After the dinosaurs ruled the world mushrooms

16.03.2004

16.03.2004


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The disaster, which caused the death of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, has led to dramatic changes among the plants. According to a recent study Vivi Vadzhda paleontologists from the University of Lund (Sweden) and Stephen McLaughlin from the Queensland University of Technology (Australia), published in the journal Nature, immersed in the darkness of the world ruled by the kingdom of fungi.

• Mushrooms reign on earth for long

It is known that 65 million years ago, an asteroid slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, leaving a huge crater diameter of 180 kilometers. As a result, prices of giant Caribbean region was simply destroyed, but the consequences of this attack were global. The study authors examined changes in vegetation in New Zealand this dramatic period of earth's history, allowing more detail to provide details of the disaster.

Before the disaster of New Zealand vegetation consisted mainly of conifers and flowering plants. Most of the species inhabiting then simply disappeared after the disaster. A plant remains are fungal spores and mycelia, preserved in chetyrehmillimetrovom layer consisting mainly of particles of coal. This layer also improved the content of iridium — an element rare in Earth's crust but is more widespread in the asteroids.

"We were able to reconstruct the history of catastrophes month after month with a very high" resolution "- says Vivi Vadzhda. According to her, in a short period — from several months to several years — mushrooms and other saprophytes, feeding on other organisms, were the dominant life form on Earth. After all, had risen as a result of the collision and fire dust and smoke blocked out the sunlight and resulted in a massive loss of photosynthetic plants.

. Following the "mushroom" layer on 60-cm layer containing traces of restoring the earth's flora. In the first decades of this were mainly ferns, and in the following century, there was an explosive growth of plant diversity.

A similar layer of fungi and algae is known to paleontologists — it was from a previous accident (it happened 251 million years ago — at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods.) This disaster was followed by an even more massive loss of terrestrial organisms: about 90% of the then existing species simply disappeared. Now research will focus on finding out whether similar means biological traces of the mass extinctions of the similarity of the mechanisms of destruction.

12.03.2004

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