Three Critical Factors in the End-Permian Mass Extinction

Blueprint for today’s climate change?

Peer-Reviewed Publication



The end of the Permian was characterized by the greatest mass extinction event in Earth’s history. 252 million years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions in Siberia led to a massive release of greenhouse gases. In the course of the next several millennia, the climate ultimately warmed by ten degrees. As a consequence, on land, roughly 75 percent of all organisms went extinct; in the oceans, the number was roughly 90 percent.

By analyzing how the now-extinct marine organisms once lived, Dr. Foster and his team were able to directly link their extinction to the following climate changes: declining oxygen levels in the water, rising water temperatures, and most likely also ocean acidification.

These changes are similar to current trends. “Needless to say, our findings on the Permian can’t be applied to modern climate change one-to-one. The two climate systems are far too different,” says Foster, a geoscientist. “Yet they do show which traits were critical for an organism’s survival or extinction– under similar conditions. This can offer us valuable indicators for who or what will be at the greatest risk in the future.”

Specifically, the team analyzed more than 25,000 records on 1283 genera of fossil marine organisms like bivalves, snails, sponges, algae and crustaceans from the region of South China – all of which had mineral skeletons or shells. Their fossilized remains can be dated using a special method, offering insights into marine ecosystems dating back millions of years. The team also drew on an enormous database that offers additional information on various ecological aspects of how these organisms lived.

For each genus, twelve of these criteria were analyzed. Did certain traits make a given organism more likely to survive under the conditions prevalent at the end of the Permian – or not? With the aid of machine learning, a method from the field of Artificial Intelligence, all of these factors were analyzed jointly and simultaneously. In the process, the machine essentially made certain rational decisions on its own. Once this was done, the team compared the results: what organisms were there before, during and after the mass extinction?

Their findings reveal the four factors that were most essential to whether or not organisms survived the end of the Permian: where in the water they lived, the mineralization of their shells, species diversity within their genus, and their sensitivity to acidification.

“But with previous machine learning applications, we couldn’t say how the machine made its decisions.” Using a newly implemented method from games theory, Dr. Foster has now succeeded in unraveling this aspect: “Some animals lived in deeper water. Here, the machine shows that the worsening lack of oxygen posed a risk. In contrast, those animals that lived nearer the surface had to contend with the rising water temperatures. Plus, when you have only a limited habitat, you have nowhere to go when that specific habitat becomes uninhabitable.” As such, the results show which of the organisms’ traits were determined to be potentially fatal. The team was ultimately able to confirm that the mass extinction can be directly attributed to deoxygenation, rising water temperatures and acidification – which indicates that, in a future climate crisis, these could also be the three main causes of extinction in the long term.

Foster WJ, Ayzel G, Münchmeyer J, Rettelbach T, Kitzmann N, Isson TT, Mutti M, Aberhan M (2022): Machine learning identifies ecological selectivity patterns across the end-Permian mass extinction; Paleobiology;
DOI: 10.1017/pab.2022.1






Data/statistical analysis




Machine learning identifies ecological selectivity patterns across the end-Permian mass extinction




No conflict of interest

From EurekAlert!

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March 1, 2022 10:17 pm

I think the biggest thing here is the how little data the machine had to learn from to describe the behaviour of the earth 252 million years ago based on the assumptions entered into the machine by man, what could possibly be right with it?

Reply to  Enthalpy
March 1, 2022 10:29 pm

It’s just plan old computer models mixed in with social media algorithms with fancy new name- machine learning

Mike Tremblay
Reply to  Enthalpy
March 1, 2022 11:01 pm

GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out

“GIGO is a universal computer science concept, but it only applies to programs that process invalid data. Good programming practice dictates that functions should check for valid input before processing it. A well-written program will avoid producing garbage by not accepting it in the first place. Requiring valid input also helps programs avoid errors that can cause crashes and other erratic behavior.” (

Drawing conclusions from so little data is the equivalent of GIGO.

On the other hand, if their conclusions are valid, it shows that Mother Nature is more than capable of producing climate change which is far more devastating than what man can produce.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  Mike Tremblay
March 2, 2022 7:49 am

This raises the question of how does a computer program determine that the data is valid. It’s relatively easy to reject improperly formatted data, but not so easy to check for data that’s slightly off.

Checking to see if data is within expected range has the pitfall that valid data may actually lie outside the expected range.

