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Volcanoes Are Not Solely To Be Blamed For Permian Extinction. Microbes Contributed More!

Volcanoes Are Not Solely To Be Blamed For Permian Extinction. Microbes Contributed More!

Permian era which dated 300 to 250 million years ago is still a curiosity factor for archaeologists throughout the globe as it records the largest mass destruction of species on the face of our planet. This period was before the dawn of dinosaurs, and any known mammal that walks today. Till date it was thought that sudden volcanic eruptions were responsible to wipe off 90% of the species. However a recent study supported by NASA and its publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by geophysicist Dr. Daniel Rothman and post doctorate Mr. Gregory Fournier in the M Massachusetts Institute of Technology and researchers in China that made us think alternatively.

Volcanoes Are Not Solely To Be Blamed For Permian Extinction. Microbes Contributed More!

Research has evidence to prove that methane producing archaea, Methanosarcina which outgrew in the ocean beds increased the methane content. This further reduced the marine life forms as increased acidity and increase in temperature, due to release of greenhouse gas methane further pushed the life forms towards extinction. One of the leading researchers in this team, Gregory Founier commented on this development as sudden and unanticipated change. He adds, “Land vertebrates took as long as 30 million years to reach the same levels of biodiversity as before the extinction, and afterwards life in the oceans and on land was radically changed, dominated by very different groups of animals.”

The geochemical and the genetic analysis show that rising levels of methane has led to oxygen deprivation, changing chemistries of ocean water, increasing the level of carbon dioxide and drastic climate change. The suffocation of marine life prevailed and led to their extinction. To add to the fuel, volcanoes did have a hand.

The increase in overall carbon content helped the methane producing microbes to survive. Volcanic eruptions were common in that period, which increased the levels of nickel which further supported growth of Methanosarcina. Studies confirm that overwhelming methane producing microbes as added to increase in volcanic explosions led the life forms of Permian era perish completely. It is now through the fossils of Trilobite or Dinogorgon that we remember them.

 

 

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