Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Mass extinction event spared Europe — mostly
10-08-2009, 07:14 PM,
Mass extinction event spared Europe — mostly
Mass extinction event spared Europe — mostly
Fossils imply plants, insects made full recovery 4 million years after impact

By Michael Reilly
updated 8:16 p.m. ET Sept. 23, 2009

When a comet crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago, all hell broke loose. Scientists have guessed at the scene: a world enshrouded in ashen darkness leftover from the cosmic impact that left almost nothing — including the dinosaurs — standing.

But a new study shows that in western Europe at least, the effects were far less terrifying.

Fossil leaves from four million years after the impact show that plants and insects had made a full recovery.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

"It looks like a healthy ecosystem at 61 million years ago," said Torsten Wappler of the University of Bonn. "You have a huge diversity of plants, and plant and insect interactions."

Wappler and a team of researchers tallied up the holes and chew marks insects left in fossil leaves unearthed in France. Depending on the patterns of munching, they could often distinguish which species fed on a particular leaf.

Previous evidence from western North America shows that up to 60 percent of plant species died out after the impact along with many insects that relied on them to survive.

It took 10 million years for life to recover.

However, in the French rocks Wappler found a continent bristling with 70 species of plants and abundant traces of insect munching. There are even signs that early bee species had cropped up and were beginning to colonize the verdant continent.


Eight great extinct species
The Caribbean monk seal joined a growing list of species that have left Earth.
The team's study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"I'm surprised that the effect is so different in Europe," Douglas Nichols of the United States Geological Survey in Denver said. "We have overwhelming data from western North America. In Europe there has just not been a record, until now."

Nichols added that we still don't know what happened in Europe at the exact geological moment that the comment struck; rocks containing the appropriate fossils remain elusive.

Click for related content
Cosmic Log: The science of ‘Surrogates’
Giant squid caught off coast of Louisiana
Evolution can’t be reversed, research suggests

But the likelihood is that the continent's distance from the comet impact spared it the worst of the damage. A single record from New Zealand shows a similarly muted impact on plants there.

It wasn't enough to save the dinosaurs, though. The findings suggest there was no global inferno, but instead a blanket of debris that cast a dim pall over the planet.

Unable to access sunlight, plants that were critical sources of food quickly died. Even areas like western Europe, where the effects were less severe, the famine lasted long enough to wipe the big animals out.
© 2009 Discovery Channel

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  The Jurassic Coast – a Transmutation Extinction? Easy Skanking 3 543 03-20-2014, 09:57 PM
Last Post: Easy Skanking
  Time for a new International Nuclear Event Scale? hubbabubba 29 7,752 01-02-2012, 11:50 PM
Last Post: hubbabubba
  Japanese government guilty of mass murder? yeti 4 1,537 03-16-2011, 05:55 PM
Last Post: rsol
  Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media hilly7 7 1,595 09-13-2010, 07:55 PM
Last Post: JazzRoc
  Copenhagen climate conference: Nick Griffin calls world leaders mass murderers TriWooOx 3 1,005 12-16-2009, 09:25 AM
Last Post: humbug
  Nassim Haramein - Crossing the Event Horizon blove8. 13 2,266 07-22-2009, 04:08 AM
Last Post: B4Time
  Ancient Climate-Change Event Puzzles Scientists --- 1 658 07-19-2009, 03:04 AM
Last Post: ---
  Event horizon tester harmonius 0 490 02-25-2008, 06:12 AM
Last Post: harmonius
  Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios And Related Hazards SerialExpLain 0 533 03-11-2007, 07:45 AM
Last Post: SerialExpLain
  Mysterious Phenomenon Decimating Honeybees In North America And Europe SerialExpLain 0 514 03-03-2007, 05:57 AM
Last Post: SerialExpLain

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)