A new study says the mass extinction 360 million years ago is likely to have been caused by the destruction of the ozone layer caused by a rapidly warming climate,media BGR reported. Scientists found DNA damaged by ultraviolet radiation in plant samples from this period. Scientists warn that if we can’t control our own warming, we could have another such event.
In a new paper published in the journal Science Advances, researchers look at previously unexplained mass extinction events. While the researchers were working on rocks, they found tiny plant spores. It is these spores that allow ancient plants to reproduce, but not all spores look the same. Some appear to be healthy when preserved, while others are noticeably damaged.
Comparing the two groups of spores, the researchers found that the deformed specimens were most likely burned by intense ultraviolet rays, causing them to be “disfigured.” Scientists say this is evidence of the rapid destruction of the Earth’s ozone layer, which usually protects us from destructive ultraviolet radiation that could otherwise cause serious damage to plants and animals.
This destruction of the ozone layer has been occurring in the past, but has historically been associated with increased volcanic activity. In this particular case, it seems that volcanoes are not working, but the researchers believe that the rapidwarming climate after the Ice Age is the trigger. As you might imagine, this is worrying because we know that our climate is currently warming rapidly, and the scientific community has the consensus that human activity is to blame.
“Importantly, the mass extinction of the mud basin-stony boundary coincides with the warming of the last intense ice cycle of the recent Mudbasin Ice Age,” the researchers wrote. “One mechanism for the reduction of the ozone layer during rapid warming is the increase in convective transport ation of ClO. Therefore, ozone loss during rapid warming is an inherent process of the Earth system, and the conclusion is inevitable that in a warming world in the future, we should be alert to such occasional events. “