In Earth’s largest extinction, land animal die-offs began long before marine extinction

New dates for fossils indicate land animal turnover extended for hundreds of thousands of years

University of California – Berkeley

Researchers dated ash deposits from this hill, called a koppie in South Africa. The lower part of koppie Loskop exposes strata from before the end-Permian extinction (Palingkloof Member of the Balfour Formation), while the upper part contains layers deposited after the extinction (Katberg Formation). Credit: Photo courtesy of John Geissman

Researchers dated ash deposits from this hill, called a koppie in South Africa. The lower part of koppie Loskop exposes strata from before the end-Permian extinction (Palingkloof Member of the Balfour Formation), while the upper part contains layers deposited after the extinction (Katberg Formation). Credit: Photo courtesy of John Geissman

The mass extinction at the end of the Permian Peri od 252 million years ago — one of the great turnovers of life on Earth — appears to have played out differently and at different times on land and in the sea, according to newly redated fossils beds from South Africa and Australia.

New ages for fossilized vertebrates that lived just after the demise of the fauna that dominated the late Permian show that the ecosystem changes began hundreds of thousands of years earlier on land than in the sea, eventually resulting in the demise of up to 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species. The later marine extinction, in which nearly 95% of ocean species disappeared, may have occurred over the time span of tens of thousands of years.

Though most scientists believe that a series of volcanic eruptions, occurring in large pulses over a period of a million years in what is now Siberia, were the primary cause of the end-Permian extinction, the lag between the land extinction in the Southern Hemisphere and the marine extinction in the Northern Hemisphere suggests different immediate causes.

“Most people thought that the terrestrial collapse started at the same time as the marine collapse, and that it happened at the same time in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere,” said paleobotanist Cindy Looy, University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of integrative biology. “The fact that the big changes were not synchronous in the Northern and Southern hemispheres has a big effect on hypotheses for what caused the extinction. An extinction in the ocean does not, per se, have to have the same cause or mechanism as an extinction that happened on land.”

Members of Looy’s lab have conducted experiments on living plants to determine whether a collapse of Earth’s protective ozone layer may have irradiated and wiped out plant species. Other global changes — a warming climate, a rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in ocean acidification — also occurred around the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic and likely contributed.

On land, the end-Permian extinction of vertebrates is best documented in Gondwana, the southern half of the supercontinent known as Pangea that eventually separated into the continents we know today as Antarctica, Africa, South America and Australia. There, in the South African Karoo Basin, populations of large herbivores, or plant eaters, shifted from the Daptocephalus assemblage to the Lystrosaurus assemblage. These groups are now extinct.

In the ocean, the extinction is best documented in the Northern Hemisphere, in particular by Chinese fossils. The end-Permian extinction is perhaps best associated with the demise of trilobites.

To improve on previous dates for the land extinction, an international team of scientists, including Looy, conducted uranium-lead dating of zircon crystals in a well-preserved volcanic ash deposit from the Karoo Basin. Looy, who is also a curator of paleobotany at the campus’s Museum of Paleontology and curator of gymnosperms at the University and Jepson Herbaria, confirmed that sediments from several meters above the dated layer were devoid of Glossopteris pollen, evidence that these seed ferns, which used to dominate late Permian Gondwanan floras, became extinct around that time.

At 252.24 million years old, the zircons — microscopic silicate crystals that form in rising magma inside volcanoes and are spewed into the atmosphere during eruptions — are 300,000 years older than dates obtained for the confirmed Permian-Triassic (P-T) boundary in China. This means that the sediment layer assumed to contain the P-T boundary in South Africa was actually at least 300,000 years too old.

Dates for an ash deposit in Australia, just above the layers that document the initial plant extinction, similarly came in almost 400,000 years older than thought. That work was published in January by Christopher Fielding and colleagues at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

“The Karoo Basin is the poster child for the end-Permian vertebrate turnover, but until recently, it was not well-dated,” Looy said. “Our new zircon date shows that the base of the Lystrosaurus zone predates the marine extinction with several hundred thousand years, similar to the pattern in Australia. This means that both the floral and faunal turnover in Gondwana is out of sync with the Northern Hemisphere marine biotic crisis.

“For some years now, we have known that — in contrast to the marine mass extinction — the pulses of disturbance of life on land continued deep into the Triassic Period. But that the start of the terrestrial turnover happened so long before the marine extinction was a surprise.”

