The end-Permian mass extinction is considered to be the most devastating biotic event in the history of life on Earth – it caused dramatic losses in global biodiversity, both in water and on land. About 90% of marine and 70% of terrestrial (land) species went extinct. This event may have been responsible for opening up niche spaces that ushered in the age of the dinosaurs. We know that the end-Permian in the marine realm happened about 251.9 million years ago – but the age and duration of the extinction on land, and whether it coincided with the marine extinctions, is one of the most hotly debated topics in palaeontology.
New research from South Africa’s Free State province may go some way to settling the debate. Dr Jennifer Botha, who led the research team, explained the findings to The Conversation Africa’s Natasha Joseph.
What did you find in your research?