at the Permian-Triassic boundary interval, particularly among the dicynodont therapsids, coinciding with negative carbon-isotope anomalies.

  8. Late Quaternary extinction of a tree species in eastern North America

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Stephen T.; Weng, Chengyu

    1999-01-01

    Widespread species- and genus-level extinctions of mammals in North America and Europe occurred during the last deglaciation [16,000–9,000 yr B.P. (by 14C)], a period of rapid and often abrupt climatic and vegetational change. These extinctions are variously ascribed to environmental change and overkill by human hunters. By contrast, plant extinctions since the Middle Pleistocene are undocumented, suggesting that plant species have been able to respond to environmental changes of the past several glacial/interglacial cycles by migration. We provide evidence from morphological studies of fossil cones and anatomical studies of fossil needles that a now-extinct species of spruce (Picea critchfieldii sp. nov.) was widespread in eastern North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. P. critchfieldii was dominant in vegetation of the Lower Mississippi Valley, and extended at least as far east as western Georgia. P. critchfieldii disappeared during the last deglaciation, and its extinction is not directly attributable to human activities. Similarly widespread plant species may be at risk of extinction in the face of future climate change. PMID:10570161

  9. Late quaternary extinction of a tree species in eastern North America.

    PubMed

    Jackson, S T; Weng, C

    1999-11-23

    Widespread species- and genus-level extinctions of mammals in North America and Europe occurred during the last deglaciation [16,000-9,000 yr B.P. (by (14)C)], a period of rapid and often abrupt climatic and vegetational change. These extinctions are variously ascribed to environmental change and overkill by human hunters. By contrast, plant extinctions since the Middle Pleistocene are undocumented, suggesting that plant species have been able to respond to environmental changes of the past several glacial/interglacial cycles by migration. We provide evidence from morphological studies of fossil cones and anatomical studies of fossil needles that a now-extinct species of spruce (Picea critchfieldii sp. nov.) was widespread in eastern North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. P. critchfieldii was dominant in vegetation of the Lower Mississippi Valley, and extended at least as far east as western Georgia. P. critchfieldii disappeared during the last deglaciation, and its extinction is not directly attributable to human activities. Similarly widespread plant species may be at risk of extinction in the face of future climate change.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

    2015-08-25

    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. Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversity: mass extinctions and temporal heterogeneity in geological megabiases affecting vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Benson, Roger B J; Butler, Richard J; Lindgren, Johan; Smith, Adam S

    2010-03-22

    The fossil record is our only direct means for evaluating shifts in biodiversity through Earth's history. However, analyses of fossil marine invertebrates have demonstrated that geological megabiases profoundly influence fossil preservation and discovery, obscuring true diversity signals. Comparable studies of vertebrate palaeodiversity patterns remain in their infancy. A new species-level dataset of Mesozoic marine tetrapod occurrences was compared with a proxy for temporal variation in the volume and facies diversity of fossiliferous rock (number of marine fossiliferous formations: FMF). A strong correlation between taxic diversity and FMF is present during the Cretaceous. Weak or no correlation of Jurassic data suggests a qualitatively different sampling regime resulting from five apparent peaks in Triassic-Jurassic diversity. These correspond to a small number of European formations that have been the subject of intensive collecting, and represent 'Lagerstätten effects'. Consideration of sampling biases allows re-evaluation of proposed mass extinction events. Marine tetrapod diversity declined during the Carnian or Norian. However, the proposed end-Triassic extinction event cannot be recognized with confidence. Some evidence supports an extinction event near the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, but the proposed end-Cenomanian extinction is probably an artefact of poor sampling. Marine tetrapod diversity underwent a long-term decline prior to the Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction.

  15. Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversity: mass extinctions and temporal heterogeneity in geological megabiases affecting vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Benson, Roger B. J.; Butler, Richard J.; Lindgren, Johan; Smith, Adam S.

    2010-01-01

    The fossil record is our only direct means for evaluating shifts in biodiversity through Earth's history. However, analyses of fossil marine invertebrates have demonstrated that geological megabiases profoundly influence fossil preservation and discovery, obscuring true diversity signals. Comparable studies of vertebrate palaeodiversity patterns remain in their infancy. A new species-level dataset of Mesozoic marine tetrapod occurrences was compared with a proxy for temporal variation in the volume and facies diversity of fossiliferous rock (number of marine fossiliferous formations: FMF). A strong correlation between taxic diversity and FMF is present during the Cretaceous. Weak or no correlation of Jurassic data suggests a qualitatively different sampling regime resulting from five apparent peaks in Triassic–Jurassic diversity. These correspond to a small number of European formations that have been the subject of intensive collecting, and represent ‘Lagerstätten effects’. Consideration of sampling biases allows re-evaluation of proposed mass extinction events. Marine tetrapod diversity declined during the Carnian or Norian. However, the proposed end-Triassic extinction event cannot be recognized with confidence. Some evidence supports an extinction event near the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, but the proposed end-Cenomanian extinction is probably an artefact of poor sampling. Marine tetrapod diversity underwent a long-term decline prior to the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction. PMID:19923126

  16. Evaluating the temporal link between Siberian Traps magmatism and the end-Permian mass extinction (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, S. D.; Bowring, S. A.

