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Amphibians and dinosaurs were new large predators after mass extinction 252 mln years ago

Last Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 14:48

Washington: Researchers have said that crocodile-like amphibians and later the precursors of the known plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs went in search of prey in the oceans soon after the end of the mass extinction.

A Swiss-American team of palaeontologists headed by Torsten Scheyer and Carlo Romano from the University of Zurich demonstrate in their new study that the food nets during the Early Triassic did not recover in stages.
The researchers looked at the global distribution of predatory marine vertebrates and their body size in the Early and Middle Triassic and came to surprising conclusions.

The researchers were also able to refute a second theory. Earlier it had been assumed that marine predators grew continuously larger from the Early to the Middle Triassic culminating in the apex predators.

Romano said that they now demonstrate that already in the Early Triassic large predators hunted in the seas.

The large end-Permian mass extinction led to a completely new composition of apex predators.

Large predatory fish were dominant in the Permian age but they had to share this role with predatory crocodile-like amphibians after the mass extinction.

Another extinction event around two million years later, the End Smithian crisis, triggered changes in the group of apex predators. From this point in time fish and for the first time reptiles like, for instance, Askeptosaurus were at the uppermost end of the food chains.

First Published: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 14:48
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