(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists from Britain and China have shown that after the devastating Permian mass extinction, life on land and in the oceans reemerged dramatically during the Mesozoic maritime revolution.
Initially, it was believed that the biosphere recovered only in the late Jurassic or Cretaceous period. The results of the study are published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science.
The Permian Mass Extinction or Great Dying occurred 252 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, and led to the extinction of 96 percent of all marine species and 73 percent of terrestrial vertebrate species. It is believed that the relative recovery of the biosphere took more than 30 million years.
Moreover, only after the Triassic period did an “arms race” among crustaceans, mollusks and fish arise, which is known as the Mesozoic marine revolution.
However, new data show that in fact it began much earlier, 5-10 million years after the extinction. At the same time, living organisms have developed new styles of hunting and ways of survival.
So, in the sediments of the Triassic period, the remains of the extinct Saurichthys fish, reaching one meter in length and outwardly similar to a pike, have been preserved.
These animals, possessing long, toothy jaws, were probably ambush predators, and when the prey approached, they attacked it in a swift throw.
Other species of Triassic fish could crush mollusk shells, and some evolved the ability to jump out of the water and glide like modern flying fish, increasing their chances of escaping predators.
The Mesozoic marine revolution was accompanied by ongoing competition between synapsids (ancestors of modern mammals) and archosauromorphs (ancestors of modern reptiles and birds) on land throughout the Triassic.
This led to a change in posture from recumbent to erect, as well as a shift to warm-bloodedness (homeothermia) with insulating skin of hair and feathers. Thus, homoiothermia, characteristic of birds and mammals, developed at the beginning of the Triassic, and not in the Jurassic, as previously thought.
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