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What was most relevant to humans, however, was the almost-complete extinction during the Kellwasser event of the tetrapods that had come ashore.� Tetrapods did not reappear in the fossil record until several million years after the Kellwasser event, and has even been referred to as the Fammenian Gap (the Fammenian Age is the Devonian�s last age). [270] �The Kellwasser event also appeared to be a pe riod of low atmospheric oxygen content, and some evidence is the lack of charcoal in fossil deposits. �Recent research has demonstrated that getting wood to burn at oxygen levels of less than 13-15% may be impossible. [271] �Because all periods of complex land life show evidence of forest fires, it is today thought that oxygen levels have not dropped below 13-15% since the Devonian, but during the �charcoal gap� of the late Devonian, when the first landlubbing tetrapods went extinct, oxygen levels reached their lowest levels since the GOE, which must have impacted the first animals trying to breathe air instead of water.� During the Kellwasser event, there is no charcoal evidence at all, which leads to the notion that oxygen levels may have even dropped below 13%. [272] � This drop may be related to severe climatic stresses on the new mono-species forests, which are probably related to the ice age that the forests helped bring about due to their carbon sequestering.� That is an attractively explanatory scenario, but the controversy and research continues.� The first seed plants probably appeared before the Kellwasser event, but it was not until after the Fammenian Gap that seed plants began to proliferate. [273] The Kellwasser event ended the first invasion of land by vertebrates and created an evolutionary bottleneck.� Some stragglers survived the Kellwasser event, but the fossil record for the next seven million years has been devoid of tetrapod fossils with the exception of one species. [274] � After the Fammenian Gap ended about 368 mya, tetrapods renewed their invasion of land, and those tetrapods with many toes appeared in the fossil record during the second invasion.� Ichthyostega was Earth�s largest land animal in those days.� The tetrapods of the time may have not yet been true amphibians, but they were making the adjustments needed to become true land animals, such as losing their gills and improving their locomotion.� No new arthropods appeared on land during that time.

Pages: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; Reprint edition (April 26, 2011)

ISBN: 1608194108

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