Rise of the bottom feeders! Worms and SHRIMPs were the first animals to recover from the “Great Dying” mass extinction that nearly wiped out life on Earth 252 million years ago, the study says.
- Organic-eating animals on the ocean floor have recovered for the first time since the Great Death
- This is the discovery of a new study by scientists from China, the US and the UK.
- 252 million years ago, the Great Mass Extinction occurred on Earth.
- However, life returned, and the shrimp and worms were among the first to bounce back.
A new study suggests that worms and shrimp were among the first animals to recover from the “Great Dying” mass extinction that nearly wiped out life on Earth 252 million years ago.
The researchers said sediment feeders — creatures that feed on organic matter that has settled on the ocean floor — were the first to regain their numbers and biodiversity.
The mass extinction at the end of the Permian wiped out 90 percent of the species on Earth, and it took millions of years for biodiversity to return to pre-extinction levels.
But, exploring the paths and burrows in the south China seafloor, an international team of researchers was able to piece together a resurgence of marine life by pinpointing exactly when animal activity occurred.
The study suggests that shrimp and worms were among the first animals to recover from the “Great Dying” mass extinction that nearly wiped out life on Earth 252 million years ago. This figure shows what the oceans might have looked like before (A) and after (BF) the extinction.
THE TIME WHEN ANIMALS BEGAN TO RECOVERY AFTER THE “GREAT DISTINCTION”
Deposit feeders, including shrimp and worms, were the first to recover after the “Great Dying”. They did this about 251 million years ago.
Next was the restoration of suspension feeders, which were snacking on organic substances suspended in water.
Then the corals started to come back even later.
Approximately 3 million years after the restoration of the sediment feeders—about 248 million years ago—soft-bodied sediment dwellers also returned to pre-extinction levels.
Professor Michael Benton of the School of Geosciences at the University of Bristol said: “The mass extinction at the end of the Permian and the recovery of life in the early Triassic is very well documented throughout South China.
“We were able to view fossil tracks from 26 slices through a whole series of events representing seven million decisive years, and showing details at 400 sampling points, we finally reconstructed the recovery stages of all animals, including benthos, nekton, as well as these soft-bodied burrowers. animals in the ocean.
According to the study, the recovery of suspension feeders, which snack on organic matter suspended in water, occurred much later than that of delayed feeders.
Still later, corals began to return, while soft-bodied sediment dwellers took about 3 million years to return to pre-extinction levels.
During the study, a huge number of ichnofossils or trace fossils were studied, which are not real animal remains, but are the remains of animal activity.
Dr. Xueqian Feng, from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, said: “Trace fossils such as footprints and burrows document mostly soft-bodied animals in the sea.
“Most of these soft-bodied animals did not have a skeleton or had a bad skeleton.
“There are some amazing places in Southern China where we find a huge amount of beautifully preserved fossil footprints, and the details can show the engineering behavior of the infant ecosystem, as well as their feedback on the biodiversity of skeletonized animals.”
Sediment-eating creatures like the shrimp (pictured) — creatures that feed on organic matter deposited on the ocean floor — were the first to regain their numbers and biodiversity, the researchers said.
Professor Zhong-Qiang Chen, who led the study, said: “The fossil tracks show us when and where soft-bodied burrowing animals flourished in this early Triassic greenhouse world.”
“For example, elevated temperatures and prolonged anoxia coincided with low values of behavioral and ecological diversity at the Permian-Triassic boundary, and it took about 3 million years for the ecological recovery of soft-bodied animals to match pre-extinction levels. ‘
Alison Cribb, co-author of the study at the University of Southern California, added: “The first animals to recover were worms and shrimp.
“Recovery of suspension feeders such as brachiopods, bryozoans and many bivalves took much longer.
“Maybe the sediment feeders made such a mess on the seabed that the water was contaminated with silt, because of the foamed silt, suspended matter feeding on the seabed could not properly settle on the seabed, or the muddy water produced by these sediment feeders simply clogged the filter structures. hanging feeders and prevented them from being fed effectively.”
Climate change, global warming, declining oxygen levels and increasing ocean acidity are considered to be the main causes of the mass extinction “Great Dying”.
Research published in the journal Scientific achievements.
WHAT WAS THE PERM MASS EXTINCTION KNOWN AS THE “GREAT EXTINCTION” WHICH KILLED 9 OF EVERY 10 SPECIES?
About 248 million years ago, the Permian period ended on Earth and the Triassic period began.
The boundary between these two geological eras is the Permian mass extinction, nicknamed the “Great Dying”.
This catastrophic event led to the destruction of almost all life on Earth.
Scientists believe that about 95 percent of all marine life died during the mass extinction, and less than a third of living things on land survived the event.
In total, it is believed that 90 percent of all life was destroyed.
All life on Earth today came from about ten percent of the animals, plants, and microbes that survived the Permian mass extinction.
It was previously thought that a huge eruption covered the Earth in thick smog, blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the planet’s surface.
However, new evidence suggests that a massive volcanic eruption that lasted almost a million years released a huge reservoir of deadly chemicals into the atmosphere that depleted the Earth’s ozone layer.
This destroyed the only protection of the inhabitants of the Earth from the deadly ultraviolet rays of the sun.
This high-energy form of radiation can cause significant damage to living organisms, causing the death toll to skyrocket.