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Understanding the cause of the extinction that wiped out some 95% of the living species at the end of the Palaeozoic Era has been one of the greatest problems in the earth and life sciences. All explanations so far proposed have been based on global causes. This Special Paper from the Geological Society of America presents a new approach, one that focuses on the supercontinent of Pangea and the life-rich, enclosed oceanic realm, the Paleo-Tethys.

Authors A.M. Celâl Şengör and Saniye Atayman of Istanbul Technical University note that the usual approaches to extinction overlook the fact that at the end of the Paleozoic all landmasses were fused together as one giant continent, Pangaea. The supercontinent's internal ocean, the Paleo-Tethys, included the richest niches in the late Permian world. According to Şengör and Atayman, the extinctions occurred within and around this ocean, giving the Permian devastation the aspect of a universal extinction. "What little data we have from the rest of the world indicate that the same extinction did not happen there—except where the surrounding waters were polluted by Palaeo-Tethyan spills." This book documents the history of the Paleo-Tethys and shows that the Permian extinction was an expected result of the peculiarity of the global geography at that time.

Source : Geological Society of America

April 1, 2009 06:56 PMBiology

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