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World’s Largest Extinction Wiped Out Plants Before Animals, Says New Research

The team studied fossilised pollen, the chemical composition and age of rock, and the layering of sediment on the cliffsides of southeastern Australia. 

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earth, digital
Researchers found high concentrations of nickel in the Sydney Basin's mud-rock - surprising because there are no local sources of the element. Pixabay

The world’s largest extinction wiped out plants before many animal counterparts, says new research.

Roughly 252 million years ago, \nickel byproduct from a volcanic eruption in Siberia drifted to Australia, kicking off the Earth-spanning cataclysm known as the “Great Dying”.

Spewing carbon and methane into the atmosphere for roughly two million years, the eruption led to the extinction of about 96 per cent of oceanic life and 70 per cent of land-based vertebrates.

But the new study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers suggests that nickel may have driven some Australian plant life to extinction nearly 400,000 years before most marine species perished.

“That’s big news. People have hinted at that, but nobody’s previously pinned it down. Now we have a timeline,” said lead author Christopher Fielding.

Roughly 252 million years ago, nickel byproduct from a volcanic eruption in Siberia drifted to Australia, kicking off the Earth-spanning cataclysm known as the "Great Dying". 
Roughly 252 million years ago, nickel byproduct from a volcanic eruption in Siberia drifted to Australia, kicking off the Earth-spanning cataclysm known as the “Great Dying”.  . (VOA)

The team studied fossilised pollen, the chemical composition and age of rock, and the layering of sediment on the cliffsides of southeastern Australia.

They discovered high concentrations of nickel in the Sydney Basin’s mud-rock – surprising because there are no local sources of the element.

The finding, detailed in the journal Nature Communications, points to the eruption of lava through nickel deposits in Siberia, said Tracy Frank, Professor at the varsity.

That volcanism could have converted the nickel into an aerosol that drifted thousands of miles southward before descending on, and poisoning, much of the plant life there.

Fossils
The team studied fossilised pollen, the chemical composition and age of rock, and the layering of sediment on the cliffsides of southeastern Australia. VOA

Similar spikes in nickel have been recorded in other parts of the world, she explained.

Also Read: Higher Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables May Lower Death Risk in Dialysis Patients

The phenomenon may also have triggered a series of others: herbivores dying from the lack of plants, carnivores dying from a lack of herbivores, and toxic sediment eventually flushing into seas already reeling from rising carbon dioxide, acidification and temperatures.

Though the time scale and magnitude of the Great Dying exceeded the planet’s current ecological crises, Frank said the emerging similarities – especially the spikes in greenhouse gases and continuous disappearance of species – make it a lesson worth studying. (IANS)

Next Story

Flu Could Put You At A High Risk Of Stroke

The reason could be due to inflammation caused by the flu infection.

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CFS
In another study, the team from the varsity, found an increased risk of a neck artery tear after having the flu. VOA

Catching flu could put you at increased risk of stroke for up to a year, finds a new study.

Although the researchers are not sure the reason behind the association, the reason could be due to inflammation caused by the flu infection.

The finding adds to previous research which has suggested the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of a stroke.

For the study, the researchers from Columbia University in the US looked at the medical records of 30,912 people with an average age of 72 years who had been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke.

The findings, which would be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019 in the US, showed that people had a 40 per cent higher chance of having a stroke if they had been admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms within the past 15 days.

America,flu
For the study, the researchers from Columbia University in the US looked at the medical records of 30,912 people with an average age of 72 years who had been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke.

“The association occurred within 15 days. That’s important for people to know because if they get the flu, they want to be on the lookout for symptoms of stroke, especially early on after the flu,” Philip B Gorelick, Professor at the Michigan State University in the US was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

In another study, the team from the varsity, found an increased risk of a neck artery tear after having the flu.

Neck artery tears, formally called a cervical artery dissection, happens when one of the large blood vessels in the neck is damaged, causing blood clots to develop.

It is a leading cause of stroke because it affects the blood supply to the brain, reported Daily Mail.

Vaccine
Influenza leads to serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, sepsis and heart disease, the study noted. VOA

The study, which will be presented at the same conference, found 1,736 instances of flu-like illness preceding cervical artery dissection.

Also Read: Higher Consumption of Fruits, Vegetables May Lower Death Risk in Dialysis Patients

“Cervical or neck dissections make up about two per cent of all strokes and up to 25 per cent of strokes in persons who are under 45 years of age. So this is specifically important to people who are in that under 45 age group, but not exclusively,” said Gorelick.

Influenza leads to serious and potentially life-threatening complications such as pneumonia, sepsis and heart disease, the study noted. (IANS)