In their paper, Looy and an international team of colleagues concluded “that greater consideration should be given to a more gradual, complex, and nuanced transition of terrestrial ecosystems during the Changhsingian (the last part of the Permian) and, possibly, the early Triassic.”

Looy and colleagues published their findings March 19 in the open access journal Nature Communications. Her co-authors are Robert Gastaldo of Colby College in Maine; Sandra Kamo of the University of Toronto in Ontario; Johann Neveling of the Council for Geosciences in Pretoria, South Africa; John Geissman of the University of Texas in Dallas and Anna Martini of Amherst College in Massachusetts. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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From EurekAlert!

75 thoughts on “In Earth’s largest extinction, land animal die-offs began long before marine extinction

  1. My first thought on seeing this article was “they’ve received a dictat to airbrush out Baresel et al. 2017”. And sure enough, the narrate confirms this:

    Other global changes — a warming climate, a rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in ocean acidification — also occurred around the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic and likely contributed.

    Nowadays it seems that being able to read makes you a denier. Baresel et al 2017 have already shown that the end Permian extinction event was a cold one, a brief ice age during which “regression” or sea level fall occurred:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/srep43630

    Baresel et al said this:

    This early eruptive phase released sulfur-rich volatiles into the stratosphere, thus simultaneously eliciting a short-lived ice age responsible for the global regression and a brief but intense acidification. Abrupt cooling, shrunk habitats on shelves and acidification may all have synergistically triggered the PTBME.

    The priesthood of CO2 were clearly offended by this so now the inevitable airbrushing has happened. Now the end Permian extinction is magically back to being a CO2 induced warming event.

    • But think of the implications! If AGW caused that mass extinction also, time travel is not only feasible, it is inevitable!

      • the zircons — microscopic silicate crystals that form in rising magma inside volcanoes and are spewed into the atmosphere during eruptions — are 300,000 years older than dates obtained for the confirmed Permian-Triassic (P-T) boundary in China.

        So many geological age or U/Pb ratio of material inside the Earth is not the same as the surface material. All these dating methods are based on sweeping assumptions of uniformity, which never seem to enter the heads of these scientist claiming dramatic attention grabbing “discoveries”.

        250 million +/- 300,000 ? You really think you have a significant difference from which you can rewrite your speculative history of the Earth?

          • I’m mistrusting of the detailed fairy tales we get fed as “established science” base on flimsy evidence and speculative hypothesis, only to be overturned 30y later when the orthodoxy finally cracks.

            Looking back down an exponential decay is as unreliable as projecting an exponential growth into the future. We’ve had more than enough “experts” doing that these last two weeks.

        • Greg
          With radioactive decay, uniformity is a safe assumption.
          Theirs is not the only study that has shown that the PTE was cold.
          Anyway Baresel’s main evidence was sedimentary evidence of sea level regression, not isotope.
          Sea level regression means ice age.
          (Or someone pulling out the plug.)

          • “Theirs is not the only study that has shown that the PTE was cold.”

            I said nothing about whether it was cold or not. I questioned the accuracy of their dating which now claims to have sufficient resolution and accuracy to say land and sea extinctions and NH and SH changes happened at different times.

            You are assuming that you know the original composition of the rock when the zircons were formed if you project back 100s of millions of years from tiny differences now.

    • Phil Salmon March 29, 2020 at 11:11 pm
      My first thought … And sure enough….

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Exactly the sentence I copied out:

      Other global changes — a warming climate, a rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and an increase in ocean acidification — also occurred around the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic and likely contributed.

      “…and likely contributed.” These people have no shame.

    • There is strong evidence for brief (c. 100 000 years) “cold snaps” in connection with several other mass extinctions:

      The end Ordovician extinction:

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1342937X13000154

      The end-Devonian extinctions (Hangenberg/Kellwasser):

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/213774770_Late_Frasnian-Famennian_climates_based_on_palynomorph_analyses_and_the_question_of_the_Late_Devonian_glaciation

      The Toarcian extinction:

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-48956-x

      • Cold snaps in the generally balmy Mesozoic might help explain feather evolution among theropods and possibly other dinosaurs. A brief Toarcian (end of Early Jurassic Epoch) ice age fits. Oldest known feathers are from beginning of Late Jurassic, but already well developed.

