A fifth of the Amazon rainforest has experienced massive deforestation since 1970. More than 750000 square kilometers of trees have been destroyed. A majority of the animal population has been rendered extinct, and those that survived are now endangered. This is not an isolated case of deforestation, about 307 years ago, extensive rainforests disappeared. This was just before the Carboniferous period ended. Tetrapods are believed by paleontologists to have been the first vertebrates in the Amazon rainforest. Regardless of numerous attempts by paleontologists to decipher the reasons for tetrapod’s extinction, fossil records are inconclusive. New research shows effects of the rainforest collapse on species, with a keen interest in amphibians.

Digital records were extracted from the Paleobiology Database to counter bias from the fossil records. The database is updated continuously by paleobiologists and accessible to all citizens. The research employed the use of statistical methods on tetrapod fossils. The study revealed a reduction in tetrapods after the collapse of the rainforest. The tetrapod survivors eventually moved out to other habitats around the world. The latest information suggests that amniotes that survived the rainforest collapse bore dinosaurs and later on evolved to the current group of reptiles, birds, and mammals. The research findings on tetrapods are documented in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


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