Reply to  Enthalpy
March 1, 2022 11:01 pm

What was that quote (Mark Twain?) relating the amount of conclusions to so little fact?
I think it would apply here.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
March 2, 2022 12:03 pm

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
― Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

Reply to  Enthalpy
March 2, 2022 8:36 am

So these things happened over a 47+- million period, when no Hoomans were present anywhere, and there was ONE single continent instead of several, and…..

Just a question: do the people who come up with these prognostications have even the faintest idea about length of time in MILLIONS of years, never mind continents breaking up and moving around and changes in various things that are part of natural cycles?

Just askin’, because the obsession with the lack of understanding of the length of time involved in these planetary episodes, by the people who want to draw a “conclusion” (or something) truly do appear (to me) to lack any concept of the reality of the length of time involved in such things, never mind the other stuff (too numerous to add) that makes planetary changes happen. Since Hoomans weren’t around back then, they can’t blame that on us, y’know.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Sara
March 2, 2022 8:59 am

Some of my questions like along this trail also. We’re the volcanoes simultaneous? Did their output last centuries or millennia or was it over a few years? In other words was the input a step function followed by a long period of decay? If so, what processes slowed the decay? Did the output of the volcanoes stay in the atmosphere the whole period? What were the cause and effects? What greenhouse gases and in what concentration?

I am suspicious of what physical parameters were used to get this conclusion. It looks like a lot of assumptions of parameters!

Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 2, 2022 12:01 pm

Thank you, Jim Gorman. You make sense of it, and my suspicions of the methods used by the “researchers” echo yours. Those unspoken questions – e.g., what REALLY started the continental breakup, etc. – aren’t addressed by The Them at all. That alone had an effect on everything.

There’s no Single Thing that was involved.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 2, 2022 12:18 pm

My question is based on the simultaneous or nearly eruption of the Deccan Traps volcanic feature with the Chixulub impact 66 million years ago. Is it possible the impact set off the volcanic activity? Caused the Shiva crater? This was the event that we have firm knowledge of and seems somewhat similar to the End Permian. Was there any chance that an impactor caused the eruption of the Siberian Traps? I believe there is some indication of impact zircons and similar mineral markers but others disagree. When I look into this I am unconvinced that any significant amount of inquiry has delved into this question.

Reply to  john harmsworth
March 2, 2022 4:26 pm

I think it’s entirely possible, because the planet’s interior is essentially a big ball of goo (melted rock) and gases, and all of that likely did react to the massive impact of an asteroid. the shattered stuff went everywhere; small critters likely survived if they buried themselves in tunnels.

It seems logical that the interior would react to a massive impact in a wave formation, with not just one wave form but also with rebounds. If you look at puddles of real goopy mud (slurry), you’d see that kind of thing: the wave forming, spreading then hitting an object and rebounding. It also seems logical that this kind of wave motion could start continental breakup.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Gorman
March 2, 2022 12:37 pm

Actually, the estimates on the amount of CO2 released is probably on the high side. Rocks found at the site of the intrusions show that a significant fraction of the coal was entrained by the magma and the preserved carbon was never oxidized to produce CO2. It was probably more a case of the volatile hydrocarbons being driven off, which were largely toxic.

There is far too much dependence on computer models, particularly when it is not demonstrated that they are appropriate for how they are being used.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 6, 2022 2:30 pm

Oh, but we get such ACCURATE weather predictions from computer models!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Enthalpy
March 2, 2022 8:42 am

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) said it all: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

john harmsworth
Reply to  Enthalpy
March 2, 2022 12:00 pm

Natural stupidity beats artificial intelligence once again.

March 1, 2022 11:01 pm

Ocean temperature distribution extends over a far greater range than 15 C degree or so range of average global temperatures over the last 500 million years.

Alan M
March 1, 2022 11:47 pm

Meanwhile on land the Permian, including the Late Permian, produced some of the most significant coal deposits on earth, locking up all that carbon for us to use today. The Gondwanian coals are virtually all cold climate products with a rich flora. The Triassic on the other hand has virtually no coal and in the southern hemisphere at least was a pretty barren place.

Reply to  Alan M
March 2, 2022 6:10 am

Lots of CO2?

Reply to  pochas94
March 2, 2022 11:25 am

Of course. Plants farm CO2 from the air and put it into crops releasing O2 as a waste product.

