Brief history of extinctions on Earth

“Our planet Earth has extinguished large portions of its inhabitants several times since the dawn of animals. And if science tells us anything, it will surely try to kill us all again. Working in the 19th century, paleontology pioneer Georges Cuvier saw dramatic turnovers of life in the fossil record and likened them to the French Revolution, then still fresh in his memory.

Today, we refer to such events as “mass extinctions,” incidents in which many species of animals and plants died out in a geological instant. They are so profound and have such global reach that geological time itself is sliced up into periods—Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous—that are often defined by these mass extinctions.

RTFA and “enjoy” or at least reflect upon the mortality of this widespread but fragile species.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz

One thought on “Brief history of extinctions on Earth

  1. Cassandra says:

    “Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS July 25, 2017 vol. 114 no. 30) http://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/E6089
    See article @ https://www.cbd.int/financial/2017docs/ceballos-sixth2017.pdf “The strong focus on species extinctions, a critical aspect of the contemporary pulse of biological extinction, leads to a common misimpression that Earths biota is not immediately threatened, just slowly entering an episode of major biodiversity loss. This view overlooks the current trends of population declines and extinctions.”

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