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Life and Extinction on Earth

Life and Extinction on Earth

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Life and Extinction on Earth

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  1. Life and Extinction on Earth In ~ 1.5 hrs!

  2. Life and Extinction on Earth (1) Diversity of life (2) Geologic Time Diversity over time: Marine organisms From: Sepkoski and Raup, 1982; Erwin et al., 1987

  3. On Geologic Time • Geologic Time is defined in two fashions: absolute (radioactive dating) and relative (use of stratigraphy, index fossils, etc.). • Again we have James Hutton to thank for this and for Plutonism, plus a few others! • Key point about relative dating—it depends on an understanding of basic principles of geology. Whereas absolute data mainly depends on isotope geochemistry.

  4. On Geologic Time • Complication: Rock record is not always continuous on Earth. Strata laid down horizontally, but unconformities exist. These are due to many causes such as transgressions and regression of sea level. Also affected by igneous activities.

  5. On Geologic Time • Nicholas Steno: He carved into rock three governing principles of geology (circa 1669). • 1. Principle of superposition • 2. Principle of original horizontality • 3. Principle of original lateral continuity • Robert Hooke: Fossils were organic, potential biomarkers, and not deposited during the Great Flood!

  6. On Geologic Time • Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875): He wrote Principles of Geology (circa 1830 and revised into 1872). • He built upon Hutton’s ideas to produce the first comprehensive view of modern geology.

  7. On Geologic Time • Importance of fossils: • A direct record of ancient life and record evolutionary change of life on Earth. • They are recorder paleo-environments, communities, and climates. • Are of great utilitarian value for correlation of strata.

  8. On Geologic Time

  9. Life and Extinction on Earth (1) Diversity of life (2) Geologic Time Diversity over time: Marine organisms From: Sepkoski and Raup, 1982; Erwin et al., 1987

  10. Life and Extinction on Earth Diversity over time: Marine organisms

  11. Life and Extinction on Earth Diversity over time: Marine organisms

  12. On Geologic Time • Significance: Record abundant oxygen in sea water argued to be released by photosynthetic cyanobacteria. This combined with iron. • Approximately 3 to 1 Gy. • Thus life was present in abundance before the formation of the precursors to these rocks.

  13. On Geologic Time • At what time did life evolve on Earth? • The ‘real’ date is very debatable. It runs from 3.8 to 4.2 Gy.

  14. Evolution • From a geologic perspective, evolution is a point of fact, not a theory. • How evolution occurs is up for debate. • Darwinism • Punctuated equilibrium • Red Queen Hypothesis

  15. Life and Extinction on Earth Diversity over time: Marine organisms Big event Something big happened between ~540-600 My

  16. On Geologic Time • Big Event at the Precambrian – Cambrian boundary: • Exoskeleton! This changes the face of the Earth! • Up till this time period, very little evidence for skeletal components.

  17. Life and Extinction on Earth Diversity over time: All major groups of life.

  18. Life and Extinction on Earth Diversity over time: Something changed!

  19. Life and Extinction on Earth Either big 6 or… Background vs. mass extinction From: Sepkoski and Raup, 1982; Erwin et al., 1987

  20. Life and Extinction on Earth • Mass extinction: A catastrophic event for the worlds biota that eliminates some percentage of organisms (at many taxonomic levels) from the gene pool • Must be catastrophic. • A lot of life goes extinct. • And the life must have belonged to different phyla, habitats (entire communities also go extinct), and be global. • Rapid!

  21. Life and Extinction on Earth …big 5! Causes? Background vs. mass extinction

  22. Life and Extinction on Earth Background vs. mass extinction

  23. Life and Extinction on Earth • Causes of mass extinction: • Intrinsic • Extrinsic • We will discuss these a little later in the lecture.

  24. Life and Extinction on Earth • C-O = Significant number of trilobites, brachiopods, and conodonts go. • O-S = ~ 27% families, 57% genera. • D - Crb = ~ 19% families, 57% genera, 70% spices. • P- Tr = ~ 57% families, 80% genera, 98% species. • Tr –J = 23% families, 50% genera • K - Ter = ~ 17% families, 50% genera, 75% species.

  25. Life and Extinction on Earth • Causes of mass extinction: • Intrinsic • Extrinsic • Intrinsicissues such as stagnate gene pools, normal evolution, etc. • Extrinsicdepend on some geological cause such as global volcanic activity, plate tectonics, sea level changes, global climate change, or impacts etc. • Discussion of communities of organisms, ecosystems.

  26. Real diversity of time?

  27. On Geologic Time