      • I love the references (1, 2) that Bjorn Baresel quotes about mass extinctions being associated with major sea level change:

        1. Brongniart, A. & Cuvier, G. Essai sur la géographie minéralogique des environs de Paris. Journal des mines 23, 421–458 (1808).

        2. Cuvier, G. Discourse on the revolutionary upheavals on the surface of the globe and on the changes which they have produced in the animal kingdom (G. Defour & Eduard D’Ocagne, 1825).

        i.e. it’s been known for almost 300 years.

        • Although Cuvier hadn’t yet discovered extinction, Lavoisier noticed by 1789 that the seas had come in and gone out in the Paris Basin. Soon thereafter, the SJWs of his day cut his head off.

    • Yes reading is a crime of denial – they the alarmists should just stop.

      The part that caught my attention was:

      “The fact that the big changes were not synchronous in the Northern and Southern hemispheres has a big effect on hypotheses for what caused the extinction. An extinction in the ocean does not, per se, have to have the same cause or mechanism as an extinction that happened on land.”

      The key word — hypotheses. I wish I knew how to quote and bold things here on WUWT.

    • Yes, I was sure that would be from a dutch spelling with -je. It’s a diminutive ending . I’d guess that means a small cap. I was going to look it up. I have a vague recollection it refers to a contraceptive device but I may be confabulating. 😉

    • “Head-little” (little head in English word order) is the word kopje’s meaning. Elicited of Dutch for head with “Kop-” (from Germanic kopf = head) + the Dutch diminutive suffix “-je”. In German “je” meant accordingly/in any case/ever & was not a suffix, but somewhere in evolving Dutch stretched the adapted “je” in it’s usage at the end of words & names.

      [My European step-father had a unique last name. He visited South Africa & an Afrikaans speaker volunteered what it meant. None of us had any inkling his family had ancestral links to Dutch speaking European lands.]

      • The corresponding german diminutive is -chen eg maedchen, susschen. It is pronounced something like “tchun” , it is not much of a linguistic stretch for this mutate to “-je” , the dutch j is like english y.

          • Hence “maatjesharing” literally “young lady herring”, i e young, not fully grown herring.

          • oops that’s meisje not maidje.

            tty, maatje means mate in many nuances but not like a sexual mate or “young lady herring”.

        • Alternatively -lein, as in Fräulein, literally “small woman”. Pronounced as english “line”

    • Looking at sea floor spreading, with no sea floor more than 250 million years old, and the existence of abiotic oil from the core, which would make Earth expand, one could surmise that the Earth has been expanding and sea floor was no in existence until 250 Myr ago. NASA has even reported current Earth expansion.

      It always troubled me that the continental plates would just move around randomly, more or less, over time, as we have been shown in animations for years. However, it does not make sense that a cooling new planet would not cool to form a crust of light-density material over its whole surface. Then, over time, as the neutron-rich elements in the core broke down and created more small atoms, mostly C and H, these products took up more volume than the mother atom and started to exert enormous pressure on the cooled crust.

      Occasionally, the pressure might have been released by events such as the Siberian traps and the Deccan traps in India. It made no sense to have volcanic eruptions of such enormous volume and long time unless if was a planet-sized problem. Then, ~250 Myr ago, the crust broke up into continental plates that have been moving away from each other ever since. Furthermore, the idea of subduction in plate tectonics makes no sense, as there should be mountains of mud piled up above every subduction zone. Scientists tend to ignore that ocean floor mud would not go easily under the crust just because it is convenient to assume it does. Instead, this mud would be scraped off the subjecting sea floor into a huge pile. The mountain ranges on the continents today are easily explained by the collapse of continental plates, curved from an earlier smaller planet, as they mold themselves to a flatter surface of the planet.

      All of this explains why all of the ancient fossils are found on land, because all land and marine organisms would be on or over the crust and thus fossils of both would later be found in sedimentary rocks formed before the crust fractured. We find fossils way up in the mountains and way above sea level. Why would there have been shallow seas all over the planet, in the presence of the deep oceans of today, unless there were no deep intercontinental oceans and what little water there was then was on top of the lithosphere forming shallow seas.

      So, where is this going? The advent of thousands of years of vulcanism, as in the Siberian traps, would clearly affect land organisms first and also in the northern hemisphere first. Water, being a good buffer and high heat capacity would have protected marine life longer, but when the crust broke up, the seas drained into the crustal cracks and the marine extinction was thus rather rapid.

