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New findings support rethink of mass extinction?

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Extinction intensity/Wikimedia Commons

Land and sea timing may have differed in the mass die-off 250 million years ago.

Never mind theories of consciousness getting rocked, see this on the Permian extinction from ScienceDaily:

New evidence gathered from the Karoo Basin in South Africa sheds light on a catastrophic extinction event that occurred more than 250 million years ago and wiped out more than 90 percent of life in Earth’s oceans and about 70 percent of animal species on land.

The new evidence derives from a key volcanic ash deposit that the team discovered in rock layers, or strata, that were reported to chronicle the mass extinction. By dating the volcanic ash-bearing deposit, researchers concluded that two phases of this extinction — one on land, the other in the oceans — occurred at least 1 million years apart, as opposed to roughly at the same time, as the geoscience community has assumed for decades.

However, the timing of the extinction on land has been more challenging to date definitively. This is due, in part, to a dearth of datable volcanic deposits below and above plant and animal fossils in rocks surrounding the boundary where the Permian period ends and the Triassic begins, said Dr. John Geissman, professor and head of the Department of Geosciences and one of the authors of the study.

“There has been some concern in the scientific community about whether the extinction among vertebrates on land was actually coincident with that in the marine realm in terms of their timing,” Geissman said. “Nonetheless, many researchers have just tacitly assumed that the land event occurred roughly concurrently with the marine extinction.”

Maybe not.

The team dated the volcanic ash bed at about 253.5 million years old, so moving forward in time 200,000 years — or 60 meters — would indicate the terrestrial phase of the extinction took place about 253.3 million years ago, according to the study.

“This study places the terrestrial vertebrate turnover about 1.5 million years earlier than the accepted estimated age of the marine end Permian-extinction,” Geissman said. “Even if we conservatively say they were a million years apart, that still challenges long-held assumptions about the largest extinction event in Earth’s history.” More.

At first glance, it may not matter a whole lot, as they are all still dead. But each new piece added to the puzzle replaces neat  theory and assumption with messy fact. As noted earlier,

The more we learn about the history of life on earth, the less evolution is theory and the more it is history. It is less like Epicureanism and more like World War II. That cannot be good for Darwinian thinking, which fills in large gaps in history by the exercise of theory. Things that “must have” happened if the theory is correct are assumed to have happened.

But history is not like that. Consider, for example, Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese crippled the U.S. Pacific fleet in a surprise attack, though the United States was not at war with Japan. Assume that the account broke off there. Maybe a theory can fill in the blanks for us and tell us what “had to” happen.

But then, what if we later discover more and more evidence for what actually happened? It will be bad news Tuesday for some theories developed in the absence of evidence — maybe for quite a few theories.

That’s a key reason that the hegemony of Darwin is weakening. So much that we now know either doesn’t fit the theory or could get on just fine without it. More.

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3 Replies to “New findings support rethink of mass extinction?

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    They were just examples of the flood deaths that were fossilized. All these extinctions were the same event. The bible predicted these things. Or rather the great death of the flood included them being covered by sediment which preserrved them.
    Just 4500 years ago.

  2. 2
    mahuna says:

    I almost commented on your Pearl Harbor example the last time you used it, but figured it wasn’t worth the effort. Since you’ve used it again, I figure it’s now worth the effort to challenge.

    The real question is: what if Pearl Harbor was the result of a conscious, active program of American provocations that began IMMEDIATELY after FDR won re-election in November, 1940? See “the McCollum memo” and Stinnett’s “Day of Deceit”.

    And what if a select group of Americans, including FDR, knew that the Japanese aircraft carriers had departed their homeports in Japan and would arrive north of Hawaii during the weekend of 6-7 December 1941 but CHOSE not to inform Admiral Kimmel or General Short?

    That is, the basic facts don’t change, but the IMPORTANCE and INTERPRETATION of the facts DO change.

    Most of the study of History is about taking the basic facts, perhaps adding 1 or 2 new ones (e.g., there is no archaeological evidence from the 1st Century BCE to support Julius Caesar’s assertion that there was a war going on between several of the tribes in Gaul), and then proposing a new interpretation of what really happened (i.e., Caesar himself started the war).

    Problems only occur when some groups (e.g., the pro-Roosevelt crowd) refuse to accept the alternatives because their belief MUST be true, regardless of any specific facts.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    Its a good point about evolution fills in the history because it has no fill.
    Its so true, and weird, how they make up the history
    Its truly about the merits of the evidence.
    Evolutionism has no biological scientific evidence. It just fills in a sory between data points.
    Its just lines of reasoning. Thats why they are losing in puuting down rebellion.
    They are the sick old man of science. Like the Turks they will lose an empire.

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