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New article in Science Advances on the causes of mass extinction 201 million years ago

Mutated ferns shed light on the mass extinction during the Triassic period

3 researchers at the Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University: Christian Tegner, Hamed Sanei and Charles Lesher co-authored an article in Science Advances about the new data from sediment cores, showing:

  1. a clear increase in the number of mutations and deformities in spores from terrestrial plants (ferns) associated with the mass extinction at the end of the Triassic period, 201 million years ago, and
  2. that the same layers have elevated mercury concentrations resulting from volcanic activity in a huge volcanic area (Central Atlantic Magmatic Province)

This is cause for speculation that it was not only global warming and acidification, but also toxic metals that caused the mass extinction.

Read the article in Science Advances