Discovery challenges understanding of how quickly life recovered from the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history
About 250 million years ago, the Permian-Triassic mass extinction killed over 80 per cent of the planet’s species. In the aftermath, scientists believe that life on earth was dominated by simple species for up to 10 million years before more complex ecosystems could evolve. Now this longstanding theory is being challenged by a team of international researchers – including scientists from McGill University and Université du Québec à Montréal.
A fossilized ocean ecosystem
Until now, scientists have long theorized that scorching hot ocean conditions resulting from catastrophic climate change prevented the development of complex life after the mass extinction. This idea is based on geochemical evidence of ocean conditions at the time. Now the discovery of fossils dating back 250.8 million years near the Guizhou region of China suggests that complex ecosystems were present on Earth just one million years after the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, which is much earlier than previously thought.
“The fossils of the Guizhou region reveal an ocean ecosystem with diverse species making up a complex food chain that includes plant life, boney fish, ray-finned fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and molluscs. In all, our team discovered 12 classes of organisms and even found fossilised faeces, revealing clues about the diets of these ancient animals,” says Morgann Perrot, a former postdoctoral researcher at McGill University, now at Université du Québec à Montréal.
Challenging an age-old theory
Previously, it was thought that complex ecosystem would need five to ten million years to evolve after an extinction. However, the researchers found that the specimens in the Guizhou region evolved much quicker than that by using radiometric dating to date the rocks where the fossils were discovered.
“All of this has implications for our understanding of how quickly life can respond to extreme crises. It also necessitates a re-evaluation of early Triassic ocean conditions,” says Perrot, whose research focuses on earth sciences and geochronology.
About the study
“A Mesozoic fossil lagerstätte from 250.8 million years ago shows a modern-type marine ecosystem” by Xu Dai, Joshua Davies, Zhiwei Yuan, Arnaud Brayard, Maria Ovtcharova, Guanghui Xu, Xiaokang Liu, Christopher Smith, Carrie Schweitzer, Mingtao Li, Morgann Perrot, Shouyi Jiang, Luyi Miao, Yiran Cao, Jia Yan, Ruoyu Bai, Fengyu Wang, Wei Guo, Huyue Song, Li Tian, Jacopo Dal Corso, Yuting Liu, Daoliang Chu, and Haijun Song was published in Science.
METHOD OF RESEARCH
SUBJECT OF RESEARCH
A Mesozoic fossil lagerstätte from 250.8 million years ago shows a modern-type marine ecosystem
ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases
This is wrong on every level.
Early Triassic life wasn’t “simple”. It was just less diverse than before the end-Permian mass extinction event. Surviving organisms were just as complex as those wipe out, however better adapted to escape the various lethal effects, among which scorching hot ocean conditions were probably not included.
For instance, the predominant land vertebrates, related to mammals, descended from burrowing creatures.
Early Triassic ecosystems were simpler. The organisms within them were not.
By far the greatest mass extinction event on Earth occurred about two billion years before the Permian Great Dying, when oxygenic, photosynthetic cyanobacteria wiped out most of their contemporaries with their deadly poison O2 emissions.
Quote:”This is wrong on every level.
Translate:”Modern Science at its very best – trivia, minutia and irrelevance
End Permian sea surface temperatures were likely cooler than the warmest tropical oceanic areas today, and certainly below peak Cretaceous hot tub waters.
Air temperature however might have spiked to a Phanerozoic Eon record, except for during the transitory end Cretaceous impact.
I too find the “Hot Ocean” hypothesis difficult to swallow. Considering back in 2017 published studies we’re indicating the opposite occupied.
I guess It was a Cold Heat
Well, maybe you can “translate” how the researchers have a precise date one million years after the “Permian-Triassic mass extinction”?
Or why the researchers didn’t consider pockets of surviving life versus an evolution on steroids oddly producing the exact same types of animals?
