Researchers studying ancient caves and seabed orbits have found that lower-lying animals, such as shrimp, were the first to recover after the mass extinction known as the “Great Death” of the late Permian. .
In an article published on Wednesday (29) in the magazine Researchers progress, an international team of scientists from China, the United States and the United Kingdom, reveals how life at sea came about after the event, which killed more than 90% of the species on Earth. The research results have been obtained from observations of fossil tracks.
252 million years ago, the ecosphere was destroyed by the mass extinction of Permian, and the resumption of life on Earth took millions of years to bring biodiversity back to pre-extinction levels.
By examining the seabed in southern China, the team was able to unravel the rebirth of marine life and highlight the animal activities that took place at any given time.
“The Permian mass extinction and early Triassic restoration of life is very well documented in southern China,” said Professor Michael Benton, of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, in a statement. , in the UK, contributor to the new article. .
“We were able to study fossil traces from 26 sections across the series of events representing seven crucial years. And by showing details of 400 test points, we eventually reconstructed the recovery stages of all animals, including benthos and nectons. , as well as the soft digging animals in the ocean, ”Benton said.
Xueqian Feng of China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who led the study, focused on ancient caves and trails. Fossil tracks such as paths and caves document mainly soft animals in the sea, such as shrimp. »