EGU Blogs
Avatar

Guest

This guest post was contributed by a scientist, student or a professional in the Earth, planetary or space sciences. The EGU blogs welcome guest contributions, so if you've got a great idea for a post or fancy trying your hand at science communication, please contact the blog editor or the EGU Communications Officer to pitch your idea.

Molecular clocks and the End-Permian mass extinction

Earth’s history is punctuated by extreme events known as mass extinctions. The End-Permian extinction, 252 million years ago, is believed to be the biggest, killing 90 % or more of all species – no wonder it is also called “The Great Dying”. The big question out there is to understand what caused it, but it is a challenge to get the complete picture of an event so long ago in prehistory. We know that the Siberian Traps (the enormous field of volcanic rock that lies in Siberia) were formed around that time and that volcanic activity was a likely trigger for this mass extinction. But what actually happened? And why did so many species, including many groups of insects, disappear?

Last year, an article appeared that brought forward a new hypothesis. From evidence in rock cores, Daniel Rothman and co-authors [1,2] concluded that around the end of the Permian, a lot of organic carbon that was formerly trapped in the sediments was converted into CO2. This change happened so fast that its release was exponential.

When genes are passed on from microbe A to microbe B, both undergo a certain number of mutations per period of time.

When genes are passed on from microbe A to microbe B, both undergo a certain number of mutations per period of time.

[Read More]

Welcome to guest blogger Dr. Sabine Lengger!

Hi readers of “Green tea and Velociraptors”, my name is Sabine Lengger, I am a scientist, and I am an avid reader of Jon’s blog too. I started out my scientific career as a chemist / biochemist, and became more and more fascinated by the fields of environmental chemistry and molecular palaeontology. Since Jon spends all day [apparently] writing his thesis these days and asked for a guest writer, I thought I could add the occasional thought on fossils from my perspective. Below there’s a little introduction to palaeontology from the organic chemist’s point of view, and the stuff that we get excited about … molecules!

[Read More]