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Permian Triassic Exinction
The biggest mass extinction of all time happened 251 million years ago, at
the Permian-Triassic boundary. Virtually all of life was wiped out, but
the pattern of how life was killed off on land has been mysterious until
now. A team from Bristol University and Saratov University, Russia, have
now laid the evidence bare.
The Bristol and Russian researchers have documented the event in Russia
after looking at 675 specimens of amphibians and reptiles from 289 areas
spanning 13 successive geological time zones in the South Urals basin. The
study will be reported in Nature tomorrow [Thursday, November 4].
The end-Permian mass extinction is now thought to have been caused by
gigantic volcanic eruptions, which triggered a runaway greenhouse effect
and nearly put an end to life on earth.
Ecosystem remodelling among vertebrates at the PermianTriassic boundary in
Russia, M J Benton, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol,
Bristol and V P Tverdokhlebov and M V Surkov, Geological Institute of
Saratov State University, Russia. Nature, 4 November 2004.