"Scientists are predicting that we're on track for a sixth mass extinction."

#Science

Thu, Feb 13th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the Washington Post, Brad Plumer discusses The Sixth Extinction with its author, Elizabeth Kolbert. In a nutshell, "there have been five mass extinction events in Earth's history," with the worse one occurring 250 million years ago. That event killed off "96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species" and it took the earth "millions of years to recover." A parallel becomes evident with the present, except that this time "the cataclysm is us. [...] The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human."

The worst mass extinction of all time came about 250 million years ago [the Permian-Triassic extinction event]. There's a pretty good consensus there that this was caused by a huge volcanic event that went on for a long time and released a lot of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. That is pretty ominous considering that we are releasing a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere and people increasingly are drawing parallels between the two events.

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