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Palaeontology

Deep-sea creatures survived the apocalypse

By T.K. Randall
April 17, 2016 · Comment icon 4 comments

Many deep-sea creatures managed to survive the mass extinction event. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have determined how deep-sea creatures survived the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs.
When a huge space rock slammed in to the Earth 66 million years ago it wrought utter devastation and brought about the extinction of most of the planet's animal and plant life.

In the depths of the ocean however life was still stirring and somehow, despite everything that was going on at the surface, a whole ecosystem continued to thrive in apparent isolation.

How this deep-sea life managed to survive the catastrophic asteroid impact has long remained something of a mystery as it was assumed that the devastation had also cut off its food supply.

Now though, following a new analysis of fossilised shells from this period in time, scientists have determined that certain types of algae and bacteria may have actually survived, thus producing a continuous trickle of food for the creatures that roamed the ocean floor.
"Our results show that despite a wave of massive and virtually instantaneous extinctions among the plankton, some types of photosynthesising organisms, such as algae and bacteria, were living in the aftermath of the asteroid strike," said Cardiff University PhD student Heather Birch.

It is also now believed that it took approximately 1.7 million years for the Earth's ocean's to fully recover from the disaster - that's twice as fast as previous estimates had suggested.

"These findings are important as they help us to understand more about the marine carbon pump, which is the main process that transfers carbon from the atmosphere to the deep ocean, where it can be locked away into sediments," said Birch.

"Over geological time the marine biological pump helps to regulate climate. With greater understanding we can predict/mitigate affects that we might be having on this process."

Source: Economic Times | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 8 years ago
Extinction of 75% of the plant and animal species (best estimate) leaves lots of species to evolve in and repopulate the environment. The survival of deep-sea life is hardly problematical.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Eldorado 8 years ago
Nessie.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
I don't see this as being anything amazing. These deep sea creatures are surviving now from plant life that gets very little light.
Comment icon #4 Posted by TheGreatBeliever 8 years ago
They were out of range n well protected by the water.


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