Laying eggs was dinosaurs’ first step to extinction

Their reproductive strategy spelled the beginning of the end: The fact that dinosaurs laid eggs put them at a considerable disadvantage compared to viviparous mammals. Together with colleagues from the Zoological Society of London, Daryl Codron and Marcus Clauss from the University of Zurich investigated and published why and how this ultimately led to the extinction of the dinosaurs in the journal Biology Letters.

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Late Ordovician mass extinction caused by tropical cooling and habitat loss

The second-largest mass extinction in Earth’s history coincided with a short but intense ice age during which enormous glaciers grew and sea levels dropped. Although it has long been agreed that the so-called Late Ordovician mass extinction — which occurred about 450 million years ago — was related to climate change, exactly how the climate change produced the extinction has not been known. Now, a team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a framework for weighing the factors that might have led to mass extinction and has used that framework to determine that the majority of extinctions were caused by habitat loss due to falling sea levels and cooling of the tropical oceans.

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Mercury: a new culprit in end-Permian mass extinction event

Volcanic eruptions have already been appointed as the main culprit of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. Previous research indicated that the resulting rise in atmospheric and oceanic carbon lead to the Great dying. But new findings in the journal Geology point to a … Continue reading

Marine biodiversity driven by environmental changes

Our most important source for knowledge about past life is the fossil record. But how exact is it in telling us about the history of life? According to a new study in Science the evolution of marine life over the … Continue reading

Life had a small surprise just after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction

You may have felt really lonely walking the face of Earth. Until you looked closer. [Btw: who needs peer-reviewed literature when you've got the annual festival of presentations at the Geological Society of America?]