Bristol scientists discover a new way to find mass extinctionsJune 13, 2018
During the history of the Earth, there were many mass extinctions, when huge numbers of species died out. They are usually easy to identify because of the sudden extinctions, followed by a gap, and then the recovery of life.
A new mass extinction has been identified during the Triassic period, some 232 million years ago - called the Carnian event. It was less easy to identify because the different sites around the world were hard to date and cross-match. But it was important because it marked the likely trigger for the explosive takeover of the Earth by dinosaurs.
Using a new statistical method, a team from the University of Bristol, has pinpointed the event.
The statistical method is called breakpoint analysis. Counts of species from many samples through the Triassic were compared, and a straight line was fitted to best explain changes in the proportions of dinosaurs to other beasts. To improve the fit of the line, a model was used that allowed for one break, but the position of the break was not specified.
Professor Mike Benton from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences led the project. He said: "This method is great. We know where we think the change occurred, but we don't tell the computer.
"We let it crunch the numbers and identify the break point, or the time when one kind of ecosystem ended, and the new one began. In this case, it landed precisely on the point in the Carnian when major environmental changes triggered the extinctions."
Massimo Bernardi, a co-author of the report, and now curator at MUSE - Science Museum, Trento, Italy, added: "This event had been identified before. This was a time of huge volcanic eruptions off modern Canada, and profound climate changes. The gases from the volcanoes caused long-term shuttling between dry and wet conditions."
The climate changes had been noted back in 1990, and the dry-wet-dry cycle caused a major change in plants, from succulent wet-loving seed ferns to conifers, which are better adapted to dry conditions.
Cormac Kinsella, another collaborator, and now at the University of Amsterdam, said: "We built a database of 47 faunas from different parts of the world, including 7,773 specimens of reptiles.
"Half way through the Carnian there was a sudden shift in the composition of ecosystems, from comprising a mixed assemblage, to being absolutely dominated by dinosaurs and their relatives."
This new discovery adds to growing evidence for a previously undetected mass extinction, during a time of general upheaval in evolution. There had been a huge mass extinction 252 million years ago, and life was recovering fitfully from that crisis, when it was hit again at 232 million years ago, and then at the end of the Triassic, 201 million years ago.
The Carnian event was important in heralding the explosion of dinosaurs onto the scene, but it also marked the beginning of many modern groups, such as turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and mammals.
University of Bristol
Related Dinosaurs Articles:
Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new Oxford University research has found.
How old were the oldest dinosaurs? This question remains largely unanswered.
66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth.
By comparing the fossilized remains of 13 ceratosaurian theropod dinosaurs known as Limusaurus inextricabilis collected from the Upper Jurassic Shishugou Formation of northwestern China, researchers have been able to reconstruct the dinosaur's growth and development from a young hatchling of less than a year to the age of 10.
Researchers have discovered two small dinosaurs together with a lagerpetid, a group of animals that are recognized as precursors of dinosaurs.
In the paleontology popularity contest, studying the social life of dinosaurs is on the rise.
Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in collaboration with the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, have discovered in Vallcebre an impression fossil with the surface of the skin of a dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, a period right before their extinction.
After reconstructing the color patterns of a well-preserved dinosaur from China, researchers have found that the long-lost species called Psittacosaurus was light on its underside and darker on top.
Plant-eating dinosaurs had several bursts of evolution, and these were all kicked off by innovations in their teeth and jaws, new research has found.
A new hypothesis on the extinction of dinosaurs and ammonites at the end of the Cretaceous Period has been proposed by a research team from Tohoku University and the Japan Meteorological Agency's Meteorological Research Institute.
Related Dinosaurs Reading:
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
by Steve Brusatte (Author)
"THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BIOGRAPHY," hails Scientific American: A sweeping and revelatory new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists.
"This is scientific storytelling at its most visceral, striding with the beasts through their Triassic dawn, Jurassic dominance, and abrupt demise in the Cretaceous." — Nature
The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the... View Details • Series sold over 3 million. The lost world of velociraptor, stegosaurus, allosaurus, and other prehistoric monsters come to life as never seen before in Dinosaur! Packed with photorealistic computer generated images, detailed cross-sections and cutaways revealing the inner workings of dinosaurs, simple annotations, and clear... View Details -Ideal for children aged 3 years and up. -Features 26 one-of-a-find dinosaur models from Allosaurus to Zephyrosaurus specially commissioned from experts in the field.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Birthday?
by Jane Yolen (Author), Mark Teague (Illustrator)
Surprise! Our bestselling little dinosaurs are back for a BIG birthday celebration!
