Rainforest collapse drove reptile evolution

Nov 29, 2010
Rainforest collapse drove reptile evolution
Skull of Sphenacodon from New Mexico, one of the fossils used in the current study Image by Spencer Lucas, New Mexico Museum of Natural History

(PhysOrg.com) -- Global warming devastated tropical rainforests 300 million years ago. Now scientists report the unexpected discovery that this event triggered an evolutionary burst among reptiles -- and inadvertently paved the way for the rise of dinosaurs, 100 million years later.

This event happened during the . At that time, Europe and North America lay on the equator and were covered by steamy tropical rainforests. But when the Earth's climate became hotter and drier, rainforests collapsed, triggering reptile evolution.

Dr Howard Falcon-Lang of Royal Holloway, University of London, UK explained: " caused rainforests to fragment into small 'islands' of forest. This isolated populations of and each community evolved in separate directions, leading to an increase in diversity."

Professor Mike Benton of the University of Bristol, UK added: "This is a classic ecological response to . You see the same process happening today whenever a group of animals becomes isolated from its parent population. It's been studied on traffic islands between major road systems or, as Charles Darwin famously observed in the Galapagos, on oceanic islands."

Ms Sarda Sahney, also of the University of Bristol, UK said: "It is fascinating that even in the face of devastating ecosystem-collapse, animals may continue to diversify through the creation of endemic populations." However, she warned that: "Life may not be so lucky again in the future, should the collapse."

To reach their conclusions, the scientists studied the fossil record of reptiles before and after rainforest collapse. They showed that reptiles became more diverse and even changed their diet as they struggled to adapt to rapidly changing climate and environment.

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More information: The new findings are published today in the journal, Geology. Paper: Rainforest collapse triggered Carboniferous tetrapod diversification in Euramerica by Sarda Sahney, Michael J. Benton, and Howard J. Falcon-Lang. geology.gsapubs.org/

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geokstr
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 29, 2010
Now wait a minute just a minute here. I'm pretty sure that we've been told for the last 20 years that the current warming trend of less than a degree over the last 100 years is the end of life on the planet unless we go back to the Stone Age. In fact, in Cancun they just issued a statement saying that the entire developed world needs to go to wartime level serious rationing for at least the next two decades. 1984 here we come.

http://www.telegr...rld.html
trekgeek1
3 / 5 (4) Nov 29, 2010
Now wait a minute just a minute here. I'm pretty sure that we've been told for the last 20 years that the current warming trend of less than a degree over the last 100 years is the end of life on the planet unless we go back to the Stone Age.


The article doesn't mention the overall increase in temperature. It may have been a few degrees over millions of years, you don't know. The rate of change of today could be greater or even equivalent if we are at a maximum already. it's like heating a house. You can heat a house from 40F to 90F and still be fine. However, heating from 90F to 110F can cause a problem. Less increase, but in a critical region of temperatures.
dtxx
2 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2010
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/8165769/Cancun-climate-change-summit-scientists-call-for-rationing-in-developed-world.html


From that article:

In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.


The true goal of the AGW crowd is publically revealed at last! It's not fair that wealth is not uniformly distributed, and they'll say anything to scare you into agreeing!
ArcainOne
4 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2010
Now wait a minute just a minute here. I'm pretty sure that we've been told for the last 20 years that the current warming trend of less than a degree over the last 100 years is the end of life on the planet unless we go back to the Stone Age.


Thats not what I heard... I heard more chaotic weather patterns and MAY cause many animals to become extinct, maybe possibly making life on our planet a lot less comfortable for us humans. Only Irrational people would say it would wipe out all life on our planet. Though human civilization may not survive, humans most likely will. Take away our comforts, those things that are the foundation of our current society, and I guarantee you a massive population loss as we are unable to supply necessities to millions and even billions. Granted that is IF Global warming is real.
ArcainOne
5 / 5 (3) Nov 29, 2010

The true goal of the AGW crowd is publically revealed at last! It's not fair that wealth is not uniformly distributed, and they'll say anything to scare you into agreeing!


so... the true agenda of global warming is to reduce the rich world so that the poor world can grow?

That makes no sense as everyone and their dog calls it a money making scheme. The whole global warming thing is quite profitable.
geokstr
3 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2010
Thats not what I heard...


(sigh)

It seems that no matter how hard I try to make it obvious that I'm using sarcasm and deliberate hyperbole, it manages to escape some people. Lighten up already.

Although I do recall reading of "scientific studies" several years ago about how we're reaching a "tipping point", and if we don't do something soon, we'll experience runaway greenhouse effect, as some astronomers believe happened to Venus. Life - adios muchachos.
Ojorf
not rated yet Nov 30, 2010
You are confusing the time-scales, a short term devastation could lead to a longer term diversification.
ArcainOne
4.5 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2010
Thats not what I heard...


