Sept. 16 (UPI) — Paleontologists have unearthed evidence of a new mass extinction that occurred during the Late Triassic, some 233 million years ago.
The extinction event, which scientists dubbed Carnian Pluvial Episode, was characterized by significant reductions in biodiversity and the loss of 33 percent of marine genera.
In a new paper, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, researchers suggest the episode may have created the ecological space for the emergence of a variety of important modern plant and animal lineages — including conifers, insects, dinosaurs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles and mammals.
Through analysis of both paleontological assemblages and geological evidence, researchers confirmed that biodiversity declines coincided with stark chemical changes in the ocean and atmosphere.
Scientists suspect these changes were triggered by massive volcanic eruptions in what’s now Alaska and British Columbia.
“The eruptions peaked in the Carnian,” lead study author Jacopo Dal Corso said in a news