The earth in the past was like “toxic soup.” What scientists have found

The mass extinction of the planet’s inhabitants 252 million years ago is called the worst event in the history of the Earth. The experts described how everything happened and noted that history was beginning to repeat itself.

The massive Permian extinction occurred during the last geological period of the Paleozoic era. During this harsh time, many volcanoes threw poisonous gases into the air, the temperature increased significantly and it became impossible to live on Earth. Many terrestrial species of fauna then ceased to exist.

Previously, it was assumed that the inhabitants of the seas and oceans survived the time of the Permian extinction easier, and they practically did not suffer. The results of a new study have shown that this is completely wrong, writes Phys.org.

According to an international team of scientists, the water hid its own misfortune: during extreme warming, toxic microbes felt amazing and began to bloom. In a healthy ecosystem, microscopic algae and cyanobacteria supply oxygen to aquatic animals as a byproduct of their photosynthesis. But when their numbers get out of hand, these microbes deplete free oxygen and start releasing toxins into the water.

These days, toxic microbial blooms are killing fish and are becoming more common in freshwater lakes. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Thus, about 252 million years ago, water bodies on our planet resembled a “toxic soup”. But the most interesting thing is that experts find parallels between what was then and what is happening on Earth now.

According to a 2021 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the human impact on climate change “uniquely” creates conditions conducive to the proliferation of thermophilic and dangerous microbes. Combined with the influx of nutrients from water pollution (mainly from agriculture and deforestation), this leads to a dramatic increase in toxic algal blooms. Scientists warn that the results could be disastrous: massive fish deaths, serious consequences for human and livestock health and – in the worst case scenario – a repetition of the history of the “toxic soup” on Earth.

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