Exceptional fossil preservation during CO2 greenhouse crises?

Exceptional fossil preservation may require not only exceptional places, but exceptional times, as demonstrated here by two distinct types of analysis. First, irregular stratigraphic spacing of horizons yielding articulated Triassic fishes and Cambrian trilobites is highly correlated in sequences in different parts of the world, as if there were short temporal intervals of exceptional preservation globally. Second, compilations of ages of well-dated fossil localities show spikes of abundance which coincide with stage boundaries, mass extinctions, oceanic anoxic events, carbon isotope anomalies, spikes of high atmospheric carbon dioxide, and transient warm-wet paleoclimates. Exceptional fossil preservation may have been promoted during unusual times, comparable with the present: CO2 greenhouse crises of expanding marine dead zones, oceanic acidification, coral bleaching, wetland eutrophication, sea level rise, ice-cap melting, and biotic invasions.

Retallack G. J., in press. Exceptional fossil preservation during CO2 greenhouse crises? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.04.023. Article (subscription required).

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