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Permian Mass Extinction (The Great Dying): New Theory That Nickel Hungry Microbes Evolved and Caused

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posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 10:24 PM
This is a new theory that will be added to a list of speculations behind the greatest known Mass Extinction of all time, when 96% of marine life, 70% of terrestrial vertebrates, and almost 60% of insect families were wiped out for reasons thought to be related to climate change.

A group led by MIT's Dr. Daniel Rothman have concluded that the evidence doesn't support current theories which include volcanism, meteors, tectonic plate shifts, and methane release from ocean methane clathrate beds.

Instead they point to a microbe, methanosarcina, that they say evolved to use nickel to produce methane.


The article seems to have a logical error, suggesting that the extinction occurred 20 million years before the microbe evolved, but maybe the writer misinterpreted the original publication.

In any event, it is astounding to think that a microbe could nearly wipeout a whole biosphere. I wonder where this will lead with respect to current climate change research?

posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 11:00 PM
I think it is two fold, every 36 million years or so bang asteroid soup, wait 3- 10 thousand years germ city to the max. Events bring the destruction with them, if the foreign material incinerates before it hits the ground than logically the materials that make it up are absorbed into the atmosphere. If all water came from space asteroids, why couldn't other combinations of elements?

posted on Dec, 17 2012 @ 05:44 PM
If we keep doing what we are doing,we maybe next.

Naturally occurring bacteria gobbled up at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas that spewed into the Gulf following the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, a new study shows.
Researcher John Kessler, of the University of Rochester, said the hydrocarbon-eating bacteria removed the majority of the oil and gas trapped in underwater layers more than a half-mile below the surface. But the bacteria's appetite seemed to die down five months after the April 2010 explosion that set off the environmental disaster, Kessler and his team found.

"It is unclear if this indicates that this great feast was over by this time or if the microorganisms were simply taking a break before they start on dessert and coffee" he said in a statement. "Our results suggest that some (about 40 percent) of the released hydrocarbons that once populated these layers still remained in the Gulf post-September 2010, so food was available for the feast to continue at some later time. But the location of those substances and whether they were biochemically transformed is unknown."

The researchers measured the deeds of these methane-munching microbes by looking at oxygen levels throughout the water column. That's because these microbes use oxygen to "breathe." [Deepwater Horizon: Images of an Impact]

"When bacteria consume oil and gas, they use up oxygen and release carbon dioxide, just as humans do when we breathe," graduate research assistant Mengran Du at Texas A&M University said in a statement. "When bacteria die and decompose, that uses up still more oxygen. Both these processes remove oxygen from the water." The team used these oxygen numbers to calculate the amount of oil and gas removed by the microbes and at what rate they were consuming it.

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