The Triassic “pig-lizard” genus:
Used to be called “mammal-like reptiles”, but they weren’t reptiles. They were synapsids on the mammalian line. Reptiles are diapsids. Both lineages descend from anapsids, the first amniotes.
The terms are based upon the number of post-orbital fenestrae, ie holes in their heads behind their eyeball sockets.
Only on GIGO PLanet Gore.
Based on the holes in their heads?
Two mass extinction events worse than the End Permian “Great Dying”:
This is wrong on every level.
Early Triassic life wasn’t “simple”
NOT what they said/
About 250 million years ago, the Permian-Triassic mass extinction killed over 80 per cent of the planet’s species. In the aftermath, scientists believe that life on earth was dominated by simple species
If it was merely dominated by simple life forms, then it would not be unusual to find complex life forms during this time period, and the whole article is redundant.
my point is he misrepresented an article we can all read.
address my point instead of quibbling or asking for an instant replay
That is not what happened.
Life after the Great Dying was dominated not by simple organisms, but by those complex forms which for whatever reason managed to survive.
Ecosystems were however obviously less complex, missing as they did many prior component species.
i remain unconvinced that anyone especially you can objectively define
simple or complex.
If you aren’t playing semantics about “objective” or cut-off points on a continuum, simple organisms are single-celled or undifferentiated colonies. Complex organisms exhibit functional differentiation.
not playing sematics.
the article was clear
scientists believe that life on earth was dominated by simple species
BELIEVE and DOMINATED.
im not playing a game with objective. the problem of complexity is
simple organisms are single-celled or undifferentiated colonies. Complex organisms exhibit functional differentiation.\\
all animals are multicellular while most animals have complex tissues and organs some of the simplest, most primitive groups lack them For us, Simple Animals: are generally very small all are aquatic: freshwater or marine some are poorly known forms that are often found in unusual environments usually with few or no true tissues most with only few or no organs or organ systems the organ systems present are usually primitive and simple no circulatory system no respiratory system most with no nervous system when present is nerve net most with no excretory system when present is protonephridia
Where did animals come into it? The definition is for organisms, which was what John specified.
Good comments about the Early Triassic “simple” life, John. During the end of the Permian the continents were together in a super continent called Pangea. The destructive event was the Siberian Traps, a very large area of basaltic flows that were very hot, and then, for millions of years, functioned as black bodies and converted a lot of incoming radiation to heat. It is difficult to imagine effective heat transfer through ocean currents that would heat all oceanic areas into dangerous levels. Also, living on coastal areas farthest away from the Siberian Traps would present a lot of climate moderation. The good news here is that the way the continents are now spread out resists mass extinctions, CAGW? Forget about it.
get a room
On a site where skepticism is often healthy, there are some very simple but practical questions everyone should consider from an article like this. I gave up AAAS membership years ago so have not had access to the original article; I will attempt to gain it.
Age dating is a complex activity, so when a date of a rock is offered someone who has been involved with dating naturally asks questions, such as:
Who collected the rock in the field that was used for dating? That collecting in itself requires a great deal of care.
Why U/Pb, when the half-life is approximately the age of the earth? One might suggest Rb/Sr; why was the choice made and what is the error in the statistics? Having watched counting statistics being produced during mass spectrometer runs I would want to see all the printouts, and the unfortunate reason for this is that I have seen researchers toss out results that don’t agree with a conclusion reached before all the results were in.
Who performed the grinding of the rock, collection of the desired minerals, their solution and ion collection? Who ran the mass spectrometer?–a technician or one of the authors? I unfortunately have good reason for asking a question like that.
To a geologist, especially one who has spent some time mapping the Permo-
Triassic in the western Cordillera, this study has interesting implications–but some corroboration of dates will hopefully follow.
I would also add the caution that the suggestion that ‘scientists believe that it took 10 million years for complex life to recover after the Perms-Triassic extinction’ is misleading. A more insightful statement is that fossils of complex life have been found to be absent for 10 million years following the change in tectonics that marks the Permo-Triassic boundary. Up until the dating of these fossiliferous rocks from southern China this was an observation, not a ‘belief’.