Reply to  pochas94
March 2, 2022 4:27 pm

Firestorms will do that.

Rod Evans
March 1, 2022 11:56 pm

The take away from this “study” if computer imaginings can be called study, is. Run away explosive events in Russia can have devastating effect on life…..

March 2, 2022 12:00 am

The event was the Siberian Traps, a series of volcanoes in what is now Siberia. It was an eruption of staggering size and lasted 2 million years. The lava covered an area of 7 million km2 and was 4 million km3. They are right that it’s not remotely comparable to global warming – so why are they doing it?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Terry
March 2, 2022 8:43 am

The Benjamins, Terry, the Benjamins.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Terry
March 2, 2022 12:21 pm

Yeah, funny how they carefully avoid mentioning any facts that might disturb the narrative they are struggling to produce. Oh! Several million square miles of volcanic lava? Nothing to see here!

Reply to  john harmsworth
March 2, 2022 4:30 pm

Isn’t it a shame that they didn’t look at the coalbeds from the Carboniferous and Silurian periods, too, with all those firestorms (high O2 atmosphere) and ignition sources like lightning?

DD More
Reply to  Terry
March 2, 2022 2:03 pm

Milanovskiy (1976) concluded that the original volume of the Traps and related rocks exceeded 2 x10^6 km3, and Masaitis (1983) estimated their volume to be ~ 4 x 10^6 km3. Reichow et al. (2002) estimated the present-day volumes to be around 2.3 x 10^6 km3, but their estimate did not take into account any igneous rocks in the Yenesei-Khatanga Trough, Taimyr Peninsula, or beneath the Kara Sea. Any ‘working estimate’ for the total volume of erupted magmatic products is likely to be at least 3 x10^6 km3, and possibly as much as 5 x10^6 km3.

None of these estimates considers the volume of deeply-seated intrusions (e.g. magmatic underplate at the base of the crust, and frozen magma bodies in the lower and middle crust). If the Siberian Traps are analogous to the North Atlantic Igneous Province, it is likely that many million cubic kilometers of material lie buried at depth in the crust or uppermost mantle.

Molten rock can vary between 700 and 1,200 degrees C (1,300 to 2,200 F). 

Tell us what climate effects 3 to 5 million KM3 of 1000 degree C lava flowing and cooling over a million years will do to the Temperature of this planet.

Reply to  Terry
March 5, 2022 6:19 am

The greatest expanse of flood basalts known of.

Julian Flood
March 2, 2022 12:01 am

Charles, listen carefully, I vill say this only once… *

In a discussion on In Our Time, an excellent radio programme fronted by Lord Bragg, a leading paleobioligist said that the Siberian traps theory was accepted because they could not think of anything else. Here I can help.

At the time of the Permian Triassic extinctions the continents were clustered into one, Pangea, with mountains being pushed up and eroded away, volcanoes erupting and the vast central deserts feeding continent-sized sandstorms across the world ocean. Everything that was happening was feeding the oceans with nutrients.

Enter the diatoms.

A well-fed diatom reproduces furiously, building its glassy frustule, filling itself with oily lipids, then, when the bloom exhausts the local supply of nutrients, dies, releasing the lipids. The ocean surface is smoothed by the pollution and its albedo falls. Warming.

Look for the temperature reconstructions from that time, the huge rise, the whole world sweltering with smooth-mediated wave and hence CCN suppression, the clear blue skies, the drifting blankets of sea snot.

To get a faint impression of what it was like, search for Sea of Marmara and see what happens when a sea with diatoms is fed with nitrates, dissolved silica, phosphates from sewage etc etc, as well as being polluted by fossil fuel run-off from the population on its shores. Sea snot is real, but its the smooth that does the real damage.

* A quote from a WWII comedy programme, ‘Ello, Ello. It is utterly inappropriate as I have said this before. You have a copy of my guess about ocean surface pollution warming. A simple version of it entitled’ Cold Comfort’ can be found at the blog TCW Defending Freedom.

Mark BLR
Reply to  Julian Flood
March 2, 2022 3:22 am

Charles, listen carefully, I vill say this only once… *

Julian, would it be fair to describe your post as a “good moaning” ?


OK, OK ! I’ll get my coat …

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Julian Flood
March 2, 2022 12:45 pm

The ocean surface is smoothed by the pollution and its albedo falls.

Have you considered what happens to the total reflectivity with smooth water?