    2013-12-01

    Interest in Large Igneous Provinces as agents for massive climatic and biological change is steadily increasing, though the temporal constraints on both are seldom precise enough to allow detailed testing of a causal relationship. The end-Permian mass extinction is one of the most biologically important and intensely studied events in Earth history and has been linked to many possible trigger mechanisms, from voluminous volcanism to bolide impact. Proposed kill mechanisms range from acidic and/or anoxic oceans to a cocktail of toxic gases, although the link between trigger and kill mechanisms is unconstrained due to the lack of a high-precision timeline. Critical to assessing the plausibility of different trigger and kill mechanisms is an accurate age model for the biotic crisis and the perturbations to the global carbon cycle and ocean chemistry. Recent work using the EARTHTIME U/Pb tracer solution has refined the timing of the onset and duration of the marine mass extinction event and the earliest Triassic recovery at the GSSP for the Permian-Triassic boundary in Meishan, China. This work constrains the mass extinction duration to less than 100 kyr and provides an accurate and precise time point for the onset of extinction, against which the timing of potential trigger mechanisms may be compared. For more than two decades, eruption and emplacement of the Siberian traps has been implicated as a potential trigger of the end-Permian extinction. In this scenario, magmatism drives the biotic crisis through mobilization of volatiles from the sedimentary rock with which intruding and erupting magmas interact. Massive volatile release is believed to trigger major changes in atmospheric chemistry and temperature, both of which have been proposed as kill mechanisms. Current temporal constrains on the timing and duration of the Siberian magmatism are an order of magnitude less precise than those for the mass extinction event and associated environmental perturbations

  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. Boron isotopes in brachiopods during the end-Permian mass extinction: constraints on pH evolution and seawater chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jurikova, Hana; Gutjahr, Marcus; Liebetrau, Volker; Brand, Uwe; Posenato, Renato; Garbelli, Claudio; Angiolini, Lucia; Eisenhauer, Anton

    2017-04-01

    The global biogeochemical cycling of carbon is fundamental for life on Earth with the ocean playing a key role as the largest and dynamically evolving CO2 reservoir. The boron isotope composition (commonly expressed in δ11B) of marine calcium carbonate is considered to be one of the most reliable paleo-pH proxies, potentially enabling us to reconstruct past ocean pH changes and understand carbon cycle perturbations along Earth's geological record (e.g. Foster et al., 2008; Clarkson et al., 2015). Brachiopods present an advantageous and largely underutilised archive for Phanerozoic carbon cycle reconstructions considering their high abundance in the geological record and its origin dating back to the early Cambrian. Moreover, their shell made of low-magnesium calcite makes these marine calcifiers more resistant to post-depositional diagenetic alteration of primary chemical signals. We have investigated the δ11B using MC-ICP-MS (Neptune Plus) and B/Ca and other elemental ratios (Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, Al/Ca, Li/Ca, Ba/Ca, Na/Ca and Fe/Ca) using ICP-MS-Quadrupole (Agilent 7500cx) from the same specimens in pristine brachiopod shells from two sections from northern Italy during the Late Permian. These sections cover the δ13C excursion in excess of ˜4 ‰ (Brand et al., 2012) and are associated with major climate and environmental perturbations that lead to the mass extinction event at the Permian-Triassic boundary. Particular emphasis will be placed on the implications of our new paleo-pH estimates on the seawater chemistry during the Late Permian. Brand, U., Posenato, R., Came, R., Affek, H., Angiolini, L., Azmy, K. and Farabegoli, E.: The end-Permian mass extinction: A rapid volcanic CO2 and CH4-climatic catastrophe, Chemical Geology 323, 121-144, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2012.06.015, 2012. Clarkson, M.O., Kasemann, S.A., Wood, R.A., Lenton, T.M., Daines, S.J., Richoz, S., Ohnemueller, F., Meixner, A., Poulton, S.W. and Tipper, E.T.: Ocean acidification and the Permo

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Explosive radiation or cryptic mass extinction? Interpreting signatures in molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Crisp, Michael D; Cook, Lyn G

    2009-09-01

    How biodiversity is generated and maintained underlies many major questions in evolutionary biology, particularly relating to the tempo and pattern of diversification through time. Molecular phylogenies and new analytical methods provide additional tools to help interpret evolutionary processes. Evolutionary rates in lineages sometimes appear punctuated, and such "explosive" radiations are commonly interpreted as adaptive, leading to causative key innovations being sought. Here we argue that an alternative process might explain apparently rapid radiations ("broom-and-handle" or "stemmy" patterns seen in many phylogenies) with no need to invoke dramatic increase in the rate of diversification. We use simulations to show that mass extinction events can produce the same phylogenetic pattern as that currently being interpreted as due to an adaptive radiation. By comparing simulated and empirical phylogenies of Australian and southern African legumes, we find evidence for coincident mass extinctions in multiple lineages that could have resulted from global climate change at the end of the Eocene.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Global microbial carbonate proliferation after the end-Devonian mass extinction: Mainly controlled by demise of skeletal bioconstructors

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Le; Aretz, Markus; Chen, Jitao; Webb, Gregory E.; Wang, Xiangdong

