The extinction at the end of the Permian period 252 million years ago was one of the darkest chapters in the history of life. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial life forms vanished in a geologic blink.
For nearly 40 years, paleontologists have argued over what really killed the dinosaurs. Was it an massive asteroid impact, or a spate of volcanic eruptions? Or what if a powerful impact ignited volcanoes, walloping Earth’s biosphere with a deadly 1-2 punch?
Last week, the human race met its very first Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star in the habitable zone. Kepler-452b’s discovery was met with resounding excitement, but the news was bittersweet. Because life on this distant world — if it exists at all — could be facing imminent extinction.
A new study suggests that thousands of species on Earth going extinct at a rate that far exceeds what’s typical. We are in the beginnings of a mass extinction, argue scientists, and it could lead to global starvation for humans — as well as many other animals.
If you want some epic disaster tales this evening, you can watch this How Stuff Works podcast about possible causes of the five mass extinctions that nearly extinguished all life on Earth. After that cheerful topic, I also talk about why scientists believe we're heading into a sixth mass extinction.
A super volcano that creates a toxic ash cloud covering Earth. Gamma ray explosions. Shifting of magnetic fields. The robots. The bees. And even ourselves. If you want to give yourself a little scare, watch this video on the 10 things that could wipe out life on Earth. The idea of mass extinctions is riveting stuff.
We may be in the early stages of a disaster so profound that it could kick off a mass extinction. Does that mean humanity is doomed? No. Scientific evidence suggests that humans will survive. Find out why, in this excerpt from Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction.
Researchers at Cal Berkeley say that we—we being humans—have probably triggered the sixth mass extinction in our planet's history (the first man-made mass extinction!). Thanks to the last 500 years of over-fishing, overhunting, habitation destruction, and fossil-fuel-induced global warming, we could have the blood of…