A new research conducted by researchers at the Washington and Stanford Universities have suggested that the biggest extinction event in the world was triggered 252 million years ago due to global warming. Scientists revealed that the unexpected climate change resulted in the extinction of 95 percent marine life, and scientists call this event ‘The Great Dying’.
The exact cause of this extinction event has been the debating point among environmentalists for many years, and now, the new research has apparently shed light on what had happened during the days of chaos, 200 million years before the dinosaurs were wiped out by a killer asteroid.
During the research, scientists ran models of the ancient earth, and later simulated the effects which global warming could bring about on the planet. Researchers found that 10 degree Celsius increase in global temperature drastically reduced the oxygen levels in the oceans by 80 percent.
Increase in temperature also increased the metabolism rates of animals, and as a result, they were in need of more oxygen for survival.
“The signature of that kill mechanism, climate warming and oxygen loss, is this geographic pattern that’s predicted by the model and then discovered in the fossils. The agreement between the two indicates this mechanism of climate warming and oxygen loss was a primary cause of the extinction,” said Justin Penn, a University of Washington doctoral student in oceanography and the lead author of the study, Eurekalert.org reports.
Scientists also revealed that metabolism of tropical organisms was adapted to fairly warm conditions where oxygen presence was less, and as a result, they successfully survived the adverse conditions by migrating to areas where they could live comfortably.
“Since tropical organisms’ metabolisms were already adapted to fairly warm, lower-oxygen conditions, they could move away from the tropics and find the same conditions somewhere else,” said Curtis Deutsch, co-author of the study.