      I have been amazed by how many things an expanding Earth makes fall into place. A similar expansion phenomenon has also be observed in the Moon and other planets and moons.

      The fun conclusion of this would be to ask, why the expansion, why the neutron-rich Earth core? This would be the result of an asymmetric supernova explosion resulting in the rocky planets and moons having supernova remnants in their cores. This explains why we can drill anywhere on the planet, even the sea floor, and find natural gas and/or oil, it’s under everything planet-wide. This would also explain why sunspots are black, and not brighter than day (which it should be if it is a fusion engine), and relatively cool compared to the surface. The interior is cooler than the surface, with NASA even having reported clouds in a few large sunspots. It a long story and I look forward to our learning more.

        • Mark, This person appears to have some agenda. This seems like a fake comment.

          This comment seems to purposely include statements which are obviously, anti science, along with a fake attempt to push ‘abiotic’ ‘oil’.

          I would assume, the reason why this was done, was to smear the scientific concept ‘abiotic’ ‘oil’ and to smeer the interesting unanswered question. “What is the force that moves the tectonic plates?

          I have seen this silly straw man approach done before and again and again, written by different puppets.

          The Fossil theory has a few very aggressive ‘supporters’.

          Almost as if they are paid to push propaganda and stop the discussion of this scientific subject. With $20 a barrel oil, what is the point of pushing the fossil theory?

          The fossil fuel theory is that the very large hydrocarbon deposits on the planet were created from recycled organic material. This theory has started in the late 1970’s, by the American Petroleum Institute, in a API publication called that Origin of Oil which was written by geologists who at the time the publication was written, worked for the major oil companies.

          In the fifty years since that publication, there are now sufficient observations to make this an interesting discussion. That is the point. There needs to be real observations presented which provide logical constraints and support for the committing concepts in a fair competition. But we are busy with covid now and there is no sign yet of cooling.

          “Then, over time, as the neutron-rich elements in the core broke down and created more small atoms, mostly C and H, these products took up more volume than the mother atom and started to exert enormous pressure on the cooled crust.

          “It always troubled me that the continental plates would just move around randomly, more or less, over time, as we have been shown in animations for years. ”

          “the fun conclusion of this would be to ask, why the expansion, why the neutron-rich Earth core? This would be the result of an asymmetric supernova explosion resulting in the rocky planets and moons having supernova remnants in their cores.”

      • Please cite NASA’s Earth expansion observations. Thanks.

        Seafloor spreading, tectonic plate movement and subduction are observations, ie facts. Subducted plates can also be detected in the mantle.

        Plates don’t move randomly. Their motion is driven by superplumes in the mantle, and can be predicted.

        If the Earth were so much smaller (hence denser) 250 Ma that all the continents fit together as dry land, where did the water come from to fill the oceans?

      • Plate collision of course is also observed at convergent boundaries. Witness the Himalayas, pushed up by the fast-moving Indian Plate’s collision with the mighty Eurasian Plate. The Indian and Australian Plates used to be connected, but have split.

        The Pacific Ring of Fire owes to volcanoes formed and earthquakes triggered by plate subduction under the continents surrounding the ocean.

        Tectonic plate motion and seafloor spreading are facts. A suddenly expanded Earth is fantasy.

        • If the expansion of the earth explained the movement of the continents, how did India get from near Antarctica to a point where it was able to collide into Asia?

          If the expansion of the earth explained the movement of the continents, why are there mountains?

          • Good points. India was attached to Antarctica, as were Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and South America. They didn’t split up because the Earth expanded, but because Pangaea started rifting apart around the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, some 200 Ma.

            The southern continents stayed together longer, as Gondwanaland.

        • I agree with a portion of you what stated.

          The expanding earth concept is a dead theory. It never was a real, physical, complete theory.

          The theory that deep motion in the mantel is the ‘force’ that can and does horizontally move the massive tectonic plates, is also a dead theory.

          There are dozens of very important, large features on the earth, now that the deep plume mantel theory cannot explain.

          … for example, the length of time of the Indian/Asia continental plate has collided and the size of the force required to explain the massive region of continental crust deformation in that region, are impossible to explain with the deep plume theory.

          The deep plume hypothesis cannot generate the magnitude of the force (every where) or the current directions of force required to explain current plate motions.

          It is a fact that there is motion of some specific plates (small continental plates that are surrounded by continental plates for example) that could never have been explained by the deep plume mantel theory.

