First in the history of the Earth's mass extinctions caused the animals themselves - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 September 2015 12:10
Earliest mass extinction on Earth happened about 540 million years ago in the late Ediacaran period was generated by the rapid evolution of the representatives themselves of life, not some cosmic or natural disasters, say paleontologists in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. "Meanwhile, the extinction and today there are strong parallels. Extinction end Ediacaria shows that the emergence of new forms of behavior in animals can completely change the whole face of the planet and destroy the ecosystem, and we, mankind, are the strongest ecosystem engineers in the history of the Earth", - Darroh said Simon (Simon Darroch) from Vanderbilt University in Nashville (USA). Darroh and his colleagues came to this surprising conclusion by studying the species composition and structure of communities latest Ediacaran metazoans, lived on Earth about 545 million years ago. Their remains were recently found in the territory of Namibia. As the scientists explain, about 600 million years ago in the world, a host of bizarre multicellular animals like sponges-feathered rangeomorfov who disappeared shortly before the "Cambrian explosion" - the era of the explosive expansion of the diversity of animal species and the emergence of groups of modern life. A distinguishing feature of these early organisms tells Darroh, it was that they could use oxygen is toxic to most microbes gas as an energy source. This allowed them to spread quickly on the primary Earth's oceans, despite their immobile lifestyle, and penetrate all corners of it in a relatively short time. Why these creatures are gone? Analysis of the fossils from Namibia shows that this were to blame for their "heirs" - representatives of the Cambrian fauna, literally "reformat" the ocean under itself and make it uninhabitable Ediacaran creatures. The main difference between the Cambrian fauna from their competitors Ediacaran was that most of its members were fully mobile and can be moved from one place to another, allowing them to actively seek out and absorb food. This ability has allowed them to quickly displace the Ediacaran "ancestors" and take their place in the ecosystem. According Darroha, evidenced by the fact that diversity Ediacaran animals in Namibian sediments were very low compared to the more ancient deposits of their remains, though these creatures, according to the chemical composition of the surrounding rocks, had no problems with access to oxygen and food . Such processes and the replacement of some other species occurring in the wild is always, however, while such a change has occurred so quickly that it is geologically resembles the typical mass extinction caused by some planetary cataclysm. Thus, we can say that mass extinctions may occur not only after a powerful outpourings of magma, environmental disasters or asteroid, but also thanks to the emergence of new types of animals and their evolution. This discovery is a good example of the future, which may cause the Earth humanity, the scientists conclude.