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20,000 ancient fossils discovered in mountain in China

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20,000 ancient fossils discovered in mountain in China

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:38 am

ChinaFossils.jpg

20,000 fossils tell how life escaped extinction

A cache uncovered on a Chinese mountain reveals details of earlier global warming

By Charles Q. Choi
12/21/2010 8:09:27 PM ET

A giant cache of nearly 20,000 fossil reptiles, shellfish and a host of other prehistoric creatures unearthed from a mountain in China is now revealing how life recovered after the most devastating mass extinction on Earth.

This research could help point out which species might be more or less susceptible to extinction nowadays, and how the world might recover from the damage caused by humanity, scientists added.

Life was nearly completely wiped out approximately 250 million years ago by massive volcanic eruptions and devastating global warming. Only one in 10 species survived this cataclysmic end-Permian event.

Much was uncertain regarding the steps life took to piece itself back together after this disaster, or even how long it took. Now the clearest picture yet of this recovery has been discovered by a team of researchers, who excavated away half a mountain in Luoping in southwest China to unearth thousands of marine fossils, the first fully functional ecosystem seen after the end-Permian.

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