Julian Flood
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 5, 2022 12:55 am

Under sunlight a smoothed surface warms faster than one with ripples, some of that will be reduction of evaporation but albedo, so one reads, does fall. Pearl divers used to carry a little oil in their mouths which they released when they were at work because it allowed more light to reach the depths.

“I took the easy way out and just weighed the total area of the graph on paper, and then cut out the area under the curve and weighed it. The ratio of the two weights gives the proportion of the two areas.”

Climate science could do with more of that attitude, practical rather than believing that everything can be modelled. The big experiment would be to find or create two large lakes, one with a perfectly clean surface and the other smoothed with something like olive oil to see what happens. That’s what I’d call climate science.


I’ll try and post an image that Google has up today of two lighthouses on Lake Michigan. People don’t notice smooths but the ones on that image are difficult to ignore.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Julian Flood
March 5, 2022 1:14 am

Home Builder in St Joseph Michigan – New Home Construction St Joseph MI ( shows a similar image.

Lake Michigan shows anomalous warming. My guess is that is why.


March 2, 2022 12:32 am

In this 2017 publication Baresel et al. showed that the end Permian extinction took place during a glaciation – “ice age” – of about 80,000 years duration. This is very precise dating for 250 Mya however ice ages are not too difficult to detect based on “regression” – that is, falling sea level:

Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms | Scientific Reports (

The response of the climate establishment to this finding is typical for findings that contradict the warming-alarmist dogma. No need to spend any effort refuting or contradicting the research. It is simply ignored.

Right-Handed Shark
March 2, 2022 1:51 am

They call it “machine learning”, but I’m pretty sure the machine was much smarter before they programmed it.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 2, 2022 2:21 am

They say “But with previous machine learning applications, we couldn’t say how the machine made its decisions.”. Using a newly implemented method from games theory, Dr. Foster has now succeeded in unraveling this aspect: …

Then they go on to state the machine’s decisions, but not how they were made. IOW nothing was unravelled.

I can fill in the missing pieces: The machine was run with various inputs until they got the result they wanted. The inputs were all to do with greenhouse gases and temperatures, because that’s all the ‘researchers’ were interested in. They couldn’t get the desired result so they they added in O2. That weakened the case that the conditions were like today’s (no-one mentions O2 today), so they beefed it up with a bit of ocean acidication.

The usual saying about garbage and gospel applies.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 2, 2022 12:22 pm

Machine learning adds to it … kinda like what Frederick The Great said about artillery

“Artillery adds dignity, to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl.” 

Ed Zuiderwijk
March 2, 2022 2:10 am

The opening paragraph claims that CO2 emissions increased the temperature by 10C. That is nonsense.

Mike Haseler (aka Scottish Sceptic)
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
March 2, 2022 3:06 am

The direct change for a doubling of CO2 is a 0.6 change in temperature (as assessed by someone who understands radiation spectra, not 1C or greater by ignorant alarmists. If that rate of change occurred for each doubling of CO2, we get a ~6C rise if the atmosphere is 100% CO2. If you use the alarmists 1C per doubling a 100% CO2 atmosphere has a 11.3C higher temp. To get 10C rise from CO2 alone, it’s necessary to have a level of 40%CO2.

Mike Haseler (aka Scottish Sceptic)
March 2, 2022 2:53 am

How academics do research: decide what you’d like the outcome to be, then sift all the available evidence rejecting anything that doesn’t agree and then make up some more till you get a model “predicting” the outcome you wanted.

Joao Martins
March 2, 2022 4:10 am

Utter BS:

” Using a newly implemented method from games theory … ”

Natural selection does not “work” according to game theory. Game theory is a humans game, based on ASSUMING future scenarios and making decisions/choices BEFORE the occurrence of the changes that would substantiate them. Is an exercise of teleology. Thus, game theory is an a priori strongly biased procedure. But natural selection is randomness and reaction to random occurrences with what the organisms have at the moment, AFTER the onset of changes. Living organisms do not PREPARE themselves for the changes to come. Only some humans who did not understand this can have the lunatic idea of predicting changes and previously adapting to them. Those humans, who claim they are saving the world, the biosphere, the climate, etc., are actually the ones who are DESTROYING nature.