    2016-01-01

    Microbial carbonates commonly flourished following mass extinction events. The end-Devonian (Hangenberg) mass extinction event is a first-order mass extinction on the scale of the ‘Big Five’ extinctions. However, to date, it is still unclear whether global microbial carbonate proliferation occurred after the Hangenberg event. The earliest known Carboniferous stromatolites on tidal flats are described from intertidal environments of the lowermost Tournaisian (Qianheishan Formation) in northwestern China. With other early Tournaisian microbe-dominated bioconstructions extensively distributed on shelves, the Qianheishan stromatolites support microbial carbonate proliferation after the Hangenberg extinction. Additional support comes from quantitative analysis of the abundance of microbe-dominated bioconstructions through the Famennian and early Tournaisian, which shows that they were globally distributed (between 40° latitude on both sides of the palaeoequator) and that their abundance increased distinctly in the early Tournaisian compared to the latest Devonian (Strunian). Comparison of variations in the relative abundance of skeleton- versus microbe-dominated bioconstructions across the Hangenberg and ‘Big Five’ extinctions suggests that changes in abundance of skeletal bioconstructors may play a first-order control on microbial carbonate proliferation during extinction transitions but that microbial proliferation is not a general necessary feature after mass extinctions. PMID:28009013

  6. Global microbial carbonate proliferation after the end-Devonian mass extinction: Mainly controlled by demise of skeletal bioconstructors.

    PubMed

    Yao, Le; Aretz, Markus; Chen, Jitao; Webb, Gregory E; Wang, Xiangdong

    2016-12-23

    Microbial carbonates commonly flourished following mass extinction events. The end-Devonian (Hangenberg) mass extinction event is a first-order mass extinction on the scale of the 'Big Five' extinctions. However, to date, it is still unclear whether global microbial carbonate proliferation occurred after the Hangenberg event. The earliest known Carboniferous stromatolites on tidal flats are described from intertidal environments of the lowermost Tournaisian (Qianheishan Formation) in northwestern China. With other early Tournaisian microbe-dominated bioconstructions extensively distributed on shelves, the Qianheishan stromatolites support microbial carbonate proliferation after the Hangenberg extinction. Additional support comes from quantitative analysis of the abundance of microbe-dominated bioconstructions through the Famennian and early Tournaisian, which shows that they were globally distributed (between 40° latitude on both sides of the palaeoequator) and that their abundance increased distinctly in the early Tournaisian compared to the latest Devonian (Strunian). Comparison of variations in the relative abundance of skeleton- versus microbe-dominated bioconstructions across the Hangenberg and 'Big Five' extinctions suggests that changes in abundance of skeletal bioconstructors may play a first-order control on microbial carbonate proliferation during extinction transitions but that microbial proliferation is not a general necessary feature after mass extinctions.

  7. Global microbial carbonate proliferation after the end-Devonian mass extinction: Mainly controlled by demise of skeletal bioconstructors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yao, Le; Aretz, Markus; Chen, Jitao; Webb, Gregory E.; Wang, Xiangdong

    2016-12-01

    Microbial carbonates commonly flourished following mass extinction events. The end-Devonian (Hangenberg) mass extinction event is a first-order mass extinction on the scale of the ‘Big Five’ extinctions. However, to date, it is still unclear whether global microbial carbonate proliferation occurred after the Hangenberg event. The earliest known Carboniferous stromatolites on tidal flats are described from intertidal environments of the lowermost Tournaisian (Qianheishan Formation) in northwestern China. With other early Tournaisian microbe-dominated bioconstructions extensively distributed on shelves, the Qianheishan stromatolites support microbial carbonate proliferation after the Hangenberg extinction. Additional support comes from quantitative analysis of the abundance of microbe-dominated bioconstructions through the Famennian and early Tournaisian, which shows that they were globally distributed (between 40° latitude on both sides of the palaeoequator) and that their abundance increased distinctly in the early Tournaisian compared to the latest Devonian (Strunian). Comparison of variations in the relative abundance of skeleton- versus microbe-dominated bioconstructions across the Hangenberg and ‘Big Five’ extinctions suggests that changes in abundance of skeletal bioconstructors may play a first-order control on microbial carbonate proliferation during extinction transitions but that microbial proliferation is not a general necessary feature after mass extinctions.

  8. What can experimental geobiology tell us about mass extinctions, past, present and future?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bond, David

    2017-04-01

    We know more than ever about the causes and consequences of Earth's greatest mass extinctions thanks to much improved resolution in the fossil record, dating, and proxies for palaeoenvironmental change. Despite much progress, there is no consensus on what drives ecosystems to collapse. The realisation that Earth is again facing stresses implicated in its past crises (e.g. proximal kill mechanisms such as global warming, ocean acidification and anoxia) has intensified research on the ultimate cause(s) of extinctions (e.g. large igneous provinces and bolide impacts). However, the links between proximal kill mechanisms and their drivers remains poorly understood. Here I evaluate environmental factors implicated in major episodes of species extinctions and explores the mechanistic links by which they did their damage. Experimental geobiology is beginning to unlock the secrets of past crises by examining responses of species to change. Reduced pH, for instance alters the efficacy of fishes' chemical receptors, leaving them less equipped to detect prey, predators and mates - invoking "death-by-celibacy" scenarios. Elevated atmospheric CO2 induces hypercapnic stress (as well as being the root cause of ocean acidification). Prolonged exposure to anoxia causes death without selectivity. Global warming induces a multitude of stresses, primarily linked to increased metabolic rate according to the Q10 law. Experimental geobiologists and Earth scientists could together unravel the causes of past extinctions, better inform understanding of the modern crisis and our approach to the future.

