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Mail@liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在 www.liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在在在在在在在在在在,在在在在在在在在在在 Mass Extinctions
Cases in which many species become extinct within a geologically short interval of time are called mass extinctions. There was one such event at the end of the Cretaceous period (around 70 million years ago). There was another, even larger, mass extinction at the end of the Permian period (around 250 million years ago). The Permian event has attracted much less attention than other mass extinctions because mostly unfamiliar species perished at that time.
The fossil record shows at least five mass extinctions in which many families of marine organisms died out. The rates of extinction happening today are as great as the rates during these mass extinctions. Many scientists have therefore concluded that a sixth great mass extinction is currently in progress.
What could cause such high rates of extinction? There are several hypotheses, including warming or cooling of Earth, changes in seasonal fluctuations or ocean currents, and changing positions of the continents. Biological hypotheses include ecological changes brought about by the evolution of cooperation between insects and flowering plants or of bottomfeeding predators in the oceans. Some of the proposed mechanisms required a very brief period duringwhich all extinctions suddenly took place; other mechanisms would be more likely to have taken place more gradually, over an extended period, or at different times on different continents. Some hypotheses fad to account for simultaneous extinctions on land and in the seas. Each mass extinction may have had a different cause. Evidence points to hunting by humans and habitat destruction as the likely causes for the current mass extinction. American paleontologists David Raup and John Sepkoski, who have studied extinction rates in a number of fossil gro...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13