NEWS ABOUT: mass extinction

World on Brink of 6th Great Extinction

Humanity has raised extinction rate a thousandfold

(Newser) - Human activity is wiping out species of plants and animals at a dizzying rate, leaving the world on the verge of the sixth great extinction in its history, a new study warns. Researchers found that species are vanishing around 10 times faster than previously believed—and 1,000 times faster... More »

Villain That Nearly Killed All Life on Earth Is ... Tiny

Methane-producing microbe gets the blame 250M years ago

(Newser) - Name your favorite culprit for the mass extinction that wiped out nearly every life form on Earth 250 million years ago. A spectacular asteroid, perhaps? Massive volcanic eruptions? Both are popular theories, but a new study encourages sleuths of the Permian era to think much, much smaller, reports the Guardian... More »

Erasing Almost All Life on Earth Took Just 60K Years

Study: That's give or take 48K years, 'practically instantaneous'

(Newser) - Roughly 252 million years ago, an extreme animal die-off occurred: 70% of land animals and 96% of marine life were obliterated, in what's known as the Permian mass extinction. What scientists still don't exactly know is why (an asteroid? volcanic eruptions?), but they now know how long it... More »

How Giant Rats Could Someday Rule the Earth

Bank on it after the next mass extinction, says scientists

(Newser) - The future could belong to rats—perhaps enormous ones. So say scientists in Britain, based on a thought experiment. Geological historian Jan Zalasiewicz notes that some of his colleagues fear the planet could be headed for its next mass extinction in the next several centuries, thanks to humans' detrimental effects... More »

Meet the 66M-Year-Old Ancestor of Mammals

Scientists come up with theoretical creature

(Newser) - Say hello to your great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (times a few million or so)—Protungulatum donnae, a rat-sized insect eater believed to have lived 66 million years ago. A new six-year study of the mammalian family tree, looking at DNA and anatomical evidence in greater detail than ever before, has identified Protungulatum donnae... More »

New Study Offers Proof: Asteroid Wiped Out Dinos

New study puts mass extinction within 32K years of meteor

(Newser) - Paleontologists and dinosaur nerds have long debated what killed off the "terrible lizards"— one meteor or many , volcanoes , or something else. Now one researcher says he has the answer: an asteroid believed to be about six miles wide that landed in the Caribbean about 66 million years ago.... More »

Coral Reefs Gone by Century's End

Not just pretty: end of reefs often signals mass extinction events

(Newser) - Climate change and the acidification of the oceans—along with overfishing, coastal development, and pollution—will destroy the Earth's coral reefs in as little as 30 years, reports the Independent . The mass-bleaching in the Indian Ocean in 1998 alone destroyed 16% of the world's reefs in just a... More »

We're Headed for Vast Ocean Extinction: Panel

Human activity is rapidly wiping out marine life, panel warns

(Newser) - Human activity has degraded the world's oceans with dizzying speed and a mass extinction of marine life only seen five times before in the planet's history is likely if urgent action is not taken, a panel of marine experts warns. The International Program on the State of the... More »

Next Mass Extinction Looms

But it's in early stages, so there is hope, new paper says

(Newser) - Some conservationists have been using the term "the sixth extinction" for a few years now—referring to the possibility that more than 75% of existing species could disappear for the sixth time in the planet's history—but there's been little factual proof to back up the frightening prediction. Until... More »

Dino Birth Pushed Back 9M Years

Just-discovered species walked the Earth 250 million years ago

(Newser) - Researchers analyzing footprints in 250 million-year-old Polish rock say they've identified the oldest dinosaur-like species ever discovered. Prorodatcylus walked on four legs, was about the size of a house cat, and lived in the shadow of its "more diverse, successful, and abundant crocodile-like cousins" for millions of years, according... More »

Volcano Eruptions Led to Rise of Dinosaurs

The lava all but wiped out main competitors

(Newser) - An explosion of volcanic activity 200 million years ago may have been responsible for the mass extinction that left dinosaurs with few competitors and allowed them to dominate the Earth for almost 150 million years. Researchers have discovered evidence of massive lava flows concurrent with elevated levels of CO2 in... More »

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