Vlad the Impaler
March 2, 2022 4:32 am

I love the way we have to keep showing these computer geeks some very simple facts. My reference is Geological Time Scale 2020, edited by Gradstein, Ogg, Schmitz, and Ogg. Volume II covers the Permian and the Triassic:

1) In the million years (give or take) before the terminal mass extinction event itself, there was already a large number of genera who were in the process.of going extinct;

2) Over 90% of the isotopic dates of the Siberian Large Igneous Province are later than the accepted date for the Permian/Triassic boundary; the L.I.P. was just getting started when the terminal extinction took place;

3) Temperatures are thought to have fluctuated >5 Celsius degrees, both directions prior to, and at, the extinction event; 5 may be a minimum, but, temperatures before and after the extinction event were both warmer and colder than at the time of the P/Tr transition;

4) Best guesses right now on how long the extinction took are less than 25,000 years (and eye-blink geologically), but the authors and editors of Geological Time Scale hint that research is tending to show that the event itself may have been as short as 10,000 years. By the time of the next publication of the Geological Time Scale, the issue may be narrowed down further.

Really? They state, “… we couldn’t say how the machine made its decisions.”? Wow!!! Sign me up for that!!!!!

Somehow, the words of the fictional character Kyle Reese, talking to Sarah Connor, in the original Terminator, are ringing hauntingly true: “It decided our fate in a microsecond — — — extinction.”

Please, include me out,


Ian MacCulloch
Reply to  Vlad the Impaler
March 2, 2022 6:31 pm

Now you are getting somewhere. The mass extinction is taking place because the early activity during the LIP is basically that of felsic exhalative volcanism. This results in a significant amount of volcanic detritus that becomes airborne. These repeat events continuously affect life on both land and sea as the volcanic ash is distributed over vast areas of the ocean. This is not restricted to the P/T boundary but is replicated on many occasions all the way back to the mid-Proterozoic. Remote from the LIP volcanic sequences are the remnants which include readily identifiable tuffaceous horizons that are interbedded and included in the Permian Bulli sequence of NSW so much so that elemental sulphur (a direct result of active volcanic events) is a common component in the coals as pyrite – more so in similar coals in the mid west of the USA and elsewhere. The point being is that the mechanisms associated with the LIP are just not restricted to lava flows but long-term, millions of years, of intense repeatable atmospheric activity. While the palaeos can speculate on the temperature and other changes it cannot be ignored that the atmosphere as a result of intense and long-term exhalative volcanic is utterly toxic and the root cause of this mass extinction not only at the P/T boundary but also at many others. If the palaeos look at the geochemistry of the enclosing host for the fossils they will find the host fine grained non carbonate rocks bear a striking resemblance to the host felsic volcanic sequences.

March 2, 2022 4:39 am

I can accept the possibility of deoxygenation and even rising water temperatures, but not acidification.

It’s a giveaway.

George Daddis
March 2, 2022 5:21 am

To me, comparing a volcanic event with today’s rise in CO2 is like comparing hitting a wall while walking in the dark versus traveling 120 mph and hitting the same wall.

(Speed kills.)

john harmsworth
Reply to  George Daddis
March 2, 2022 1:33 pm

Except we’re just going back and forth and there’s no wall.

Peta of Newark
March 2, 2022 5:28 am

To paraphrase someone famous..
Why do we need; Three Critical Factors

Wouldn’t just one have been plenty?
They have completely “No Self Awareness” have they…..

‘spose it goes with the zero science content so mustn’t grumble
Mourn maybe, mourn for the death of Science

March 2, 2022 5:45 am

The authors merely asserted that the volcanic eruptions of the Siberian Traps release vast quantities of carbon, and asserted that temperatures rose by 10 deg C, and that those two factors caused the extinction at the end of the Permian. None of these assertions are in any way proven. Most of the mass extinctions in earth’s life were caused by asteroid impacts that in turn had geologic impacts. Previously it was assumed that an asteroid impact would cool the earth, not warm the earth, and that is why the cold blooded dinosaurs died out. But over the last several decades paleontologists have largely changed their minds and now believe dinosaurs were warm blooded animals that could tolerate cold temperatures like mammals and birds. Even the very notion of plate tectonics only became accepted by geologists in the last 50-60 years.

So, the reality is these scientists don’t know jack.

Reply to  Duane
March 2, 2022 6:21 am

The study paints a picture, but it’s not the only picture in town. Well worth a look, though.

