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.
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