How life before the dinosaurs could help us understand the consequences of global warming today

A new study revealed more about life before the Permian mass extinction, or ‘The Great Dying’ which opened up evolutionary opportunities for the very first mammals and dinosaurs.

A quarter of a billion years ago, long before dinosaurs or mammals evolved, global warming triggered by massive volcanic eruptions wiped out 96% of the world’s species.

The huge volcanoes erupting in Siberia belched thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, setting off a chain reaction that involved global warming, acid rain, and loss of oxygen from the sea bed.

Geologists had already shown that ocean temperatures rose by 10–15 degrees centigrade.

All life on Earth today is descended from the 4% of species that survived the Permian Mass Extinction – nicknamed ‘The Great Dying.’

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