What, no Hulk?


Sep 5, 2003
Gamma-ray burst linked to mass extinction

I just came across this little article which discusses the possibility that the late Ordovician mass extinction* may have been caused by a gamma-ray burst. Gamma-ray bursts are very short but astoundingly intense flashes of gamma radiation which might be associated with events such as supernovae. Their exact cause is unknown, but having one occur in your galaxy is probably going to ruin your day. First they fry you, then they cause an ice age. Thankfully, they seem to be very rare.

This article, cited in the references, is short and pretty easy to follow.


*The late Ordovician mass extinction, from what I've read, may in fact consist of two events separated by as much as 2 million years. I'm making the assumption that the proposed GRB is associated with the earlier event.
Thanks um...., that was quite interesting. I'm not sure how badly the nautiloids suffered in that extinction though, it seems to me that they were almost as widespread in the Silurian as they were in the Ordovician. Will try and find out.

Here's another news report you might find of interest. Yet another take on the Cambrian 'explosion' from the BBC last Monday. Interesting reading though.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Life's lucky 'kick start'
I have no idea how this one managed to escape me as I am often look up the Cambrian explosion, but it seems that there is now evidence of tidal arthropods venturing onto land in the Late Cambrian, i.e 530 million years ago. This is an amazing discovery and predates the earliest terrestrial footprints by 40 million years or so in the Early Ordovician. Wow!


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