Making the case for a sixth major mass extinction–the end-Guadalupian event

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Image: Earth Archives

Life on Earth has diversified into countless forms over the course of billions of years, but it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. At least five major mass extinctions have occurred within the past 450 million years, each of which wiped out at least two-thirds of all species on the planet and left permanent marks in the geological and fossil records.

Now, a team of scientists propose adding a sixth major mass extinction: The end-Guadalupian event, also known as the end-Capitanian event, which occurred 260 million years ago.

This mass die-off is “in the same category with the other major mass extinctions,” according to a new paper in the journal Historical Biology that outlined the findings of several studies into the end-Guadalupian, and countered recent research that downplays the severity of the event.

Related article:  Bizarre deep sea microbe could help explain origins of 'animals, plants, fungi and humans'

At least half of marine life on the planet perished during the period, according to the researchers.

[Researcher Michael] Rampino and co-author Shu-zhong Shen, an Earth scientist at Nanjing University, built on several studies linking the end-Guadalupian event to major volcanic activity that persisted for more than a million years.

Read full, original post: There’s a Weird Mass Extinction Everyone Forgets, Scientists Say

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