No good geologist will discount this finding; they will eagerly be looking for further confirmation, and questioning. Right now, this could be analogous to either the finding of the Tanis Site, or the announcement of cold fusion.
It did not take 10 million years for complex life to recover. Complex life still existed after the Great Dying, just in greatly reduced numbers. When complexity recovered, it was with life forms clearly descended from those of the Late Permian. It’s not as if multicellular organisms had to start over again from scratch.
The “Triassic Explosion” of new forms has been compared to the “Cambrian Explosion” after the mass extinction of the Ediacaran Biota.
250.8 million years ago?
Is there any dating technique with that kind of precision?
High-precision uranium-lead dating shows that the age of the Guiyang Biota is 250.83 +0.07/–0.06 million years ago.
I am completely lost about how anyone could validate that claimed uncertainty. Geoff S
incredulity is not an argument its evidence that you cant do the work yourself
i am completely lost how anyone can seriously doubt radiometric dating.
of course there are assumptions.
there is no science without assumptions, for gods sake there is no math without assumptions
Radiometric dating measures the decay of radioactive atoms to determine the age of a rock sample. It is founded on unprovable assumptions such as 1) there has been no contamination, 2) the decay rate has remained constant, and 3) the original material contained 100% of the parent isotopes and 0% of the daughter isotopes.
Point 3 has capacity to severely alter results, but many researchers seem to pretend it does not exist. Geoff S
Zircons reject lead when forming. Their crystal structure contains uranium and thorium, but no lead originally. Lead in zircons all comes from radioactive decay.
1) For rock samples, this is a valid assumption.
2) Unless basic physics changes over time, this is a valid assumption.
3) If the decay products are a gas, then this is a valid assumption.
There are circumstances under which decay rates can change, but they don’t occur in rock samples on earth. They’re relativistic, such as moving at light speed or next to a black hole.
Stripping all the electrons from a sample might throw decay off as well, but the dater would notice such an extreme anomaly.
doubt is easy, knowledge is hard.
i suppose you doubt this
Don’t forget Gobekli Tepe or whatever. I mean, after all, that site is the beginning of religion, tool making, city life, agriculture, matalurgy. I find it astounding how much archaeologists can learn from just a smidgen of religion rubbed onto a pot shard….
Thread,wrong Blog,wrong Discipline, wrong Science.
Not a Science comment, must be Nonsense.
I envy your bliss. The article, and a great many comments, are based upon conjecture accepted as Infallible Truth. I’m pointing out that even the most empiric of measurements are, ultimately, subject to interpretation and interpretation is subject to bias, because your intellect is not infinite, neither is your knowledge or understanding. No matter how well proven your theory, it remains a theory, subject to criticism and test.
Thusly, I find little difference between the fantism of the archaeologists, and the unshakeable belief of a certain subset of academia that refuses to admit to any explanation other than the one they get funding for. From your reaction I assume you are somehow personally invested in holy potshard collecting of some sort? My apologies…. maybe you would have had some context for my comment, had you noticed it is actually to something Len Werner said, quite far up the page. But you were too busy judging my scienciness, yes?
U-Pb dating relies on two isotopic decay chains. The actinium series, 238U to 207Pb, has a half life of 710 million years. 235U to 206Pb is 4.47 billion years.
and more importantly were the researchers circumcized or not?
you got questions? hint questions are not arguments
Do our DNA & genome genetic mutations throughout generations support the millions of years we are supposed to have had human life on this planet?
Humans, if you mean Genus Homo, have been here fewer than three million years. Genetics totally support that dating, ie rocks confirm molecular clocks.
If by “humans” you mean bipedal great apes, then it might be seven million years, but again rocks and clocks jibe.
It’s not supposed, but observed.
Do you know how much “fewer than three million years”? Please! That is in relation to “Genus Homo”.
H. habilis remains are dated from 2.31 to 1.65 million years ago, but australopithecines with key mutations leading to our genus date from 2.7 Ma.