  9. Mass extinctions.

    PubMed

    Morris, Simon Conway

    2005-09-20

    Factors influencing the evolution of complex traits such as body size are notoriously difficult to study but a new review of work on marine iguanas in the Galapagos islands suggests an answer may lie in the interplay of natural and sexual selection.

  10. 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. © The Authors 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

    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 known that the deglacial climate change then 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 a 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 would have resulted in a significant reduction in surface albedo, leading to an increase in global temperature. In this study, we use the UVic Earth System Climate Model (an EMIC) to simulate various scenarios of the megafaunal extinctions, ranging from the catastrophic to more realistic cases, in order to quantify their potential impact on the climate system, and investigate the associated biogeophysical feedbacks between the growing vegetation and rising temperatures. The more realistic experiments include sensitivity tests based on the timing of extinction, tree clearance ration, and size of habitat, as well as a gradual extinction and a simulation involving free (non-prescribed) atmospheric CO2. Overall, most of the paleoclimate simulations and the sensitivity tests yield results that correspond well with our intuition. For the maximum impact scenario, we obtain a surface albedo increase of 0.006, which translates into a global warming of 0.175°C; these numbers are comparable in magnitude to those in similar studies.

  12. Retreat and extinction of the Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus sensu lato).

    PubMed

    Baca, Mateusz; Popović, Danijela; Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Marciszak, Adrian; Urbanowski, Mikołaj; Nadachowski, Adam; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2016-12-01

    The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus sensu lato) is a typical representative of Pleistocene megafauna which became extinct at the end of the Last Glacial. Detailed knowledge of cave bear extinction could explain this spectacular ecological transformation. The paper provides a report on the youngest remains of the cave bear dated to 20,930 ± 140 (14)C years before present (BP). Ancient DNA analyses proved its affiliation to the Ursus ingressus haplotype. Using this record and 205 other dates, we determined, following eight approaches, the extinction time of this mammal at 26,100-24,300 cal. years BP. The time is only slightly earlier, i.e. 27,000-26,100 cal. years BP, when young dates without associated collagen data are excluded. The demise of cave bear falls within the coldest phase of the last glacial period, Greenland Stadial 3. This finding and the significant decrease in the cave bear records with cooling indicate that the drastic climatic changes were responsible for its extinction. Climate deterioration lowered vegetation productivity, on which the cave bear strongly depended as a strict herbivore. The distribution of the last cave bear records in Europe suggests that this animal was vanishing by fragmentation into subpopulations occupying small habitats. One of them was the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland in Poland, where we discovered the latest record of the cave bear and also two other, younger than 25,000 (14)C years BP. The relatively long survival of this bear in karst regions may result from suitable microclimate and continuous access to water provided by deep aquifers, indicating a refugial role of such regions in the Pleistocene for many species.

  13. Retreat and extinction of the Late Pleistocene cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus sensu lato)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baca, Mateusz; Popović, Danijela; Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Marciszak, Adrian; Urbanowski, Mikołaj; Nadachowski, Adam; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2016-12-01

    The cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus sensu lato) is a typical representative of Pleistocene megafauna which became extinct at the end of the Last Glacial. Detailed knowledge of cave bear extinction could explain this spectacular ecological transformation. The paper provides a report on the youngest remains of the cave bear dated to 20,930 ± 140 14C years before present (BP). Ancient DNA analyses proved its affiliation to the Ursus ingressus haplotype. Using this record and 205 other dates, we determined, following eight approaches, the extinction time of this mammal at 26,100-24,300 cal. years BP. The time is only slightly earlier, i.e. 27,000-26,100 cal. years BP, when young dates without associated collagen data are excluded. The demise of cave bear falls within the coldest phase of the last glacial period, Greenland Stadial 3. This finding and the significant decrease in the cave bear records with cooling indicate that the drastic climatic changes were responsible for its extinction. Climate deterioration lowered vegetation productivity, on which the cave bear strongly depended as a strict herbivore. The distribution of the last cave bear records in Europe suggests that this animal was vanishing by fragmentation into subpopulations occupying small habitats. One of them was the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland in Poland, where we discovered the latest record of the cave bear and also two other, younger than 25,000 14C years BP. The relatively long survival of this bear in karst regions may result from suitable microclimate and continuous access to water provided by deep aquifers, indicating a refugial role of such regions in the Pleistocene for many species.