Flash Chemtrail
March 2, 2022 6:07 am

All that machine learning and not a single photograph of a black hole? I am completely disappointed.

Pat Frank
March 2, 2022 6:31 am

Great. So all we need do to avoid a Permian-like extinction event is prevent massive volcanism in Siberia. Time to go short on virgins. 🙂

The paper shows that siliceous marine organisms were impacted far more heavily than the calcareous.

There’s actually some intelligent discussion of this point: “Even though our results show that genera that precipitate siliceous skeletons were more susceptible to extinction than any other mineralogical group, aragonite, high-Mg calcite, and low-Mg calcite genera were also significantly selected against when compared with genera that possess no shell (Fig. 5).

“Despite this selectivity pattern that is consistent with an ocean acidification scenario, the slightly higher extinction likelihood of genera with low-Mg calcite skeletons over aragonite skeletons during the extinction interval is inconsistent with modern studies (e.g., Ries et al. Reference Ries, Cohen and McCorkle2009; Ries Reference Ries2011) suggesting that ocean acidification was not a selective pressure during the extinction interval.

“It is not only a genus’ CaCO3 polymorph that dictates whether it is vulnerable to ocean acidification. For instance, an organism’s ability to regulate pH and carbonate chemistry at the site of calcification, the degree to which the organism’s biomineral is protected by an organic coating, and shell microstructure are characteristics that have also been noted (Ries et al. Reference Ries, Cohen and McCorkle2009; Ries Reference Ries2011; Garbelli et al. Reference Garbelli, Angiolini and Shen2017).”

That is, calcareous organisms proved resistant to ocean acidification mostly because carbonate deposition is energy-driven. It’s not just chemical equilibration. And calcareous organisms can control the local pH near their shells by way of a proteinaceous coat.

Reply to  Pat Frank
March 2, 2022 8:24 am

We can do it if we spot the meteor in time.

Reply to  Pat Frank
March 2, 2022 9:03 am

You are using the terminology of the alarmists when you use the term “ocean acidification”.

It's a trap.

Reply to  Pat Frank
March 2, 2022 9:41 am

As soon as we invent faster-than-light travel, we can just send out a telescope and video what happened…..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Pat Frank
March 2, 2022 12:52 pm

Mucous and keratin are two common defense mechanisms.

March 2, 2022 7:13 am

This is yet another Just So story now based on a data-less model run in an AI computer.

“In the course of the next several millennia, the climate ultimately warmed by ten degrees. As a consequence, on land, roughly 75 percent of all organisms went extinct; in the oceans, the number was roughly 90 percent.”

There is no evidence presented in the paper that the extinctions were caused by the warming, which is implied, but not measured.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 7:58 am

Also, it must be noted that the life forms that existed at the end of the Permian were extremely simple organism, not the complex life forms that exist today, or after the Permian extinction event. The more complex the organism, the better it can adapt to environmental changes. Indeed, the entire notion of evolution is that simpler life forms evolve into more complex life forms in response to changes in their environment and in response to other life forms (food sources, predators, etc.) as a survival strategy.

Even if the authors’ assertion that warming temperatures due to CO increases supposedly caused by vulcanism caused the extinction event 251 MYA, it has zero relevance to today’s highly evolved, highly complex, well adapted biosphere.

Reply to  Duane
March 2, 2022 8:12 am

Duane ==> They are just making things up — Rudyard Kipling-esque. How the elephant got its trunk….

They told their AI to look for how CO2 killed everything — and it did.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 12:50 pm

Yup … in science speak, that’s called “confirmation bias”.

In the world of truisms and old sayings, it goes, “To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Duane
March 2, 2022 12:54 pm

I think that you are confusing the Permian with the Precambrian.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Duane
March 2, 2022 1:49 pm

I would think that fish were already quite highly evolved, having been around for 100 million years already. I’m not sure that “highly evolved” species are more adaptable. Evolution changes organisms to be a better fit to their environment, not necessarily to make them more adaptable.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 9:08 am

Kip, as additionally revealed in Pat Frank’s above comment, we have in this study another example of CliSciFi practitioners stating conclusions not supported by the specific study results and, more worrisome, directly contradicting published study results. The UN IPCC CliSciFi reports and U.S. National Assessment CliSciFi reports are both rife with such official governmental lies. Read anything by Roger Pielke, Jr. or Steven E. Koonin and you can see what the various reports are lying about.