Everyone has a birthday, and from riotous birthday parties to the excitement of being one year older, having a birthday is the highlight of a young child's year.
All little dinosaurs love to get presents, and this new board book will be an immediate favorite. From birthday hats to Ceratosaurus-sized cakes, America's young readers will laugh out loud as the celebration moves from "bad" birthday behavior to just the right amount of silliness and sharing. Bestselling duo Jane Yolen and Mark Teague have... View Details
Discovery Kids Dinosaurs Rumble Sound Book (Discovery 10 Button)
by Parragon Books (Author)
With 10 cool sound buttons, fun facts, full-color pictures and much more, this Discovery Kids sound-and-reference book is a unique way for kids to learn about life on the farm! Kids ages 2 and up will love matching the sounds to the animals in this vibrant and interactive book.
Other great titles in this series include:
* Oink on the Farm! 9781472361073
* Growl with the Animals 9781472361080 View Details
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
by Catherine D. Hughes (Author), Franco Tempesta (Illustrator)
The third title in National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book series, this book is for kids 4- to 8-years-old who LOVE dinos! The prehistoric world comes alive with dinosaurs small, big, giant, and gigantic, with stunning illustrations by Franco Tempesta—who illustrated National Geographic Kids The Ultimate Dinopedia. Bursting with fun facts and age appropriate information, each spread features a different dinosaur, along with simple text in big type that is perfect for little kids. Young dino fans will love the interactivity included in every chapter, and parents will... View Details
My Big Dinosaur Book
by Roger Priddy (Author)
• Big board book ideal for babies and toddlers.
• Stunning large format brings images to life.
• Helps build a child's vocabulary.
Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?: All About Dinosaurs (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
by Bonnie Worth (Author)
The Cat in the Hat makes another surprise appearance at Dick and Sally's house--only this time he makes his entrance riding atop a brachiosaurus! Soon, he's off, along with Dick and Sally, millions of years back in time to see how fossils were created. Then it's on to a tour through the Cat's own Super Dino Museum--a fabulous place where the correct pronunciation of a dinosaur's name wins you a peek at the real living thing! Beginning readers will love exploring the prehistoric world of dinosaurs with the Cat in the Hat as their guide! View Details
Dinosaur! (Knowledge Encyclopedias)
by DK (Author)
Created in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution and packed with fun facts on fossils, amphibians, sea creatures, woolly mammoths, Neanderthals, insects and more, Dinosaur! will intrigue readers and provide an experience that will redefine natural history for kids.
Dinosaur A-Z: For kids who really love dinosaurs!
by Roger Priddy (Author)
The Berenstain Bears' Dinosaur Dig
by Jan Berenstain (Author), Mike Berenstain (Author), Jan Berenstain (Illustrator), Mike Berenstain (Illustrator)
When Brother and Sister visit the Bearsonian Museum, they luck out. A real dinosaur dig is taking place! What sort of fossils will they find? A Stegosaurus? A Spinosaurus? The mighty Tyrannosaurus rex? Dig in with the Berenstain Bears and find out! View Details
National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia, Second Edition
by Don Lessem (Author), Franco Tempesta (Illustrator)
Dinosaurs continue to fascinate kids, and although these amazing creatures roamed the Earth ages ago, new dinosaur discoveries are still being made today! The new edition of the popular Nat Geo Kids Dinopedia includes all the latest species and is the most complete, up-to-date dinosaur reference available. Find favorites, like the fierce T-rex and the gentle Brontosaurus, plus audacious new finds, like the Anzu, Kosmoceratops, and Yi. Every dino profile is colorfully illustrated and features descriptions of when they roamed the Earth, how they lived, what they ate, and more. There are more... View Details
• Series sold over 3 million.
The lost world of velociraptor, stegosaurus, allosaurus, and other prehistoric monsters come to life as never seen before in Dinosaur!
Packed with photorealistic computer generated images, detailed cross-sections and cutaways revealing the inner workings of dinosaurs, simple annotations, and clear... View Details
-Ideal for children aged 3 years and up.
-Features 26 one-of-a-find dinosaur models from Allosaurus to Zephyrosaurus specially commissioned from experts in the field.View Details