Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prehistoric Global Warming May Have Contributed To Fossil Preservation

Date:
October 13, 2005
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
Prehistoric global warming episodes from massive atmospheric pollution involving carbon dioxide and methane could have created and preserved "mass kills" of wildlife, according to a University of Oregon study presented at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting.

SALT LAKE CITY (Oct. 16, 2005) -- Prehistoric global warming episodesfrom massive atmospheric pollution involving carbon dioxide and methanecould have created and preserved "mass kills" of wildlife, according toa University of Oregon study presented at the Geological Society ofAmerica's annual meeting.

Related Articles


The work, done by Gregory Retallack, professor of geologic sciences atOregon, involved a worldwide compilation of thousands of exceptionallywell preserved fossil assemblages of fish, crustaceans, insects,starfish and other life forms. There are only about 41 episodes ofexceptional preservation from the last 500 million years, and eachepisode is widely distributed around the world.

Well known examples of such preservation of complete soft-bodied fishand other creatures include the Burgess Shale (dating to the MiddleCambrian Period of about 508 million years ago and found near Field,British Columbia) and the Solnhofen Plattenkalk (dating to the LateJurassic Period of about 150 million years ago and found in Bavaria,Germany). Such exceptional assemblages were thought to have beenpreserved in environments that were unusually low in oxygen, highlysaline, very cold, or extremely dry. What was not suspected until thenew compilation was the global distribution of other exceptional fossildeposits of the same ages. Independent estimates of atmosphericpollution crises come from studies of carbon anomalies, microscopicpores of fossil leaves and climatic indicators from fossil soils.Methane outbursts from volcanically intruded coals and submarine gashydrates are prime suspects for these lethal atmospheric pollutionevents.

"Lowered levels of oxygen can kill fish and other creatures inmarginally aerated environments, and also preserve their carcasses fromdismemberment and decay," said Retallack. "Data from carbon anomaliesand microscopic leaf pores indicate that some of these killergreenhouses ramped up, within only a few thousand years, to intolerablelevels of more than 10 times the modern level of atmospheric carbondioxide. What stopped them from continuing on to a sterile greenhouseatmosphere like that of Venus? It was the widespread death and burialof animals and their carbon which created fossil bonanzas, the likes ofwhich may have saved us from the heat sterilization experienced by oursister planet."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oregon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Prehistoric Global Warming May Have Contributed To Fossil Preservation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013082044.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2005, October 13). Prehistoric Global Warming May Have Contributed To Fossil Preservation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013082044.htm
University of Oregon. "Prehistoric Global Warming May Have Contributed To Fossil Preservation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051013082044.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins