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Science. 1999 Aug 27;285(5432):1386-1390.

Fossil Plants and Global Warming at the Triassic-Jurassic Boundary.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK.


The Triassic-Jurassic boundary marks a major faunal mass extinction, but records of accompanying environmental changes are limited. Paleobotanical evidence indicates a fourfold increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and suggests an associated 3 degrees to 4 degrees C "greenhouse" warming across the boundary. These environmental conditions are calculated to have raised leaf temperatures above a highly conserved lethal limit, perhaps contributing to the >95 percent species-level turnover of Triassic-Jurassic megaflora.

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