(sigh)

It seems that no matter how hard I try to make it obvious that I'm using sarcasm and deliberate hyperbole, it manages to escape some people. Lighten up already.

Although I do recall reading of "scientific studies" several years ago about how we're reaching a "tipping point", and if we don't do something soon, we'll experience runaway greenhouse effect, as some astronomers believe happened to Venus. Life - adios muchachos.


okay okay, I bow to your sarcasm sir. Though I feel I must put in some prespective... this is the Internet... and it can be very difficult to tell who is being sarcastic... and who is not, especially on this site :)

honestly I think i'm going to start using the [sarcasm] tag just to make sure
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2010
It seems that no matter how hard I try to make it obvious that I'm using sarcasm and deliberate hyperbole,


There is no such thing in the Global Warming controversy. You CANNOT overstate the asinine nature of the some the comments. It is like trying to create a parody of a religious fanatic site. No matter what you do the real thing is more irrational.

http://www.landov...ist.org/

http://www.godhatesfags.com/

Now if you can tell which is real and which is a parody without looking very carefully you read too much of this stuff.

Ethelred
Birger
5 / 5 (4) Nov 30, 2010
1. The global warming during the Carboniferous Period was a relatively slow affair. The plant and animal life had some time to adapt, although plants dependent on moist conditions were doomed apart for in some moist refugia.
2. The overall temperatures were higher, so a modest increase could be devastating.
3. Current conditions are not discussed in the article.
4. In regard to current conditions...the majority of a quarter milion data sets across all continents (and collected by people from all countries) show a warming trend.
This simply *cannot be faked*. You would need the mind set required to believe in "the global jewish conspiracy" to believe such a climate conspiracy exists. Or maybe we are living in the Matrix and Agent Smith has faked all those data sets...
A modest skepticism is healthy. Rejecting consensus reality (like the world being flat instead of spherical) is not.
I recomend doubters to actually travel to the far north and see the glaciers shrinking.
geokstr
1 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2010
1. The global warming during the Carboniferous Period was a relatively slow affair.

There have been recent studies that ice ages can start in just a couple years. Why not warm periods?
In regard to current conditions...the majority of a quarter milion data sets across all continents... This simply *cannot be faked*.

They don't need to be "faked". wattsupwiththat.com did a highly complete physical survey of the temp stations all over the US and found the vast majority cannot be relied on, being in heat sinks, installed on asphalt, etc, etc. There are none over the oceans, and few in the Southern Hemisphere. Recall all the "norming" and decline-hiding that was done by Mann and East Anglia?
I recomend doubters to actually travel to the far north and see the glaciers shrinking.

Right, like you can actually see that in real time. And IIRC, some glaciers are growing.

But to be safe, I am buying some beachfront property on the summit of Mt Everest.
lengould100
5 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2010
Sheesh. I need a map to distinguish the sarcastics from the scientifically challenged.
Donutz
5 / 5 (1) Nov 30, 2010
You CANNOT overstate the asinine nature of the some the comments. It is like trying to create a parody of a religious fanatic site. No matter what you do the real thing is more irrational.


Beautiful! THAT comment is going into my permanent notes.
Donutz
5 / 5 (2) Nov 30, 2010
I recomend doubters to actually travel to the far north and see the glaciers shrinking.


Hey, Birger, you're behind the times (about 5 minutes). Denialists have finally accepted the demise of "There's no global warming, so we don't have to do anything" and have moved on to "It's not human-created so we don't have to do anything". There of course are still some conspiracy nuts who are clinging to "It's all a conspiracy so we don't have to do anything", but they generally are wearing tinfoil hats.
ArcainOne
not rated yet Dec 02, 2010
Denialists have finally accepted the demise of "There's no global warming, so we don't have to do anything" and have moved on to "It's not human-created so we don't have to do anything".


The world is not black and white. How do you know global warming isn't a joint effect of natural phenomenon and human interference? Sure it may be a natural cycle as it is very true glacial melts occur and earth has seen epochs with no ice on its caps, but where do you draw the line between what is a natural cycle and what is unnatural? Humanity is notorious for not doing anything until a problem has already occurred. My irritation is one side states Humans have done it, the other side states its a natural phenomenon, both sides present evidence and no one stops to think maybe its both. Because obviously if Side A is correct Side B is wrong and vice versa... right?
Adam
not rated yet Dec 05, 2010
Personally I deny that fossil-fuels can power the future. Look at the statistics on oil-discovery and it's plain to see there ain't no future in it - in the longer term. Coal is proving almost as elusive. It's the AGW denialists who are living in a fantasy.