          Other examples. Here are some of other paradoxes.

          https://www.newgeology.us/presentation21.html

          Plate Tectonics: too weak to build mountains
          Understanding the mechanism of plate tectonics is one of the most important problems in the geosciences”8. A 2004 paper noted that “considerable debate remains about the driving forces of the tectonic plates and their relative contribution”40.

          “The advent of plate tectonics made the classical mantle convection hypothesis even more untenable. For instance, the supposition that mid-oceanic ridges are the site of upwelling and trenches are that of sinking of the large scale convective flow cannot be valid, because it is now established that actively spreading, oceanic ridges migrate and often collide with trenches”14.

          “Another difficulty is that if this is currently the main mechanism, the major convection cells would have to have about half the width of the large oceans, with a pattern of motion that would have to be more or less constant over very large areas under the lithosphere.

          This would fail to explain the relative motion of plates with irregularly shaped margins at the Mid-Atlantic ridge and Carlsberg ridge, and the motion of small plates, such as the Caribbean and the Philippine plates”19.

          “The driving force of plate movements was initially claimed to be mantle deep convection currents welling up beneath midocean ridges, with downwelling occurring beneath ocean trenches.

          Since the existence of layering in the mantle was considered to render whole-mantle convection unlikely, two-layer convection models were also proposed.

          Jeffreys (1974) argued that convection cannot take place because it is a self-damping process, as described by the Lomnitz law.

          Plate tectonicists expected seismic tomography to provide clear evidence of a well-organized convection-cell pattern, but it has actually provided strong evidence against the existence of large, plate-propelling convection cells in the upper mantle (Anderson, Tanimoto, and Zhang, 1992).

          Many geologists now think that mantle convection is a result of plate motion rather than its cause and that it is shallow rather than mantle deep (McGeary and Plummer, 1998).

          • Why do you think the Indian Plate is incapable of doing what it obviously has done?

            Its high speed was probably due to its being thinner than other plates.

            The mantle plume driving it has created three hotspots in the Indian Ocean, forming volcanic islands.

            Here’s a recent paper on the seismic tomography of Africa:

            African cratonic lithosphere carved by mantle plumes

            https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13871-2

  2. Members of Looy’s lab have conducted experiments on living plants to determine whether a collapse of Earth’s protective ozone layer may have irradiated and wiped out plant species.

    Well they advance that theory and then don’t say of they confirmed it or not ?

    More to the point, why exactly, would the ozone layer collapse? Ozone is generated by UV from the sun ionizing oxygen at very high altitudes. So what would have changed that? Did the sun suddenly stop producing UV? Doubtful. Did the oxygen all go away? Well that would explain all the animals dying , but for oxygen production to go away would require that the plants die first, reversing cause and effect. I’m pretty certain that CFC air conditioners weren’t invented yet… So how would this have worked?

    • So what would have changed that?

      Large volcanic eruptions. Exactly as happened in 1982 and 1991 and which was the real reason for the “hole” in the ozone layer and the end of the last century which was then falsely attributed to CFCs and the beginning of the UN’s attempted power grab.

    • > Well they advance that theory and then don’t say of they confirmed it or not ?

      Postmodern “science” ia a cargo cult.

      It’s not about making experiments and mesuring results. It’s about ‘dancing around’ as you would make an experiment, then proclaim results you’r government is paying for.

    • IN THE BEGINNING, there were no explanations. Then, God created Carbon Dioxide and no further thinking was required.

  3. CO2 levels fell dramatically through The Carboniferous to a very low point. Levels rose rapidly through the second half of The Permian. The massive drop in CO2 from perhaps 5,000ppmv to only around 400ppmv must have been due to sequestration by plants and, more importantly shell forming creatures. Such a large drop must have impacted plant productivity and the animal life that depended on it.
    The rise in CO2 in The Permian might have resulted from subduction carrying Carbon rich deposits into volcanically active depths where the CO2 would be returned to the atmosphere once again boosting plant and animal productivity.

    • An ice age struck in the Carboniferous, which would naturally reduce CO2, but the eponymous coal swamps contributed to a draw down, before white rot fungus evolved to help break down the wood.

