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The Great Dying

Posted: November 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cankler, Climate Change, Science, Science News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on The Great Dying

Throughout the history of our planet, there have been a number of mass extinction events. The largest was the “Great Dying,” which occurred at the cusp of the Permian and Triassic periods. Over half of the species on Earth at the time became extinct.

A recent find in China has allowed researchers  to pinpoint the events that appear to have precipitated the ‘Great Dying’ Scientists working in South China have pinpointed the timing of the Earth’s most dramatic extinction, an event that killed 96 per cent of all marine species, and 70 per cent of those on land.

Their findings show the so-called end-Permian mass extinction, sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Dying’, peaked just before 252 million years ago and took place very quickly, over a period of less than 200,000 years.

 This precise timing should help scientists settle the contentious issue of what exactly stripped so much biodiversity from the face of the planet, says study author Sam Bowring, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Other researchers have proposed several mechanisms for the extinctions, including an asteroid impact, an enormous volcanic event, or a shift in ocean circulation driven by climate change. So far no hypothesis has gained widespread support among scientists. One obstacle has been a lack of precise information about the timing and length of the event :: Read the full article »»»»