John, there’s a whole lot of research needed before I can answer you on every point above, you seem deeply interested in the subject. I shall not argue…no time, I have to go find out stuff…
…but ‘observed’ is still subject to interpretation, thus bias and preconception. Also, it is widely agreed the ‘fossil record’ is mostly a cluster of coincidences at particular times. Static snapshots in one moment of time, at one geological location. There just is not enough to assume the existence or otherwise of any one species at any one time at any one place.
Just saying, faith and science are not the dissociated enemies some propose…and we should all be careful of what we believe the science to be…
From five million years ago, the fossil record of bipedal African great apes is good. Before that, it’s sketchy, but molecular clocks suggest ~7 Ma for the divergence of our line from the chimp lineage, which comports with the rocks we have.
Faith doesn’t enter into the physical evidence.
It depends if you believe the terribly convoluted paper written to introduce the concept of genetic clocking or not. I remember reading it, and thinking “wow, that’s a nice little game to play, maybe somebody eventually does something useful with it.” So far, I’ve only ever seen it used to support other theories… You know, like every new black hole proves dark matter, which is what proves dark energy, which shows us the black holes, which depends on dark matter…round and round she goes.
Paleo-archaeology is following to footsteps of anthro-archaeology. Only, instead of seeing religious and/or ritualistic purpose for every scrap of clay they dig up, the paleo guys are seeing extinctions and cataclysms.
I don’t say they are always wrong, but I think they are right mostly by accident, the few times they get something right.
As for ions and isotopes to date rocks; turns out that holy redshift of the Dark Mutterers happens in quanta. I shall not invoke all the power of ridicule by offering my theory here, but that quantal red shift throws a whole set of spanners into the rock-ageing gearbox.
For those with a bent for apocryphal history, note that the nuclear explosions over the Iraqi desert surprised the hell out of everyone when the fallout turned out to be radioactive, something unheard of with lighter elements. I didn’t not just say that… but that quantal redshift…
Nuclear explosions over the Iraqi desert? Quantal redshift?
Using DuckDuckGo, I’m able to find Quantum Redshift, which is a video game. Nothing on quantal redshift.
I said it’s mythology. As for the quantified redshift, apparently the latest from Webb, reported about two weeks ago.
…which means there’s hope for my theory that rather than red shift, atoms blue-shift as they age. Any form of mass accumulation will of necessity be quantal.
Your talking about the tales of great battles in the sky and on the ground from the ancient Hindu text in the Mahabharata? Text that can be construed to describe the use of advanced weapons that according to recognized history did not exist until the 20th century.
There’s that one, too!
But the entire area between Egypt and the Indus valley is peppered with sites showing sand vitrification, melted bricks etc. Either the people giving us minus votedowns admit the ancients had nuclear weapons, or they need contemplate the only other mechanism that can seriously be proposed: Massive electrical discharges on planetary scale, such as discussed by the Thunderbolts project. See
I see no reason to dismiss either hypothesis.
Please cite these alleged vitrification and melted bricks sites.
Just as described in Genesis.
Neither Genesis 1 nor Genesis 2 bear any resemblance to observed reality, and they irreconcilably contradict each other. They also each contradict observed reality.
No they don’t. You just Believe they do.
Here’s a couple of hints. Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 are one topic, God the Creator, Elohim. (The original didn’t have chapters or even verse divisions in the text. Or even punctuation like parenthesis.)
Genesis 2:4 FF is Yahweh (Jehovah, if you prefer) Elohim in relation to what He created.
I just used a number of English punctuations called “parenthesis” (https://rhetfig.appspot.com/view?id=ag1zfnJoZXRmaWctaHJkchgLEhBSaGV0b3JpY2FsRmlndXJlGIP6AQw)
The text only “irreconcilably contradict each other” if you choose to believe they do.
PS “Observed Reality”?
Who was there to “observe” it?
Theories built on theories.
