WASHINGTON – Fossils including sharks, sea reptiles and squid-like creatures dug up in Idaho reveal a marine ecosystem thriving relatively soon after Earth's worst mass extinction, contradicting the long-held notion life was slow to recover from the calamity. Scientists on Wednesday described the surprising fossil discovery showing creatures flourishing in the aftermath of the worldwide die-off at the end of the Permian Period about 252 million years ago that erased roughly 90 percent of species. Even the asteroid-induced mass extinction 66 million years ago that doomed the dinosaurs did not push life to the brink of annihilation like the Permian one. The fossils of about 30 different species unearthed in Bear Lake County near the Idaho city of Paris showed a quick and dynamic rebound in a marine ecosystem, illustrating the remarkable resiliency of life. "Our discovery was totally unexpected," said paleontologist Arnaud Brayard of the University of Burgundy-Franche-Comte in France, with a highly diversified and complex assemblage of animals.
Feb-16-2017, 09:25:09 GMT