I Dig Brazil

Final Session of I Dig Brazil: Teens Present Their Scientific Findings! 

NY James' Theory from Global Kids on Vimeo.

Yesterday was the final session of "I Dig Brazil." Teens at the Field Museum in Chicago and at the High School for Global Citizenship in Brooklyn presented together over Skype to an audience of their parents, real life scientists, and the staff of Global Kids and the Field Museum. It was a critical "stand and deliver" moment for all of our teens, and they did great!

I Dig Brazil Day 18: Mass Extinction & Capoeira 

Today was a key day for I Dig Brazil: when our teens start to put all the pieces together of their research, conversations with scientists, and virtual world fossil hunting to understand what happened 250 million years ago on earth. In short, why did 70% of all life die out during the Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction?

It was a good test to see how much they had retained from their weeks of work during I Dig Brazil, and how well they worked together as a group to solve the mystery.

In New York, our teens were given all of the data collected to date, in the form of worksheets that they had filled out, background info on the various rocks, plants and animal fossils they discovered, and maps of where they had found them. Their task was to assemble all the data together by period in time, to get a rough sense of what might have happened between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods.

They decided to divide up the investigation by fossil type, with one person taking rocks, another plants and the others animal fossils, and filling in the data on the different time periods. This was pretty efficient, and much of the information was completed by the time we got to the discussion portion of the workshop.

IDB -The P/T 11-22-10 

1: The climate went from wet to dry.
2: The plants went from seeds to spores.
3: The animals went from carnivores to herbivores.
4: Its possible that a volcano erupted.
5: yes because it went from Dimatrodon to Thrinaxdon.

IDB-The P/T 11-22-10 

1. The climate went from dry to wet over time because most of our data went in that order.

2. Most of the plants except Annularia had seeds in them so that meant that they needed more water.

3. All of the platforms had at least one herbivore and one carnivore. The Lystrosaurus were on two of four platforms.

4.We believed it was an volcanic eruption due to there being no plants or animals.

5. The Lystrosaurus the most out of all of them because it could have adapted or had many types of species.

IDB-The P/T 

The climate from the Permian to the Triassic changed from wet/tropical to dry.
We can conclude this by the rock evidence, both coal and bauxite required a wet environment to form.

The plants changed from seed to spores. We can infer this by the pattern in plants and our weather conclusion. Spores dont retain water because it is normally in a wet environment, on the other hand, seeds have a coat that help retain water because of the lack of water.

the animals changed from carnivores to herbivore. we can infer this because of the other facts on weather.

our possible explanation was that the extinciton had to do with a volcanic eruption. we based this theory on the basalt rock in the 3rd platform. basalt is form from volcanoes lava. therefore there must have been a volcanic eruption.

yes the Lystrosaurus was the survival animal. it appears on platforms 2, the disappears in platform 3 and once again re appears in platform 4. I think that due to the animals size and trophic strategy. the lystrosaurus was a herbivore which might have been very helpful in its survival.

IDB - The P/T 11/22 

1) It changed from wet and tropical to a much dryer, tropical environment. The rocks of the Triassic include Calcrete and Evaporite, which need a very dry environment to appear, whereas earlier in the Permian, there were plants like Pecopteris, Annularia grew. they had spores, showing that the environment had plenty of water available. There was also Glossopteris, showing the variety of plants.

2) The plants changed from having spores to seeds (No more Pecopteris and Annularia but new seed plants like Dicrodium and Nilssonia emerged), which indicates that the region went from having a lot of water to a much lesser amount. During the period transition, the plants had a mass extinction and new ones emerged during the Triassic. The disappearance of the spore plants shows that wasn't enough water to support them anymore.

IDB: Mapping the P-T 

from the Permian to the triassic period the climate changed from tropical and wet conditions to a dryer environment. platform 1 contains bauxite which requirers tropical weathering and also contained coal which means their was a tropical environment because in order for coal to form their must be a lot of dead animals and tropical environments are highly populated. Furthermore, as the platforms increase their are more and more plants that use seeds as apposed to spores which is evidence in support of a drying environment because seeds need less water.

the animals become smaller and herbivorous as the platforms increase. this is probably because smaller herbivorous animals require less energy and are more suited to the new dry less populated environment

it is possible that a volcanic eruption caused an extinction in platform three due to the basalt that was found which requires a volcanic eruptions to form but i don't believe that we have significant evidence

the lystrosaurus survived because their was much variation in that species

IDB: Mapping the P-T 

From the permian to the triassic eras the climate changed significantly into a dry environment. A volcano was probably behind this, for there are traces on the third platform containing Basalt which is made from volcanic ash. The different platforms in second life are mini representations of the different eras for as the fossils are found deeper and deeper, the time is later and later. (Fossils on platform one are much older then fossils on platform four) Before the Basalt was found, the plants and animals signified a hotter climate. Animals were bigger and coal was present. Only living things that can survive in dry environments were present on the third level which suggests that some massive change occurred between the second and third levels. (If this was not a volcano we do not have any other evidence to support another theory) From the Permian to the Triassic periods animals grew smaller and became herbivores as the smaller animals that could eat meat died. Only Plant eaters could survive as the meat eaters could not find food.(The only species that we found remaining was the Lystrosaurus. They survived because of the variation within the species: some of their family members had traits that could endure the new dry environment) Plants also changes between eras. Plants stopped having spores and instead grew seeds.

Investigating the Extinction 

today we learn the on level 3 that everything died and then on level 4 everything started again. the weather change form tropical to hot weather and then things died out . then life being again.

Investigating the Extinction 

1. What we learned about the difference between the Permian and Triassic Period during its extinctive phase is when the plants such as the nillosian were based in a dry, arid environment and then were converted podozamites which was based in a temperate climate, such as in a forest of a moisture setting. Then, a dinosaur called the lystrosaurus was based from a climate that involved a herbivorous setting of only eating just plants, and then the thrinaxodon, was a conversion to a carnivorous animal which only ate animals, such as reptiles, pigs, and animals, such as cheetahs, lions, and other dinosaurs for their respective trophic strategies.