April 16, 2024

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A saber-toothed predator tried but failed to escape extinction

Recent research indicates that other species disappeared during the planet’s most extreme extinction event 252 million years ago, and one species of cephalopod predator went on an epic journey. New fossil evidence shows that the animals migrated 7,000 miles to find a new home before becoming extinct, too.

writing In the journal Current Biology, researchers document a pair of fossils from Inostrancevia, a leopard-sized mammal believed to have elephant-like skin, in South Africa. The only previous fossil find was in Russia, suggesting that the animals migrated across what was then the supercontinent Pangea in search of a more livable habitat.

They had a good reason. The fossils date back to the late Permian, an era of mass extinction so severe that it has been known as the Great Dying. During the extinction, 9 out of 10 species are believed to have died out.

The event, caused by climate change and fueled by volcanic eruptions, would have made it difficult for large predators such as Inostrancevia to find food. As a result, the researchers write, the species may have migrated to a place where there was “an open space for a large predator.”

But it is possible that the reign of giant creatures did not last long. Inostrancevia They soon became extinct, too, in an example of rapid epoch shifts across ecosystems.

Speed Inostrancevia‘s The ups and downs confirm the intense influx of animals during the event, the researchers say in a press release. And they warn that Earth’s largest mass extinction has parallels today with the planet’s exposure last mass extinction.

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Pia Viglietti, a research scientist at the Field Museum in Chicago and one of the study’s co-authors, said V.I press release. “We don’t really have any recent analogues of what to expect with the mass extinction happening today, and the Permo-Triassic mass extinction event is one of the best examples of what we can experience with the climate crisis and our own extinctions. I think the only difference is that we know what to do and how to prevent it from happening. Occurrence “.