According to a recent study, the dinosaurs’ rise happened after a mass-extinction in which 90% of all animals on the planet died.
The disaster, dubbed the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, which is the greatest mass-extinction in the history of our planet is believed to have been caused by a global warming event. Ecosystems eventually bounced back after the catastrophe, but many of the details on how that happened remain unknown.
A research team at Arizona State University has tried to understand more about the mass-extinction and its causes. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA and the findings appeared in the journal Science Advances.
The team zoomed in on that marine ecosystems that vanished during the event. Past research had shown that the planet’s oceans lost oxygen which led to the mass-extinction. ASU researchers wanted to confirm the theory that “marine anoxia,” or the massive loss of oxygen in marine environments, caused the event.
History Repeating Itself
Scientists assessed marine anoxia on a global scale by looking at the uranium isotopes in the carbonates extracted from the mud rocks in modern day Iran. Uranium isotope levels revealed that during the recovery phase of ecosystems, there were brief episodes of ocean anoxia triggered by fluctuating nutrient levels.
Study authors believe that the changes were caused by intense sea temperature rising in the Early Triassic. In other words, a climate change-like phenomenon caused the ocean anoxia in that period.
Researcher Stephen Romaniello warned that what happened in the Early Triassic is eerily similar to what is happening today. Over the Permian period, the planet’s oceans faced rapid temperature rise and abrupt drops in nutrient levels, just like today.
Researchers discovered over 400 dead zones in the world’s oceans nowadays as nutrient shortage in coastal areas paired with climate change expands these zones rapidly.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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