  14. Mercury evidence for pulsed volcanism during the end-Triassic mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Percival, Lawrence M E; Ruhl, Micha; Hesselbo, Stephen P; Jenkyns, Hugh C; Mather, Tamsin A; Whiteside, Jessica H

    2017-07-25

    The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has long been proposed as having a causal relationship with the end-Triassic extinction event (∼201.5 Ma). In North America and northern Africa, CAMP is preserved as multiple basaltic units interbedded with uppermost Triassic to lowermost Jurassic sediments. However, it has been unclear whether this apparent pulsing was a local feature, or if pulses in the intensity of CAMP volcanism characterized the emplacement of the province as a whole. Here, six geographically widespread Triassic-Jurassic records, representing varied paleoenvironments, are analyzed for mercury (Hg) concentrations and Hg/total organic carbon (Hg/TOC) ratios. Volcanism is a major source of mercury to the modern environment. Clear increases in Hg and Hg/TOC are observed at the end-Triassic extinction horizon, confirming that a volcanically induced global Hg cycle perturbation occurred at that time. The established correlation between the extinction horizon and lowest CAMP basalts allows this sedimentary Hg excursion to be stratigraphically tied to a specific flood basalt unit, strengthening the case for volcanic Hg as the driver of sedimentary Hg/TOC spikes. Additional Hg/TOC peaks are also documented between the extinction horizon and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (separated by ∼200 ky), supporting pulsatory intensity of CAMP volcanism across the entire province and providing direct evidence for episodic volatile release during the initial stages of CAMP emplacement. Pulsatory volcanism, and associated perturbations in the ocean-atmosphere system, likely had profound implications for the rate and magnitude of the end-Triassic mass extinction and subsequent biotic recovery.

  15. Mercury evidence for pulsed volcanism during the end-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Percival, Lawrence M. E.; Ruhl, Micha; Hesselbo, Stephen P.; Jenkyns, Hugh C.; Mather, Tamsin A.; Whiteside, Jessica H.

    2017-07-01

    The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has long been proposed as having a causal relationship with the end-Triassic extinction event (˜201.5 Ma). In North America and northern Africa, CAMP is preserved as multiple basaltic units interbedded with uppermost Triassic to lowermost Jurassic sediments. However, it has been unclear whether this apparent pulsing was a local feature, or if pulses in the intensity of CAMP volcanism characterized the emplacement of the province as a whole. Here, six geographically widespread Triassic–Jurassic records, representing varied paleoenvironments, are analyzed for mercury (Hg) concentrations and Hg/total organic carbon (Hg/TOC) ratios. Volcanism is a major source of mercury to the modern environment. Clear increases in Hg and Hg/TOC are observed at the end-Triassic extinction horizon, confirming that a volcanically induced global Hg cycle perturbation occurred at that time. The established correlation between the extinction horizon and lowest CAMP basalts allows this sedimentary Hg excursion to be stratigraphically tied to a specific flood basalt unit, strengthening the case for volcanic Hg as the driver of sedimentary Hg/TOC spikes. Additional Hg/TOC peaks are also documented between the extinction horizon and the Triassic–Jurassic boundary (separated by ˜200 ky), supporting pulsatory intensity of CAMP volcanism across the entire province and providing direct evidence for episodic volatile release during the initial stages of CAMP emplacement. Pulsatory volcanism, and associated perturbations in the ocean–atmosphere system, likely had profound implications for the rate and magnitude of the end-Triassic mass extinction and subsequent biotic recovery.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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 238U/235U (δ238U) and Th/U ratios in a carbonate section at Dawen in southern China. The EH is characterized by shifts toward lower δ238U 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

  17. 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.

  18. Variable Circumstellar Extinction in a Protoplanetary Disk with an Embedded Low-Mass Companion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demidova, T. V.; Grinin, V. P.

    2017-06-01

    The motion of the low-mass companion embedded in a protoplanetary disk perturbs the disk matter periodically. It leads to the large-scale inhomogenity formation. Such structures in the disk have to influence on the propagation of the radiation from a star to an observer. If the protoplanetary disk is observed almost edge-on the structures will intersect the line of sight periodically. We use the hydrodynamic simulations of such disks to explore how an invisible low-mass companions in protoplanetary disks can affect on the circumstellar extinction and the light curves of the young star. The models with circular and eccentric, inclined and coplanar companions orbits were calculated. Our modification of the GADGET-2 code is used for the calculations. The column density of the test particles on the line of sight was calculated as a function of phase of the orbital period. If we propose the dust is well mixed with gas in the ratio 1:100 the column density function determines the behaviour the circumstellar extinction. Our calculations show the periodic variations of the circumstellar extinction can originate in the CB-disk as well in the CS-disk. The results can be used for the explanation of the cyclic activity of UX Ori type stars.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Laboratory mass extinction and size distribution measurements of volcanic ash aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reed, Benjamin; Grainger, Don; Peters, Daniel; McPheat, Robert

    2017-04-01

    This presentation details laboratory measurements of the mass extinction coefficient and size distribution of dispersed volcanic ash aerosol from a wide range of samples collected globally. These eruption specific measurements can be directly applied to improve satellite remote sensing retrievals of mass columnar concentration. The experimental apparatus dispersed volcanic ash in nitrogen gas into an aerosol chamber and used two optical systems to measure spectral extinction over a broad range of wavelengths: a Fourier transform spectrometer made measurements in the infrared, and two diffraction grating spectrometers made measurements covering ultraviolet and visible wavelengths. The combined spectral range was 0.34 - 19 microns. Simultaneously, the size distribution of particles exiting the chamber was measured using a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) and an optical particle counter (OPC). The SMPS and OPC covered the full particle size distribution. The results of these experiments will be presented, and will demonstrate significant variation in the extinction properties of ashes from different eruptions, particularly associated with the SiO2 absorption feature at 9.5 microns.

  4. 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.