Reply to  Dave Fair
March 2, 2022 9:43 am

Dave => I have written about OA many times, and the PLUS in this paper is that they openly admit that:

“It is not only a genus’ CaCO3 polymorph that dictates whether it is vulnerable to ocean acidification. For instance, an organism’s ability to regulate pH and carbonate chemistry at the site of calcification, the degree to which the organism’s biomineral is protected by an organic coating, and shell microstructure are characteristics that have also been noted (Ries et al. Reference Ries, Cohen and McCorkle2009; Ries Reference Ries2011; Garbelli et al. Reference Garbelli, Angiolini and Shen2017).”

And give links to the many papers that support this fact. It is dead, expended CaCO3 shells that will be disolved back into the sea water to restore and buffer imbalances — not the shells of LIVING organisms, which self-protect. If not, then no tide pool organisms would exist today with the wildly swinging pH levels found in tide pools.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 9:44 am

That said — I love Rudyard Kipling’s story\ies and am fascinated and amused by those made up in modern biology and evolutionist papers.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 10:30 am

Thanks for the information, Kip!

Reply to  Kip Hansen
March 2, 2022 11:30 am

Several Millenia ?

The eruptions continued for roughly a millennia of millennias or 2 million years. Its a 1000 fold factor longer.

lee riffee
March 2, 2022 7:48 am

I guess the University of Hamburg didn’t consider all of the other toxic substances emitted by erupting volcanoes… Substances, which, unlike CO2, have some very immediate and devastating effects on living things. All of the ash and sulfur is what would have made water acidic, and ash would have outright killed many animals that were near the eruptions. And then there would be the volcanic winter(s), which likely froze many land animals and plants that were unaccustomed to severe cold.
It amazes me how these greenies always want to pick out one tiny factor (among many) as the cause for some past (or theoretical future) disaster. That would be like a coroner doing an autopsy on a body and making a big to-do about the victim having the beginnings of skin cancer and having mild heart disease. But making very little mention of the fact that the body was riddled with bullet holes!

Reply to  lee riffee
March 2, 2022 7:59 am

You mean, like ash, and sulfur dioxide? And stuff?

Gary Pearse
March 2, 2022 8:36 am

They are inventing the CO2 juggernaut for Permian extinction for an entirely different purpose, to relate it to today’s fake CO2 ‘crisis’. The C02 crisis warming hasn’t shown up with 40 years of hype and a 40 % increase in the gas since 1850. Their 300% overestimate for warming by 2008 using models that they have finally acknowledged as “running a way too hot” (Gavin Schmidt GSS) was a brutal scientific falsification of the theory.

Ergo, this Permian extinction was falsified before the study was even conceived

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 2, 2022 8:43 am

Oops, extinction occurred but not from CO2 warming and acidifying! Oh, volcanics in Siberia is pure speculation. An bolide strike is still the best bet. Such events do trigger volcanic activity but myriad other effects go with the impact – especially years of high altitude dust blocking solar insulation!

March 2, 2022 9:09 am

The same old propaganda CO2 = out of control heating and marine ph shift .What about SO2 from all the volcanic activity .
Temperatures rose gradually throughout the Permian
H2S is more toxic than CN no mention of that, there is evidence of plenty of hydrogen sulfide in the late Permian .Certain cosmic events just might have had something to do with it .

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  H B
March 2, 2022 1:01 pm

No need to invoke cosmic events. Some bacteria are perfectly capable of producing hydrogen sulfide from decaying organisms.

Josh Peterson
March 2, 2022 9:54 am

The article gives incorrect extinction rates: “on land, roughly 75 percent of all organisms went extinct; in the oceans, the number was roughly 90 percent.” [emphasis mine] Those numbers are for species, not organisms; the death rate for individual organisms would have been far higher. A pattern of universal destruction of individuals in all species across the planet is nothing like what we see today. Mike Tremblay’s GIGO comment is spot on; this is nothing but fear mongering, and it’s about as useful as Ehrlich’s rants about humanity’s imminent demise in the sixties.

March 2, 2022 10:56 am

252 million years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions in Siberia led to a massive release of greenhouse gases

Studies of modern volcanoes show that the vast majority of the gas composition of eruptions is good old H2O (water vapor) followed by CO2 and SO2 (sulfur dioxide). Water vapor absorbs infrared radiation far more than CO2 does and has the most significant impact on temperature. So was a spike in global water vapor the major culprit in the End-Permian Mass Extinction?

