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Paleontology

Land animals and ecosystems walloped in wake of end-Permian mass extinction

Salt Lake City, Utah — Natural History Museum of Utah’s Paleontology Curator Randall Irmis, along with a researcher at Brown University, provides evidence that mass extinction that ended the Permian Period was disastrous for land-based animals. In a specimen-by-specimen analysis, the scientists say species were reduced to a handful of forms, called disaster taxa. The low diversity of vertebrates meant that terrestrial ecosystems endured boom-and-bust cycles for up to 8 million years before finally stabilizing.