  5. Environmental conditions during the Frasnian-Fammenian mass extinction inferred from chlorophyll-derived porphyrin biomarkers.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uveges, B. T.; Junium, C. K.; Cohen, P. A.; Boyer, D.

    2014-12-01

    The widespread mass extinction that occurred across the Frasnian- Fammenian (F-F) boundary was one of the largest losses of biodiversity in Earth's history. The F-F extinction interval is expressed in western New York State by two organic rich black shale intervals known as the Upper and Lower Kellwasser events. These shale intervals are well preserved, thermally immature, and are well constrained in age by conodont biostratigraphy, and thus provide an exceptional opportunity to study the organic material originating from the F-F boundary. In order to test hypotheses about the cause(s) and consequences of the FF biotic crisis, a broader knowledge of the organic carbon sources is needed, and a characterization of the marine primary producer communities will assist in this endeavor. One such avenue is through the study of chlorophyll-derived biomarkers (porphyrins). The organic extracts of powdered shale samples from the Kellwasser horizons were analyzed using HPLC/LC-MSn and diode array UV-Vis spectroscopy. Preliminary data from the Kellwasser intervals reveal only one porphyrin, with a mass (M+H) of 600. The UV-Vis absorbance spectrum (Soret = 405nm, α = 533nm, β = 570nm) of the metallated compound is consistent with that of a vanadyl porphyrin with a free-base (M+H) of 535. Collision-induced mass spectra displays mass losses of 43 and 57 daltons, which are consistent with an extended alkyl chain at the C-8 position. Extended alkyl chains at C-8 are exclusively associated with porphyrins derived from bacteriochlorophyll c, d or e. The presence of bacterioporphyrins is congruous with the episodic presence of anoxic and sulfidic conditions in the photic zone. What is surprising is that a bacteriochlorophyll- derived porphyrin is the most abundant in these sequences, and their study may help to elucidate the conditions surrounding the F-F mass extinction, and further constrain the fluctuations in marine oxygen content in the Upper Devonian Appalachian Basin.

  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. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Late Pleistocene climate change, nutrient cycling, and the megafaunal extinctions in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faith, J. Tyler

    2011-06-01

    This study proposes an ecological mechanism for the terminal Pleistocene population collapse and subsequent extinction of North American megafauna. Observations of modern ecosystems indicate that feedback mechanisms between plant nutrient content, nitrogen cycling, and herbivore-plant interactions can vary between a nutrient accelerating mode favoring increased herbivore biomass and a nutrient decelerating mode characterized by reduced herbivore biomass. These alternate modes are determined largely by plant nitrogen content. Plant nitrogen content is known to be influenced by atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, temperature, and precipitation. It is argued that Lateglacial climate change, particularly increases in atmospheric CO 2, shifted herbivore-ecosystem dynamics from a nutrient accelerating mode to a nutrient decelerating mode at the end of the Pleistocene, leading to reduced megafaunal population densities. An examination of Sporormiella records - a proxy for megaherbivore biomass - indicates that megafaunal populations collapsed first in the east and later in the west, possibly reflecting regional differences in precipitation or vegetation structure. The fortuitous intersection of the climatically driven nitrogen sink, followed by any one or combination of subsequent anthropogenic, environmental, or extra-terrestrial mechanisms could explain why extinctions took place at the end of the Pleistocene rather than during previous glacial-interglacial cycles.

  12. Consequences of extinction in tropical peat-forming vegetation of the Middle to Late Pennsylvanian (Westphalian-Stephanian)

    SciTech Connect

    DiMichele, W.A. . Dept. of Paleobiology); Phillips, T.L. . Dept. of Plant Biology)

    1992-01-01

    Peat-forming environments (coals) were major landscape elements of the Pennsylvanian tropics. Mires reached a pantropical zenith during the 9 Ma of the Westphalian when long intervals of similar vegetation were separated by short intervals of rapid change. Differences between successive vegetation types primarily reflect different proportions of several major habitat-specific subfloras within which species turnover occurred. A hierarchy of organizational levels is suggested in which biotic interactions helped structure and constrain patterns of species replacement. Lycopsids were the framework trees of nearly all Westphalian mires; tree ferns and pteridosperm were important subdominants by the late Westphalian. Environmental changes, largely climatic, during the Westphalian-Stephanian transition resulted in extinction of most mire species, particularly trees. Tree ferns dominated Stephanian mires following a short transitional period of small-lycopsid and fern abundance. Tree ferns were cheaply constructed opportunists and their rise in abundance coincided with an increase in species numbers throughout tropical lowlands. Within mires there was an increase in physical size of plants from several major lineages. The structure and dynamics of Stephanian mires differed from the Westphalian; previously sharp distinctions between mires and other lowland floras diminished. The Westphalian to Stephanian vegetational changes suggest that ecosystems can display a brittle'' response to environmental change. Such threshold responses are a likely consequences of levels of extinction high enough to disrupt ecosystem fabric. The success of opportunistic lineages following loss of indigenous mire vegetation constitutes a secondary replacement, with establishment of a new equilibrium within hundreds of thousands of years.

  13. Evidence for reduced export productivity following the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esmeray-Senlet, Selen; Wright, James D.; Olsson, Richard K.; Miller, Kenneth G.; Browning, James V.; Quan, Tracy M.

