Species Multiply as Earth Heats Up
Rather than kicking off the expected cycles of extinction, periods of warming in Earth’s history were accompanied by increased biodiversity, according to a report. But this does not mean that the mass extinctions that are taking place today, with Earth warming at an unprecedented rate, will be reversed in future.
Researchers examined the number of known families of marine invertebrates, as well as sea-surface temperatures, over the course of 540 million years of Earth’s history. They found that when temperatures were high, so was biodiversity. When temperatures fell, biodiversity also declined. The results contradict previous work, including findings from lead author Peter Mayhew’s group, that reported an inverse correlation between high temperatures and biodiversity.