One of our planet’s most significant misteries is the one concerning the massive extinction that took place about 252 million years ago. As it turns out, the shores of ancient Alberta, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic were a very important refuge for the ancient animals that were threatened; most of the animals that lived at that period were wiped out.

A team of researchers (that included Charles Henderson, a geoscience professor at the U of C, Tyler Beatty, a PhD candidate at the U of C and J-P Zonneveld, an associate professor at the U of A) conducted the research that led to this conclusion. They claim this may not be the only refuge for life during the mass extinction, but it is the only one they have found until now.

“The boundary between the end of the Permian and beginning of the Triassic period saw unparalleled species loss in the marine realm, and biotic recovery was delayed relative to other mass extinctions,” says Henderson, in a paper published in the October edition of Geology. “A major unresolved question has been discovering where the marine organisms that recovered from the extinction were housed.”

“The boundary between the end of the Permian and beginning of the Triassic period saw unparalleled species loss in the marine realm, and biotic recovery was delayed relative to other mass extinctions,” says Henderson, in a paper published in the October edition of Geology. “A major unresolved question has been discovering where the marine organisms that recovered from the extinction were housed.”

“The boundary between the end of the Permian and beginning of the Triassic period saw unparalleled species loss in the marine realm, and biotic recovery was delayed relative to other mass extinctions,” says Henderson, in a paper published in the October edition of Geology. “A major unresolved question has been discovering where the marine organisms that recovered from the extinction were housed.”

What happened is that during the Perminan, the land masses collided to form a supercontinent called Pangeea. Near the end of that period, during the mass extinction, about 95 out of every 100 marine animals were extinct, and the same thing happened to 70 in 100 from the land. There are several theories, but none seems to give a full explanation to what happened; but it’s for sure that the recovery time for life on Earth was huge, longer than any such period our Eart has encountered.



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