Geology, Biology Agree on Pangaea Supercontinent Breakup Dates

The distribution of fossils throughout the continents is one line of proof pointing to the existence of Pangaea.

Scientists at The Australian Nationwide College (ANU) have discovered that unbiased estimates from geology and biology agree on the timing of the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent into right now’s continents.

When continents break up, single species are divided into two and drift aside — bodily and genetically.

Lead researcher Sarah McIntyre stated geologic courting of the continental drift and organic courting of the genetic drift offered unbiased estimates of the break-up dates over the previous one hundred eighty million years.

“That is by far probably the most complete comparability of genetic tree-based mostly dates and the geological dates of the continental breakups,” stated Ms McIntyre, a PhD scholar on the ANU Analysis Faculty of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“After excluding species that would simply transfer between continents, a brand new comparability of those two unbiased courting strategies, utilized to the breakup of Pangaea over the previous one hundred eighty million years, finds good settlement between the 2 strategies.

“Geological courting offers necessary unbiased help for the comparatively new area of utilizing genetic timber so far organic divergences.”


“In collaboration with biologist Professor Colin Groves, we got here up with a vetting process that excluded species that would simply migrate from one continent to a different,” Ms McIntyre stated.

Co-writer Affiliate Professor Charley Lineweaver stated as genetic sequence knowledge accumulates, dates from biology have gotten more and more strong.

“Our unique objective was to quantify how lengthy continents had been remoted from one another, to see if some species would evolve into the hypothetical ‘intelligence area of interest’,” stated Dr Lineweaver from the Analysis Faculty of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Analysis Faculty of Earth Sciences at ANU.

“Alongside the best way, we needed to confirm if geological and organic courting strategies agree. We discovered that they do.”

“This concordance between biology and geology provides phylogenetic courting extra road cred,” Dr Lineweaver stated.

Dr Lineweaver stated the end result was solely the tip of the iceberg of what could be completed with all the brand new sequence knowledge and the divergence dates that may be extracted.

The above story is predicated on Materials offered by Australian National University.


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