I am glad you posted this Gunga Din! Much appreciated!
Just the facts. Genesis, by contrast is just the evidence-free storytelling, ie mythmaking to explain the world, making supernatural stuff up, rather than searching on naturalistic explanations.
I’d urge you actually to read the Bible before commenting on it.
The two contradictory creation myths in Genesis owe nothing at all to their conventional division into chapter and verse.
A personal accusation/attack?
I have read the Bible, cover to cover in various translations over the years. Aside from reading the NT, and sections of God’s Word more times than I can count.
I actually have a degree in Theology though, getting a degree in Theology was incidental to my desire to learn about God and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
But in the course of that I learned about things like figures of speech, orientalism’s, etc. At one time, when I had access to the recourse materials in the library, I could translate from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.
I know some of “what the Bible says”. I’m learning more.
PS “Spirit” can’t be observed. Sometimes, as on the day of Pentecost, it’s effects can be “observed”. I’ve experienced both end of that.
In your reading of the Bible in Hebrew, did you notice that land plants were created before the sun?
How do you suppose that happened?
Reading without understanding is not reading at all. It’s reguregitating shamless lies.
That is, blasphemy.
If you imagine that Genesis 1, 2 and other creation myth passages in the Bible are literally true, then you allege God is false, sadistic, a trickster and deceptive and .
It’s not because of what I say, but what the Bible says.
I don’t “believe” anything. I read what the Bible says and compare that with observed reality.
Even John Calvin knew that Genesis and other “scientific” parts of the Bible were not literally true. As did Augustine in AD 400.
To which non-literalists I could add Paul, inventor of Christianity, if you believe 2 Timothy was in fact written, or dictated, by Saul of Tarsus, as it almost certainly was not.
But its authorship doesn’t matter. It’s content does. Not only did the Catholic Church include the forged letter in its New Testament canon, but even Protestant skeptics like Luther let it through.
To Paul, “Scripture” meant the Septuagint, the Alexandrine Jewish Greek translation of the Old Testament as then recognized.
Two Timothy 16 says (my translation), “All scripture inspired by God is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness.” No mention of description of nature there. The Greek word for “nature” is the origin of the English word “physics”.
Can’t edit auto-miscorrected “it’s”.
I would imagine your conception of what Gen 1 and 2 are saying is a caricature of the actual data. Look up Day-Age Theory or go to RTB.com; you may find it enlightening.
There are no actual data in Genesis 1 and 2. Rather than buying into lies about pre-scientific creation myths, please study the real history of life.
he order of creation in the Six Days story and the Adam and Eve story are irreconcilable. This inconvenient truth has been noted for centuries, if not millennia.
As for divergence from observations of nature, we don’t need testimony from people present at the creation, only from today. In Genesis 1, God created night and day before He made the sun. How does that work?
Then he made the solid vault of heaven and divided the waters above from the waters below. Again, where are these waters above the firmament, ie the solid sphere of the sky? Which, we later learn are kept in storehouses, from which God, walkimng on the dome, personally releases as rain, hail and snow.
Then on the third day, God gathered the waters together to create dry land, upon which He said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
Bear in mind that God has not yet created the sun, which He allegedly does on the fourth day. Explain please how green plants can be createdd before lights in the sky, ie the sun marking the day and the moon the night.
Note the order of creation in this myth and the next one attached to it in the Bible are irreconcilible. In the first story, Elohim separates alreadty extant waters, then creates earth, vegetation, sun, animals, man. In the second, YHWH creates a man, then a garden, then animals, then a woman.
While contradictory between themselves, both stories also go against reality. Animals evolved long before green plants, unless you include cyanobacteria among the plants. But clearly these unicells are not even eukaryotes, let alone vascular land plants.
“Until now, scientists have long theorized that scorching hot ocean conditions resulting from catastrophic climate change prevented the development of complex life after the mass extinction.”
Al Gore must have read that and thought it was happening now.
Honestly, I think AlGore just came up with a way to make a buck.