Ancient Mass Extinction Of Earth's Creatures Summary

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In the scientific article, “Ancient mass extinction may have shrunk Earth’s creatures” by Sid Perkins, Perkins explains that the mass extinction that occurred millions of years ago may have a correlation to the size of organisms on Earth’s surface in the present. Perkins states that long ago organisms used to be the size of school buses, but information from a new study shows that the mass extinction caused most of the vertebrate species to shrink to the size of a human forearm. Lauren Sallan, a paleobiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, states that the one-hundred thousand year long cold spell which occurred about three-hundred and fifty-nine million years ago during the end of the Devonian Period caused the growth of glaciers. This…show more content…
Sallan and Andrew Galimberti, the co-author of the study, looked at the fossil records of over one-thousand species of vertebrates that were alive during the ninety-six million year period before and after the mass extinction. For sixty million years the size of the vertebrates steadily increased in size reaching up to sizes matching a school bus. However, the vertebrate species that survived the mass extinction during the thirty-six million year period following the mass extinction were much smaller compared to the size of the vertebrates before the extinction. In fact, most of the surviving species observed by the team were measured to be less than forty centimeters in length. Information about this adaptation was published earlier in The Science Magazine, which stated that this change is unrelated to the climate and oxygen levels at the time. This led the team to believe that this adaptation occurred because of the advantages smaller organism had over larger ones. The team stated that smaller organisms today tend to grow and reproduce faster because they are able to create a new generation before they are killed off by

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