It has been long realized that the fossil record showed extinctions
that had something to do with plate movements. As plates move the
positions of land and ocean, there seems to be drastic shifts of
environments. Marine conditions become land, and this would cause
extinctions of any marine organisms.
The timing of plate tectonics and extinctions that are recorded in
the fossil record are similar. When plate movement brings continents
together, the environment of the organisms will slowly change, but in
the fossil record it could look "rapid."
Plate tectonics can cause mountains to emerge through converging or
transform boundaries which become barriers for organisms. Unlike humans,
most organisms do not have the ability to just "move." An
elephant cannot just find a new habitat that will sustain a healthy
population. They just canít get into a car and drive to a new place.