Friday 1 July 2022 12:33 PM Shrimps and worms were the first animals to recover after the 'Great Dying' trends now
Worms and shrimps were among the first animals to recover after the 'Great Dying' mass extinction event that almost obliterated life on Earth 252 million years ago, a new study suggests.
Researchers said that deposit feeders – creatures that feed off organic matter settled at the bottom of the ocean – were the first to bounce back in terms of population numbers and biodiversity.
The end-Permian mass extinction wiped out 90 per cent of species on Earth, and it took millions of years for biodiversity to return to pre-extinction levels.
But by examining trails and burrows on the South China sea bed, the international team of researchers were able to piece together sea life's revival by pinpointing what animal activity was happening when.
Shrimps and worms were among the first animals to recover after the 'Great Dying' mass extinction event that almost obliterated life on Earth 252 million years ago, a study suggests. This graphic shows how the oceans may have looked before (A) and after (B-F) the extinction
Deposit feeders, including shrimps and worms, were the first to recover after the 'Great Dying'. They did so about 251 million years ago.
Next was the recovery of suspension feeders, which snack on organic matter suspended in water.
Corals then started to come back even later still.
About 3 million years after the recovery of deposit feeders - some 248 million years ago - soft-bodied sediment dwellers also got back to pre-extinction levels.
Professor Michael Benton, from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, said: 'The end-Permian mass extinction and the recovery of life in the Early Triassic are very well documented throughout South China.
'We were able to look at trace fossils from 26 sections through the entire series of events, representing seven million crucial years of time, and showing details at 400 sampling points, we finally reconstructed the recovery stages of all animals including benthos, nekton, as well as these soft-bodied burrowing animals in the ocean.'
The recovery of suspension feeders, which snack on organic matter suspended in water, followed much later than deposit feeders, according to the research.
Even later still, corals started to come back, while it