Million Years of Global warming caused for Rise of Reptiles : Harvard Research

A new Harvard University-led study has said,".Sixty million years of climate change triggered the meteoric rise of reptiles around 250 million years ago, not a mass extinction of mammals as previously thought ".

Million Years of Global warming caused for Rise of Reptiles : Harvard Research


Rates of evolution and diversity started exploding just over 250 million years ago, leading to a dizzying variety of abilities, body plans, and traits, during the end of the Permian period, and start of the Triassic, reptiles' .

In the history of the planet, this flourish was explained by their competition being wiped out by two of the biggest mass extinction events (around 261 and 252 million years ago) 

Harvard paleontologist Stephanie Pierce's research indicates  that the evolution and diversification, seen in early reptiles, not only started years before these mass extinction events, but instead were directly driven by what caused them in the first place, rising global temperatures due to climate change.

Tiago R. Simoes, a postdoctoral fellow in the Pierce lab and lead author on the study said "Climate change actually directly triggered the adaptive response of reptiles to help build this vast array of new body plans and the explosion of groups that we see in the Triassic" .

 In the paper, published in the journal Science Advances, the researchers provided a close look at how a large group of organisms evolve because of climate change, which is especially pertinent today as temperatures continually rise.

If we look at the present climate , the rate of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere today is about nine times what they were during the time frame that culminated in the biggest climate change-driven mass extinction of all time, 252 million years ago: the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. 

"Major shifts in global temperature can have dramatic and varying impacts on biodiversity," said Stephanie E. Pierce, curator of vertebrate paleontology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

This study consists of around eight years of data collection as Simees traveled to over 20 countries and more than 50 museum to take scans and snapshots of more than 1000 reptiles fossils. 

Researcher said " Rise in Global temperatures, which started about 270 million years ago and lasted until at least 240 years ago , were followed by rapid body changes in most reptile lineages.

Evolutionary rate of smaller reptiles slowed down  and stabilized in response to global temperature rise. 

Some of large reptiles evolved to become smaller as small bodies can more easily release heat from their bodies than large reptiles when temperature rise quickly around the earth. 

So  as smaller bodies gave more benefits to fight with temperature rise , large reptiles evolves to become smaller one.   

 

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