UV radiation pulse played role in mass extinction event, fossil pollen suggests

A deadly pulse of ultraviolet (UV) radiation may have played a role in Earth’s largest mass extinction event, fossil pollen grains suggest.

The analysis found that pollen around the time of the Permian–Triassic mass extinction event, about 250 million years ago, produced “sunscreen” compounds that shielded against harmful UV-B radiation. At that time, about 80% of all marine and terrestrial species died out.

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