Tint Microbes, Not Volcanoes, caused Extinction of 90% Species on Earth: Study

Tint Microbes, Not Volcanoes, caused Extinction of 90% Species on Earth: Study

A new study has revealed that a tiny microbe may have caused mass extinction about 252 million years ago. The study was conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

About 90% of all species living on earth succumbed to Permian-Triassic extinction event in a very short period of time. The Great Dying is considered as one of the worst of five great extinctions that our planet has suffered so far. The worst-affected species were marine vertebrates, especially those with shells.

The ultimate cause of that extinction has been the matter of debate for paleontologists for decades. They came up with so many theories, with some blaming volcanoes for causing the extinction. However, the exact cause of the mass extinction has been finally figured out and yes it was actually a microbe called Methanosarcina, which caused the disappearance of almost all the species on earth.

The chemistry of the air and oceans was radically changed after these microscopic life forms saw a population explosion. They actually stated emitting tremendous quantities of methane into the waters and atmosphere of the earth.

Volcanic eruptions were occurring at a much higher rate than normal at the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction event. As a result of too many volcanic eruptions, nickel was introduced to the oceans because of volcanism, which is an essential element for the growth of Methanosarcina.

Daniel Rothman and Gregory Fournier from MIT said it was previously known that there was Daniel Rothman but it was not known that how the gas became more common before the extinction. More amount of carbon dioxide helped the microbe to proliferate. But one thing was sure that the carbon dioxide was not formed as result of volcanic eruption s because they formed over a period of time.

"A rapid initial injection of carbon dioxide from a volcano would be followed by a gradual decrease. Instead, we see the opposite: a rapid, continuing increase. That suggests a microbial expansion", said Fournier.