March 2, 2022 11:20 am

As a (retired) Professor of Comp Sci I feel obligated to point out that machine learning of some games (like chess and backgammon) is possible. Machine learning works well when the number of inputs is low and the rules of the game are well defined.
AI is not yet able, in my opinion, to learn to predict complicated chaotic systems (like weather and climate) with enough accuracy to trust such predictions.

Models of every stripe are, of necessity, simplifications of reality. The best way to test global phenomena would be to build an artificial planet the size of Earth, and locate it an orbit that matches Earth’s. Make oceans and continents and run the experiment. Anything less is a simplification. A model. And models must be tested in the real complicated situation. Models cannot be reality. Ever.

john harmsworth
March 2, 2022 11:59 am

I see no proof in anything they said that any one of those disastrous conditions existed at the time .How about we ditch the AI pontifications nd try to determine what the actual conditions were first?

Clyde Spencer
March 2, 2022 12:28 pm

In the course of the next several millennia, the climate ultimately warmed by ten degrees. As a consequence, on land, roughly 75 percent of all organisms went [became] extinct; in the oceans, the number was roughly 90 percent.

Correlation alone does not establish causation!

Foster and his team were able to directly link their extinction to the following climate changes: declining oxygen levels in the water, rising water temperatures, and most likely also ocean acidification.

However, the order and priority might have been the opposite of what is listed. That is, HCl and HF from the volcanic emissions react with water to create strong acids, as do sulfates from the common pyrite and marcasite in the baked/burned coal beds. Whereas, CO2 is a weak acid, and strongly buffered by the (bi)carbonate buffering chemistry. Thus, the strong acids may have actually resulted in acidification of the oceans. That alone may have been disastrous for the species near the surface. All of the above mentioned gases are toxic, and capable of killing air-breathers on land. The lowered pH would have driven CO2 out of the water. Between the CO2 from the intrusions, the oxidation of the coal beds, and outgassing from acidified ocean water, it may have increased the atmospheric temperatures. All of this would have killed the surface life. As bacteria decomposed the dead animals, it would have used up the oxygen and released even more CO2 and toxic H2S. Eventually, what oxygen was in the deeper water would have diffused out and lowered the O2 in the deeper water as well, killing the life forms there. CO2 was involved, but (in my judgement) probably not the driving force. It was probably the toxic gases from the volcanic emissions and the combustion of the coal, producing not only HCl, HF, H2SO4, Hg, and CO2, but with limited oxygen, carbon monoxide, and various volatile hydrocarbons similar to benzene and coal tars.

Ed B
March 2, 2022 1:14 pm

Seems to conflict with this peer-reviewed study:

Cold extermination: One of greatest mass extinctions was due to an ice age and not to Earth’s warming

Mary Anne Donovan
March 2, 2022 1:32 pm

I remember learning, based on current and historical records, that when volcanoes erupted they threw all sorts of gases into the atmosphere, not just GHGs, including tons of ash, dust and particles that ‘blanketed’ areas in the region of the eruption with dense clouds and affected climate, but temporarily — and as I recall, even to lowering, not increasing temperatures.

Which is factually true or the most consistently observed result of volcanic eruption in the real world?

March 2, 2022 4:13 pm

Well this during a period Earth was in greenhouse global climate which quite different than our current Icehouse global climate.
Or ocean was already much warmer, and then had massive volcanic activity.
Starting with warm ocean, it already had lots of CO2, and massive volcanic activity warmed
the deep ocean, even more.
So, it seems it was the massive volcanic activity.
And one imagine 1/2 as much volcanic activity in our present cold world, would also cause mass extinctions [though not have much warming effect upon our very cold ocean].

Robert B
March 2, 2022 7:34 pm

Machine learning identifies grant award selectivity patterns across the end of western academia event.

March 3, 2022 9:18 am

With the aid of machine learning, a method from the field of Artificial Intelligence”

It is another model.
That is, a synthetic programmer written collection of Confirmation bias where gross assumptions (two million years Siberian Trappes eruptions emitted “greenhouse gases”) begat all author favored results.

Ignoring two million years of sulfur emissions are far deadlier than CO₂. Nor should one forget that two million years of molten lava overspreading vast areas are going to heat the atmosphere…

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