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Plos One : Fossil Worm Burrows Reveal Very Early Terrestrial Animal Activity and Shed Light on Trophic Resources After the End-cretaceous Mass Extinction, Volume 8

By Butler, Richard J.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003948644
Format Type: PDF eBook :
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Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Plos One : Fossil Worm Burrows Reveal Very Early Terrestrial Animal Activity and Shed Light on Trophic Resources After the End-cretaceous Mass Extinction, Volume 8  
Author: Butler, Richard J.
Volume: Volume 8
Language: English
Subject: Journals, Science, Medical Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Plos

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Butler, R. J. (n.d.). Plos One : Fossil Worm Burrows Reveal Very Early Terrestrial Animal Activity and Shed Light on Trophic Resources After the End-cretaceous Mass Extinction, Volume 8. Retrieved from http://worldebookfair.com/


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Description : The widespread mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous caused world-wide disruption of ecosystems, and faunal responses to the one-two punch of severe environmental perturbation and ecosystem collapse are still unclear. Here we report the discovery of in situ terrestrial fossil burrows from just above the impact-defined Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in southwestern North Dakota. The crisscrossing networks of horizontal burrows occur at the interface of a lignitic coal and silty sandstone, and reveal intense faunal activity within centimeters of the boundary clay. Estimated rates of sedimentation and coal formation suggest that the burrows were made less than ten thousand years after the end- Cretaceous impact. The burrow characteristics are most consistent with burrows of extant earthworms. Moreover, the burrowing and detritivorous habits of these annelids fit models that predict the trophic and sheltering lifestyles of terrestrial animals that survived the K/Pg extinction event. In turn, such detritus-eaters would have played a critical role in supporting secondary consumers. Thus, some of the carnivorous vertebrates that radiated after the K/Pg extinction may owe their evolutionary success to thriving populations of earthworms.

 

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