    2015-06-01

    The Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) mass extinction was associated with a collapse in the carbon isotopic (δ13C) gradient between planktonic and benthic foraminifera and a decrease in bulk carbonate δ13C values. These perturbations have been explained by several hypotheses: global collapse of primary productivity (Strangelove Ocean), greatly reduced export but not primary productivity (Living Ocean), little or no reduction in export productivity (Resilient Ocean), and geographic heterogeneity in the change of export productivity (Heterogeneous Ocean). We tested primary versus export productivity changes in the paleoshelf of New Jersey, where δ13C values and organic carbon accumulation rates can distinguish among different ocean responses. On the shelf, the K/Pg boundary is associated with a ~2.5‰ δ13C decrease in bulk carbonate, a ~0.8‰ δ13C decrease in organic carbon, a collapse of the surface to bottom δ13C gradient, and a drop in organic carbon accumulation rates. We interpret an early Danian ~1.0‰ planktonic foraminiferal δ13C gradient, a ~0.75‰ cross-shelf benthic foraminiferal δ13C gradient, and a drop in carbon accumulation rates to reflect the presence of active primary but limited export productivity, consistent with the Living Ocean hypothesis. We evaluated interbasinal deep-sea benthic foraminiferal δ13C gradients between the Pacific (Site 1210) and Atlantic (Site 1262) oceans as a proxy for changes in export productivity. The interbasinal δ13C gradient was reduced after the mass extinction, suggesting a reduction in global export productivity. Although our data support the Living Ocean hypothesis, evidence from paleoupwelling zones shows significant export productivity, indicating spatial heterogeneity in the wake of the K/Pg mass extinction (Heterogeneous Ocean).

  14. 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.

  15. Recovery collapse coincident with ongoing carbon cycle perturbations following the Permian-Triassic mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petsios, E.; Bottjer, D. J.

    2016-12-01

    The Permian-Triassic mass extinction, the largest extinction of the Phanerozoic, is attributed to volcanic outgassing from the Siberian Traps and the resulting climate change. Ongoing volcanism in the Early Triassic is implicated for continued carbon cycle instability following the initial event, reflected in large inorganic carbon isotope excursions throughout the 5 Mya interval. Recent paleoecological studies have shown that timing of recovery from the extinction in the Early Triassic is highly complex, differing between regions, with documented cases of "early" recovery in some environments. The importance of specific environmental factors, such as oxygen levels and sea surface temperatures, in aiding or hindering recovery following the extinction is the topic of ongoing study. Here we present an ecological survey of marine benthic communities from the Lower Triassic Blacktail Creek outcrop of the Dinwoody Formation, correlated bed-for-bed with inorganic carbon isotope values. We observe incipient recovery as communities show increasing richness and evenness throughout the section, followed by a `collapse' with a return of high dominance, low richness fauna coincident with large δ13Ccarb shifts. We observe a statistically significant correlation between the magnitude of δ13Ccarb excursions and benthic community complexity over a stratigraphic section, implying a shared causal mechanism acting at the local scale. The globally correlatable nature of these observed carbon isotope shifts, as well as an absence of lithologic evidence for oxygen limitation, points to thermal stress brought on by pulses of volcanism as the shared cause between recovery collapse and carbon cycle perturbations. We propose that the "early" recovery at Blacktail Creek was truncated by recurrent greenhouse gas induced thermal spikes, highlighting the interplay of local and global environmental conditions in expediting or hindering Early Triassic recovery.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Global nickel anomaly links Siberian Traps eruptions and the latest Permian mass extinction.

    PubMed

    Rampino, Michael R; Rodriguez, Sedelia; Baransky, Eva; Cai, Yue

    2017-09-29

    Anomalous peaks of nickel abundance have been reported in Permian-Triassic boundary sections in China, Israel, Eastern Europe, Spitzbergen, and the Austrian Carnic Alps. New solution ICP-MS results of enhanced nickel from P-T boundary sections in Hungary, Japan, and Spiti, India suggest that the nickel anomalies at the end of the Permian were a worldwide phenomenon. We propose that the source of the nickel anomalies at the P-T boundary were Ni-rich volatiles released by the Siberian volcanism, and by coeval Ni-rich magma intrusions. The peaks in nickel abundance correlate with negative δ(13)C and δ(18)O anomalies, suggesting that explosive reactions between magma and coal during the Siberian flood-basalt eruptions released large amounts of CO2 and CH4 into the atmosphere, causing severe global warming and subsequent mass extinction. The nickel anomalies may provide a timeline in P-T boundary sections, and the timing of the peaks supports the Siberian Traps as a contributor to the latest Permian mass extinction.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Mass extinctions, large-body impacts and flood-basalt eruptions: Correlation suggests cataclysms from above or below

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampino, M. R.

    2016-12-01

    Many studies have associated mass extinctions with large-body impacts and flood-basalt eruptions, often as opposing explanations. In comparing the three data sets, we find that at least 8 of a total of 11 extinction events over the last 260 Myr coincide with either a large impact or a continental flood-basalt eruption. The null hypothesis that this could occur by chance can be rejected with very high confidence (>99.99%). The four mass-extinction/flood-basalt correlations involve the four largest eruptions. The null hypothesis that extinction events occur at the same time as either one of the 6 largest impacts or one of the 4 largest flood basalts by chance can also be rejected with a very high degree of confidence (>99.99%). These statistical relationships argue strongly that mass extinctions are tied to both the largest impacts and the largest flood-basalt eruptions. The most severe anoxic events in the oceans of the last 260 Myr are correlated with flood-basalt eruptions, and are coeval with extinction events, suggesting a causal connection.

