Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Mass extinctions ‘lead to disaster faunas’
One of the most common animals at the end of the Permian was Lystrosaurus.

Study may offer insights into future changes to biological communities

New research suggests mass extinctions have predictable outcomes for animal distributions, and could potentially guide our modern conservation efforts.

International scientists found that mass extinctions in the late Permian to early Jurassic periods, were followed by periods of low diversity, in which certain new species dominated large parts of the supercontinent, Pangaea.

The findings have been published in Nature Communications.

It has previously been thought that mass extinctions create ‘disaster faunas’, but studies had been rare and limited in scope.

Researchers involved in the present study looked at long-term changes in biodiversity in Pangaea. They analysed nearly 900 animal species between 260 million and 175 million years ago. The period saw two mass extinctions and the origin of dinosaurs and many modern vertebrate groups.

The end-Permian extinction wiped out many groups that dominated life on land and allowed new groups to evolve. This included the earliest dinosaurs, crocodiles and relatives of mammals and lizards. The end-Triassic extinction then wiped out many major groups, which helped to ‘set the stage’ for dinosaurs to take over.

David Button, of North Carolina State University, explained: “These results show that, after both mass extinctions, biological communities not only lost a large number of species, but also became dominated by widespread, newly-evolving species, leading to low diversity across the globe.

“These common patterns suggest that mass extinctions have predictable influences on animal distributions and may have the potential to guide modern conservation efforts.”

We are currently in the sixth mass extinction due to human activity. Already, there are concerns that global faunas are becoming more homogenous due to landscape simplification, rising temperatures and the introduction of exotic species. Researchers say their findings highlight another risk factor - ongoing biodiversity loss is expected to result in a ‘disaster fauna’ of more similar species worldwide.

Image © Victor O. Leshyk, website:

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Gucci pledges to go fur-free

News Story 1
 Italian fashion house Gucci has announced that it will no longer use animal fur in its designs. Gucci’s president & CEO Marco Bizzarri made the announcement on Wednesday (October 11) at The London College of Fashion.

The move follows a long-standing relationship with The Humane Society of the United States and LAV - members of the international Fur Free alliance. Gucci’s fur-free policy includes mink, coyote, raccoon dog, fox, rabbit, karakul and all other species bred or caught for fur.  

News Shorts
Avian flu text alert service launched in Northern Ireland

A new text system to alert bird keepers to the threat of avian flu has been launched in Northern Ireland. The service will enable bird keepers to take action to protect their flock at the earliest opportunity.

Keepers who have already provided NI's Department of Agriculture with a valid mobile number have automatically been subscribed to the service and notified by text. Bird keepers who have not yet received a text should text ‘BIRDS’ to 67300 to register.