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Scientists say 90% of the world’s open-ocean sharks died off in mystery extinction event 19 million years ago

The latest discovery left researchers shocked, unable to elucidate the immense loss or the motive behind the deaths of one of the ocean’s strongest predators.

It started when scientist Elizabeth Sibert and her workforce had been making an attempt to study extra about the fish and shark abundance over the final 80 million years, in response to a research launched on June 3.

“We stumbled into this thing completely by accident because what we saw was everything was pretty stable until about 20 million years when sharks dropped off in abundance by over 90%,” Sibert, an oceanographer and paleontologist at Yale University, advised CNN. “We found that sharks were doing incredibly well in the open ocean until this one moment in time when they virtually disappeared. We had no idea because no one had ever looked.”

At the time, there have been 10 instances extra sharks swimming all through the world’s oceans than we see at this time. The loss was additionally double the quantity of sharks that went extinct throughout the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction 66 million years ago “that wiped out three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth,” in response to the research’s news launch.

“We really, truly don’t know anything,” Sibert stated. “This particular interval in Earth’s history isn’t all that well preserved in the deep sea sediments we look at. It’s hard to find suitable locations to do additional studies.”

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Sibert and her workforce have few theories.

Since sharks are intimately tied to the atmosphere they stay in, it’s probably there was an intense environmental change that worn out thousands and thousands of the species. It is unlikely the loss will be attributed to a different predator except it’s one which has no present fossil file.

“It’s possible something big happened, but whatever it was it was very rapid,” Sibert stated. “The Earth’s system was able to correct it, but these big predators, these sharks that were living in the open ocean, must have been very susceptible to this rapid environmental change. But this is still just a hypothesis.”

The researchers have no idea how a lot time it took to eradicate the sharks. It may have taken place in a single day, or perhaps 50 years, and even 100,000 years, in response to Sibert.

Since the sharks lived so deep in the ocean and much from land, and as the deep sea would not protect our bodies in a method that may be lifted and uncovered on land, the samples scientists discovered uncovered organisms they’ve by no means seen earlier than.

While the fossils discovered confirmed it was sharks, the researchers haven’t any method of realizing what the sharks seemed like.

“Like most research endeavors, this first paper offers more questions than it can answer, and we plan on investigating the breadth of data denticles (v-shaped scales) offer through a varied set of lenses, from hydrodynamics to ecology,” stated Leah Rubin, co-author of the research.

“The current state of declining shark populations is certainly cause for concern,” she stated, “and this paper helps put these declines in the context of shark populations through the last 40 million years. This context is a vital first step in understanding what repercussions may follow dramatic declines in these top marine predators in modern times.”

The discovery has left researchers with many unanswered questions: Did this phenomonen affect different sharks in different components of the ocean at the identical second? Did it affect different creatures dwelling in the ocean or on land?

Most importantly, what precisely occurred?

“We hope our study will spark interest in the rest of the scientific community to dig into this time interval,” Sibert stated. “Something really big must have happened because it impacted this really incredible group of organisms that have been around and frankly surviving major global change for the past 400 millions years.”

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