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Disclosed main cause of mass extinctions on Earth


Created: August 2, 2016
Disclosed main cause of mass extinctions on Earth
Researchers from Vanderbilt University found that the world's first global extinction was caused by living organisms. This event, known as the Ediacaran mass extinction occurred 540 million years ago, when the world lived only bacteria. The article reveals the causes of the accident, published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Ediacaran biota is characterized by great diversity. They are spread all over the Earth 600 million years ago, and the shape of their bodies is a disc, "quilts", tubes or bags. After about 60 million years on the planet there was another form of life - the first single-celled animals (Metazoa). According to scientists, they have become environmental engineers who made the habitat unsuitable for the Ediacaran biota. It is the emergence of new organisms is the main factor that led to the global changes in the world and mass extinction.

Paleontologists have discovered traces of a community of organisms where there were the remains of both animals and Ediacaran fauna. The find was evidence of close ecological relationship between the two groups. Scientists believe that the ancestors of modern sea anemones and other ancient predators can prey on creatures that dominated the planet until the Metazoa. The researchers also carried out an analogy between the effects on the biota of the first humans and animals that change the biosphere of the Earth at this time. According to them, the Ediacaran extinction shows what happens when there are organisms capable of radically restructure the ecosystem.

Another example of environmental engineers are the first photosynthetic bacteria that have contributed to raising the level of oxygen in the atmosphere. This led to the death of many anaerobic organisms.

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