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Thu Feb 27, 2014, 09:34 AM

Is Planet Earth Under New Management? [View all]

February 26, 2014 8:03 AM

A hundred million years from now, when we're all dead and gone, a team of geologists will be digging in a field somewhere ...

... and they will discover, buried in the rocks below, a thin layer of sediment very thin, about the width of a cigarette paper, says British stratigrapher Jan Zalasiewicz. That skinny strip, when they look close, will send what's called a "biostratigraphic signal" that something enormous happened back in our era, something life changing, planet reorganizing, even earth shaping. The evidence, when they look closely, will be visible in that same skinny layer all over the world. In her new book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert describes what they'll find.

For starters, Kolbert says, below this layer, geologists will see fossil remnants of all kinds of large animals: elephants, buffalo, rhinos, lions, tigers, whales, giant turtles (and deeper down, even earlier saber tooth tigers, mammoths and giant sloths). Their big bones will litter those older rocks. But above this layer after our era they disappear. Something killed off the Earth's megafauna.

During this same time, they will discover that animals and plants that used to be in one place gingko trees in China, tulips in Asia, starlings in Europe suddenly moved all over the world. Grasses found on one continent now strangely appear on four continents. Flowering plants, rats, goats, pigeons, kudzu, ants, inexplicably spread their territories across enormous oceans, climates, time zones. Specific life forms chickens, cattle, roses, wheat, rice turn up everywhere. Something moved them, though they may not know who or how.



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Reply Is Planet Earth Under New Management? [View all]
n2doc Feb 2014 OP
Cleita Feb 2014 #1
Jackpine Radical Feb 2014 #6
Cleita Feb 2014 #7
democratisphere Feb 2014 #2
northoftheborder Feb 2014 #3
dbackjon Mar 2014 #12
Warpy Feb 2014 #4
chknltl Feb 2014 #5
RainDog Feb 2014 #8
Hestia Feb 2014 #9
Curmudgeoness Feb 2014 #10
VA_Jill Mar 2014 #11