Greenland Fossils Reveal Global Ecosystem Recovery After Mass Extinction

2016-11-01T08:32:24+00:00 November 1, 2016|
Microconchids, like the one pictured, are ancient tube worms and paleontologists have discovered Microconchid fossils in present-day Greenland. (Credit: Mark A. Wilson/The College of Wooster)

(Click to enlarge) Microconchids, like the one pictured, are ancient tube worms. Paleontologists have discovered Microconchid fossils in present-day Greenland. (Credit: Mark A. Wilson/The College of Wooster)

A paper published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports shows how higher latitude ecosystems recovered after the World’s most cataclysmic extinction event 252 million years ago. New fossils discovered by Uppsala University palaeontologists record an empty alien world from immediately after the extinction.

(From Phys.org)– “Life on the sea floor had totally collapsed, with up 90% of all species becoming extinct,” says Dr Michal Zaton from the University of Silesia in Poland, and lead author on the international study.

“The seas were oxygen depleted and acidic, with a very low diversity bottom-living fauna comprising bivalves and vast colonies of filter-feeding microconchid tube worms. These would have encrusted shells and algal mats, which provided both suitable substrates and a potential source of oxygen,” says Dr Zaton.

Microconchid fossils have never previously been reported from ancient higher latitudes. “At the very beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs 252 million years ago, East Greenland was on the edge of a Boreal seaway stretching to the North Pole”, says Dr Benjamin Kear from the Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University and leader of the project funded by the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat. “Our discovery is significant because it shows for the first time that life at higher latitudes suffered the same global extinction process, and subsequent ecosystem recovery,” says Dr Kear.

Read the full article here: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-greenland-fossils-reveal-global-ecosystem.html#jCp