paleobiology

Trilobite trace fossils

If you ever happen to find yourself at the Clinch Mountain Lookout Restaurant in Thorn Hill, Tennessee, be sure to 1) try a piece of their vinegar pie and 2) ask to check out the spectacular outcrop featuring trilobite trace fossils directly behind the restaurant. Trace fossils are not remains of the organism itself (i.e. a… Continue reading Trilobite trace fossils

paleobiology

Thornton Quarry, Illinois   

The Thornton Quarry located near Chicago, Illinois is the site of a 420 million year old Silurian reef. The reef was formed in a shallow shelf, epicontinental sea environment, so the rocks of the quarry are filled with fossils! Many of the beds in the quarry are naturally gently tilted, and the structure has an… Continue reading Thornton Quarry, Illinois   

paleobiology

Trilobites

This is my pet trilobite. His name is Teddy. He’s been dead for probably around 400 million years, and I believe he’s a Devonian-aged specimen from Morocco (though I’m not entirely sure). Back when he was alive, Teddy and his other trilobite friends were among the dominant Paleozoic fauna but finally went extinct during the… Continue reading Trilobites

mass extinction monday, paleobiology

Mass Extinction Monday | BONUS – THE ANTHROPOCENE (present day)

Severity: TBD Cause: Fossil fuel combustion Climate: Rapid climate change, sea level change, ocean acidification, ocean anoxia, ozone destruction Aftermath: ?? Mass extinction aren’t just something of the past; it’s commonly accepted that we’re in one right now. While the Anthropocene isn’t yet an official epoch, there is mounting evidence to suggest that human activity has caused such a… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | BONUS – THE ANTHROPOCENE (present day)

mass extinction monday, paleobiology, paleoclimate

Mass Extinction Monday | END-CRETACEOUS (65 Ma)

[Also formerly known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) and now as the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction] Severity: 5th worst Cause: Meteorite impact released CO2 from carbonates Climate: Cold (SO2) then warm (CO2) Aftermath: Mammals arise Even though the End-Cretaceous is the least severe of all the mass extinctions, with 62% of species and 11% of families wiped… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | END-CRETACEOUS (65 Ma)

mass extinction monday, paleobiology, paleoclimate

Mass Extinction Monday | END-TRIASSIC (200 Ma)

Severity: 4th worst Cause: Central Atlantic Flood Basalts, meteorite impact (?) Climate: Hot; Pangaea mostly desert Aftermath: Dinosaurs diversify Only 50 My after the End-Permian extinction, 65% of species and 12% of families were wiped out during the End-Triassic extinction. The exact cause of this extinction is still not very well constrained. It could possibly… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | END-TRIASSIC (200 Ma)

mass extinction monday, paleobiology, paleoclimate

Mass Extinction Monday | END-PERMIAN (250 Ma) – “The Great Dying”

Severity: 1st worst Cause: Eruption of Siberian Traps Climate: Cold to extremely warm; ocean acidification and anoxia, ozone destruction Aftermath: Permanent ecosystem reorganization; low O2 for >106 years There’s good reason why the End-Permian extinction is referred to as “The Great Dying”; 95% of all marine families, 53% of all marine families, 84% of marine… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | END-PERMIAN (250 Ma) – “The Great Dying”

mass extinction monday, paleobiology, paleoclimate

Mass Extinction Monday | LATE DEVONIAN (365 Ma)

Severity: 3rd worst Cause: Still unclear, changes in sea level and ocean anoxia (?) Climate: Abrupt cooling Aftermath: Marine filter feeders diversify Rather similar to the End-Ordovician extinction, warm-water marine invertebrates were the hardest hit during the Late Devonian extinction. 22% of known marine families and 57% of marine genera were wiped out during a global cooling event. Gondwana glaciations were… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | LATE DEVONIAN (365 Ma)

mass extinction monday, paleobiology, paleoclimate

Mass Extinction Monday | END-ORDOVICIAN (440 Ma)

Severity: 2nd worst Cause: Some type of C cycle disturbance, not well constrained Climate: Abrupt ice age followed by rapid warming Aftermath: Cambrian organisms (e.g. trilobites) decimated During the End-Ordovician mass extinction, 25% of known marine families and 60% of marine genera were wiped out. Warm-water invertebrates were the hardest hit, as the event was… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday | END-ORDOVICIAN (440 Ma)

mass extinction monday, paleobiology

Mass Extinction Monday!

Starting a new feature here! Every Monday, they’ll be a little overview of each of the five big mass extinctions, To start off, we’re going to do a bit of a general overview. Around 99% of all species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.1 However, this extinction rate is far from constant, as organisms… Continue reading Mass Extinction Monday!