Wednesday, September 28

Global warming generated the development of reptiles | Digital Trends Spanish


An investigation by scientists from Harvard University revealed that global warming and prehistoric climate change in the era between the Middle Permian (265 million years ago) and the Middle Triassic (230 million years ago), led to the development evolutionary of reptiles.

During the Permian, vertebrate faunas on land were dominated by synapsids, the ancestors of mammals. After the Permian extinctions, in the Triassic Period (252-200 million years ago), reptiles evolved at a rapid rate, creating an explosion of reptilian diversity. This expansion was key to the construction of modern ecosystems and many extinct ecosystems. Most paleontologists believed that these rapid rates of evolution and diversification were due to the extinction of competitors that allowed the reptiles to take over new habitats and food resources that various groups of synapsids had dominated before their extinction.

However, in a new study in Sciences Advances researchers from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and collaborators reveal that the rapid evolution and radiation of reptiles began much earlier, before the end of the Permian, in relation to the constant increase in temperatures through a long series of climatic changes that spanned almost 60 million years in the geological record.

‘We found that these periods of rapid reptilian evolution were closely related to rising temperatures. Some groups changed very quickly and others less quickly, but almost all reptiles were evolving much faster than ever before,” said lead author Postdoctoral Fellow Tiago R Simões.

‘Reptiles represent an ideal and rare terrestrial system to study this question, as they have a relatively good fossil record and survived a number of climatic shocks, including those that led to the greatest extinction in the history of complex life, the extinction. massive Permian-Triassic,” Simões said.

Lead author Professor Stephanie E. Pierce, also of Harvard, “Our results reveal that periods of rapid climate change and global warming are associated with exceptionally high rates of anatomical change in most reptile groups as they age.” adapted to new environmental conditions,” Pierce said, “and this process began long before the Permian-Triassic extinction event, at least 270 million years ago, indicating that the diversification of reptilian body plans It wasn’t triggered by the PT extinction event as previously thought, but it did in fact start tens of millions of years before that.”

“Large reptiles basically took two routes to deal with these climatic changes,” Pierce said, “either they migrated closer to temperate regions or they invaded the aquatic world where they didn’t have to worry about overheating because water can absorb heat and maintain its temperature much better than air.

“This strong association between rising temperatures in the geologic past and a biological response of dramatically different groups of reptiles suggests that climate change was a key factor in explaining the origin and explosion of new reptile body plans during the late Permian.” and Triassic,” Simões said.

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