  4. Interesting development in paleoclimate data. My MS thesis was in Hells Canyon on the Idaho side, in the Seven Devils Group, which is transitional Permian to Triassic. The rocks were produced in a primitive island arc in a shallow sea. Primitive means sodic volcanics, like spilite and keratophyre, due to a sodic-enrichment trend, as opposed to a calc-alkaline trend. There were limestones, with fossils, throughout the sequence, and the Permo-Triassic transition was not discernible in the field. Think about this, the transition had marine sequences, with fossils, and there was no environmental change visible (at least to a masters student doing field work) in the field. There were more spilites (basalt equivalent) in the Permian and more keratophyres and quartz keratophyres (dacite and rhyolite equivalent) in the Triassic section, suggesting the normal maturation of a volcanic sequence.

      • Greg, I’m not sure, however some things can be said: the fragments are angular, the matrix is uniform, one of the fragments (3 coin widths below the coin) is a layered fragment, the fragments do not show reaction rims with the matrix so it’s not a hot matrix process, ie not a hydrothermal breccia or lahar, and the fragments appear to be a fine lime mud (not sure). The actual matrix and fragment composition would be helpful, as would the geologic setting. I see calcite coatings and open space around some fragments, suggesting a marine carbonate. Wild guess: carbonate dissolution collapse breccia (waiting for some gold, yellow or black!). This opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.

        • Many thanks Ron. I’d got the lack of rounding and ruled out volcanic. French med coast , 50km inland at present, so your marine carbonate likely. There is a lot of this, what I believe to be hard grey limestone here.

          There are areas of soft yellow stone on the coastal side of this location. The higher ground more inland tending to the grey limestone. Lots of caves and underground water ways.

          I guess the infill tends to kill my hopes of discovering this is an impact crater 🙁

          • Oh NO! I used the K-word again.

            Many thanks Ron. I’d got the lack of rounding and ruled out volcanic. French med coast , 50km inland at present, so your marine carbonate likely. There is a lot of this, what I believe to be hard grey limestone here.

            There are areas of soft yellow stone on the coastal side of this location. The higher ground more inland tending to the grey limestone. Lots of caves and underground water ways.

            I guess the infill tends to [clobber] my hopes of discovering this is an impact crater

      • Greg
        A particularly interesting metallic formation in the mid upper of your image.
        It looks like a disc of a silvery metal containing an inner disc of a yellow-goldish metal.
        Two different metals have clearly precipitated out in accreting rings in a remarkable symmetrical manner. Possibly denoting an oxic-anoxic transition happening at some time. The smooth upper surface suggest a fracture event at some point. There are small embossments just visible on the disc surface, suggestive of biological activity, possibly bacterial colonies?

        • Congratulations Phil, you have discovered a flying saucer (that has landed!)! I expect to see this on the Discovery Channel soonest.

    • MODS: please can you do something about the “k-word”. I just innocently used the word S-K-I-L-L and it got moderated. For goodness sake. Do we really have a problem with that word?

  5. All this ridiculous debate would go away if they would just admit that the FACTS do NOT fit their preconceived notions about dates and the age of the universe.

    Instead of changing their dating and theories to fit new observations when they uncover them, they wring their hands and twist the new findings to make them fit their unproven theories.

    Dinosaur soft tissue. Very faulty Carbon-14 dating. That these things seem to have happened WORLD-WIDE at the SAME time. Heck, the NEED to invent all sorts of things to MAKE their theories work instead of changing the theories. Just how many dimensions WILL make that work?

    • The ages of the universe, solar system and zircons are not based upon preconceived notions, but observations and measurements, ie facts. Inferences from these facts may be subject to debate and require further testing.

      Dinosaur soft tissue preservation depends on the depositional environment, especially iron content. It doesn’t affect dating of fossils.

      Carbon isotope dating is only good to about 50,000 years. When calibrated correctly, it’s quite accurate.

      • “When calibrated correctly”

        Exactly , since you cannot count on the historical constancy of isotope ratios at the time capture.

        What you currently believe to be “calibrated correctly” is your current state of measurements AND assumptions, and don’t say there aren’t any.

        Our measurements of “big G” are not even consistent with the belief that G is truely constant, but it is too fundamental for us to allow it to be questioned. How can we know that random radioactive decay has been constant for the last 4.5 billion years. We can’t.

        We are still living under the reassuring assumptions that built the original uniformist view of God’s universe.

        • Thanks for the reply. I wish the WordPress comment system was easier to use. I’d continue this discussion but realize that I’m unlikely to affect anyone’s preconceived notions.

