It is known that life takes at least 10 million years to recover completely after mass extinction. This is a type of speed limit for the recovery of species diversity.
To illustrate this apparent rule, scholars usually addressed environmental factors. But the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Bristol team in Britain have published a new study that relates this difference in time with other factors, the evolution.
The limit of the species restoration rate is observed in the fossil record of "Great Dying," which devastated almost all marine life for 252 million years ago, to the huge impacts of asteroids that killed all winged dinosaurs.
Science Journal & Nature Ecology and Evolution & # 39;Nature Ecology & EvolutionThe study, which was published on the eighth day, focused on the last case. The researchers analyzed how the last surviving life after the extinction that killed most dinosaurs recovered is 66 million years ago.
Extinction test that restricts the theory of types
The impact of asteroids that caused extinction is the only event that caused the Earth to change faster than the current climate change. Thus, the authors hope that this study offers important information on how life can be recovered from the different extinctions human beings are experiencing on Earth.
The theory of evolution has been proposed for 20 years, especially «how long will it lead to surviving species to cover the open ecosystem openness or create a new ecosystem.
The researchers said the fossil record was the first to find evidence of the theory. They used a kind of fossil plankton, called foraminifera or foramines, to follow the process of biodiversity recovery over time.
Complexity and diversity of the body
First we compare the complexity and diversity of the body. As a result, we discovered that global complexity recovered before the number of species increased. This suggests that some degree of ecological complexity is required before starting diversification.
In other words, the mass extinction eliminated all the old warehouses of evolutionary innovation and must happen of a similar process from zero. Thus, the & # 39; tax limit & # 39; It has to do with the time necessary to make a list of new features that can produce new species at the same rate as before the extinction event.
Labor's first author, Dr. Christopher Lowery of the University of Texas Geophysical Institute (UTIG), said that the complexity of the foraminifer and the close relationship between the limits of the restoration rate indicate that evolutionary rates are controlled.
"We can see this in our study, which shows that the same process applies to all other extinctions," he said. "This is a possible explanation for all" speed limitations ".
The connection between recovery and evolution
Dr. Lowry and Dr. Andrew Fraass of the University of Bristol investigated the relationship between recovery and evolution when analyzing the first investigations.
Early studies have shown that millions of years are needed to restore diversity of species, although many areas were soon published after the last mass extinction on Earth. This indicates that there are other regulators of evolution in addition to the environment.
The researchers found that a variety of foraminiferous species almost disappeared due to asteroid impacts, but the surviving species recovered rapidly by filling the available cracks.
However, from the initial recovery, until the diversity of species has flown, it took a while for a new evolution of the characteristic. As rate restrictions were predicted, the global diversity of foraminifera returned to pre-extinction levels after 10 million years.
"Submit a roadmap after the extinction of today"
Foraminifera are found in abundance in marine sediments around the world. This allowed the team to closely monitor the biodiversity of the foraminifer with no significant time differences.
Pellielli Hull, an associate professor at Yale University in the United States, said the research revealed the factors that drive recovery.
"Before this study, people could talk about the basic patterns of species diversity and complexity, but they could not respond as they relate to each other in quantitative terms," he said.
Even today, extinction is accelerating due to climate change, destruction of habitat, invasive species and other factors. The authors have stated that the recovery of the last extinction presents a road map to show what will happen after this modern extinction.