  5. End-Permian mass extinction and palaeoenvironmental changes in Neotethys: Evidence from an oceanic carbonate section in southwestern Tibet

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Shu-zhong; Cao, Chang-qun; Zhang, Yi-chun; Li, Wen-zhong; Shi, G. R.; Wang, Yue; Wu, Ya-sheng; Ueno, K.; Henderson, C. M.; Wang, Xiang-dong; Zhang, Hua; Wang, Xiao-juan; Chen, Jun

    2010-08-01

    This paper documents a new Permian-Triassic carbonate sequence which recorded the end-Permian mass extinction in the isolated oceanic setting of Neotethys in southwestern Tibet, China. The sequence is over 350 m thick and consists of the Gyanyima and the Lower Lanchengquxia formations in ascending order. The Lopingian (Late Permian) Gyanyima Formation is composed of fossiliferous reddish carbonates dominated by Colaniella grainstone and reef facies including fenestrate/sponge/coral framestone and bafflestone. 156 species are recognized from the Lopingian Gyanyima Formation. Composite ranges of brachiopods, ostracods, rugose corals and foraminifers at the Gyanyima Section suggest that evolution and diversification of Permian marine organisms continued to the end-Permian preceding a major faunal extinction close to the Permian-Triassic boundary (PTB), coincident with a 2-3‰ negative shift of δ13C carb. The timing and accelerating extinction pattern and the negative δ13C carb excursion are largely comparable with those reported from many previously-documented sections on continental shelf environments. Based on a detailed lithofacies analysis, the latest Permian reefal facies is sharply replaced by ostracod/crinoid packstone/grainstone with abrupt abundant occurrences of Early Triassic conodonts at the Gyanyima Section. This is then followed by thrombolitic microbialite, stromatolite, packstone containing abundant spherical microbes, and bivalve/ammonoid packstone of tidal and intertidal facies. This distinct lithofacies and biofacies shift would, therefore, suggest a dramatic faunal community and environmental change across the PTB. Distinct palaeoclimate fluctuations through the P- T interval are also indicated by the alternation of warm- and cool-water faunas through the uppermost part of the succession. The lower part of the Gyanyima Formation is characterized by a warm condition as indicated by Cathaysian-dominated fossils. This was then followed by a mild

  6. Pre- versus post-mass extinction divergence of Mesozoic marine reptiles dictated by time-scale dependence of evolutionary rates.

    PubMed

    Motani, Ryosuke; Jiang, Da-Yong; Tintori, Andrea; Ji, Cheng; Huang, Jian-Dong

    2017-05-17

    The fossil record of a major clade often starts after a mass extinction even though evolutionary rates, molecular or morphological, suggest its pre-extinction emergence (e.g. squamates, placentals and teleosts). The discrepancy is larger for older clades, and the presence of a time-scale-dependent methodological bias has been suggested, yet it has been difficult to avoid the bias using Bayesian phylogenetic methods. This paradox raises the question of whether ecological vacancies, such as those after mass extinctions, prompt the radiations. We addressed this problem by using a unique temporal characteristic of the morphological data and a high-resolution stratigraphic record, for the oldest clade of Mesozoic marine reptiles, Ichthyosauromorpha. The evolutionary rate was fastest during the first few million years of ichthyosauromorph evolution and became progressively slower over time, eventually becoming six times slower. Using the later slower rates, estimates of divergence time become excessively older. The fast, initial rate suggests the emergence of ichthyosauromorphs after the end-Permian mass extinction, matching an independent result from high-resolution stratigraphic confidence intervals. These reptiles probably invaded the sea as a new ecosystem was formed after the end-Permian mass extinction. Lack of information on early evolution biased Bayesian clock rates. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. 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.

  8. Volcanic perturbations of the marine environment in South China preceding the latest Permian mass extinction and their biotic effects.

    PubMed

    Shen, J; Algeo, T J; Zhou, L; Feng, Q; Yu, J; Ellwood, B

    2012-01-01

    The Dongpan section in southern Guangxi Province records the influence of local volcanic activity on marine sedimentation at intermediate water depths (~200-500 m) in the Nanpanjiang Basin (South China) during the late Permian crisis. We analyzed ~100 samples over a 12-m-thick interval, generating palynological, paleobiological, and geochemical datasets to investigate the nature and causes of environmental changes. The section records at least two major volcanic episodes that culminated in deposition of approximately 25- to 35-cm-thick ash layers (bentonites) and that had profound effects on conditions in both the Dongpan marine environment and adjacent land areas. Intensification of eruptive activity during each volcanic cycle resulted in a shift toward conifer forests, increased wildfire intensity, and elevated subaerial weathering fluxes. The resulting increase in nutrient fluxes stimulated marine productivity in the short term but led to a negative feedback on productivity in the longer term as the OMZ of the Nanpanjiang Basin expanded, putting both phytoplankton and zooplankton communities under severe stress. Radiolarians exhibit large declines in diversity and abundance well before the global mass