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Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction did not make all creatures small

The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that occurred about 65 million years ago did not result in the minimization of the size of all the creatures on Earth that survived the catastrophic event according to new research conducted by Caroline Sogot from University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and colleagues that was presented in the Feb. 5, 2014, edition of the journal Public Library of Science.

Artist's rendering of a bolide impact responsible for the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
Fredrik. This file is in the public domain because it was solely created by NASA.

The researchers examined the fossil remains of 59 different species of bryzoan and found no change in the size of the individuals that make up the colony of these moss animals (ectoprocts). Seventy-five percent of the bryzoan species studied lived through the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. Similar changes in the length of individuals and the size of the colonies were found in samples taken before and after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

Prior to this research, the common thought was that all species on Earth experienced a minimization of size due to the lack of food and changes in the atmosphere that resulted from the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

This discovery shows that some forms of life hardly experienced any change from a global calamity. The same effects may be seen in earlier known extinction events and the research bodes well for the ultimate calamity that is predicted to occur from global warming caused at least in part by man.