          Check out RSR .org for a wide variety of secular research that questions, proves or otherwise discusses a wide variety of “assumptions” about God’s universe.

          • No scientific evidence supports the existence of God, which is how God would want it. If God can be scientifically shown to exist, what is the point of faith?

            To be scientific, an hypothesis must make predictions capable of being confirmed or shown false. Please state what testable predictions the God hypothesis makes, and how you would confirm them or show them false.

            Thanks!

        • Please state your reasons for believing that decay rates have changed during the history of the universe.

          Also please show how these hypothetical changes can make enough difference that the universe is only 6000 years old, rather than 13.7 billion years, or Earth’s 4.5 billion.

          Thanks!

      • Thanks for the reply. I wish the WordPress comment system was easier to use. I’d continue this discussion but realize that I’m unlikely to affect anyone’s preconceived notions.

        Check out RSR .org for a wide variety of secular research that questions, proves or otherwise discusses a wide variety of “assumptions” about God’s universe.

        “observations and measurements”? How? Have YOU traveled to the outer solar system in the distant past? Heck, even the observations and measurements from vehicles that have are interpreted and are seldom repeatedly measured.

        Those “facts” are not really facts when you see a headline such as “NEW … will upturn” about once a week. Too bad they never really follow where those “new” facts lead.

        https://kgov.com/bel/20070824 that should keep you busy.

        • Human probes have traveled to the outer solar system and beyond. Same physical laws apply there as here in the inner solar system.

          Scientists have made precise observations of radioactive decay under different tmperatures, pressures and surrounding media. Always, with the best measurements, the rates are the same.

          The burden is on you to show that radioactive decay rates could have changed, and by enough to make a significant difference in the age of the Earth.

          Please provide your evidence supporting this remarkable, totally speculative assertion. Thanks!

  6. Bill Illis used to comment from deep knowledge about the end Permian extinction and geology in general. He had other evidence of the end Permian being a cold event. Here is one of his figures:

    https://i.imgur.com/dnrAZYi.png

    I haven’t seen any post from Bill for a while.

  7. Gee, a big die off, sounds like a catastrophe happened.

    Uniformatarianism… not so much.

    • The die-off happened because of processes observable today, hence uniformitarianism, ie the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.

      Do you have evidence suggesting that today’s natural laws and processes didn’t operate 252 Ma?

      • Mr. Tillman, you wrote: “the assumption that the same natural laws and processes … have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.”

        Regarding the four basic laws of physics, ie, gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force & weak nuclear force:

        I agree.

        However, you engage in a rhetorical fallacy in two ways:

        One, you assume your idea, Uniformitarianism, is identical with basic laws of the universe.

        Two, by implication, anybody who disagrees with you (your idea) is claiming the basic laws of the universe must be changed to accommodate their idea.

        That’s a straw man argument: knocking down an argument your opponent didn’t make (inaccurate) and then claiming because you knocked down that point, you’ve won the argument.

        Geologists and others, who subscribe to the idea of Catotrophism, don’t claim that the laws of physics have changed.

        Rather, how those physics have operated on this planet from within & without over time.

        It’s not the basic physics that have changed, but the amount of force and energy applied to the earth.

        And, whether that force & energy was expressed in peak or violent ways, in a relatively short amount of time, (geologically speaking).

        To the question of the post: what physically changed that caused this Great Extinction, where 75% and 95% of all land & ocean animals, respectively, died off?

        Common sense and logic suggests catastrophe is more likely than gradualism (Uniformitarianism).

      • Mr. Tillman wrote: “The die-off happened because of processes observable today,”

        My observation of today is that we have a relatively stable, almost somnolent, geophysical environment which is conducive to many life forms without rapid concomitant congruent extinctions (a large number over a short amount of time).

        So, no, I don’t agree with your conclusionary statement.

  8. There’s evidence presented that there were two events, a few hundred thousand years apart. Could the first have caused the second? It could if you introduce the old standby, the meteor impact of death.

    A nearly vertical meteor impact in the south would produce the initial cold period, and the shock wave traveling through the mantle to Siberia could have produced the massive lava flows that heated up the ocean in the northern hemisphere hundreds of thousands of years after the initial impact.

    All you would need is suitable evidence of an impact at a location in the southern hemisphere, and a plausible route of the shock wave to Siberia. Allow me to suggest the arc of the South Sandwich Islands as the most likely site.

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