The extinction at the end of the Permian period 252 million years ago was one of the darkest chapters in the history of life. Up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial life forms vanished in a geologic blink.
For nearly 40 years, paleontologists have argued over what really killed the dinosaurs. Was it an massive asteroid impact, or a spate of volcanic eruptions? Or what if a powerful impact ignited volcanoes, walloping Earth’s biosphere with a deadly 1-2 punch?
The Earth's climate has always changed. All species eventually become extinct. But a new study has brought into sharp relief the fact that humans have, in the context of geological timescales, produced near instantaneous planetary-scale disruption. We are sowing the seeds of havoc on the Earth, it suggests, and the…
This week a new paper revealed that humans have caused 322 animal extinctions over the past few centuries, and these numbers are alarming. But we can prevent more, using a tactic that some are calling "aggressive conservation."
Our species caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries, according to a paper published in a special issue of the journal Science this week.
There are so many ways the world could end, even in the next year, that it's impossible not to fantasize about some of them, some of the time. The question is, what do you do with these apocalyptic thoughts? It seems to me there are two basic choices.
A little over 250 million years ago, our planet experienced a mass extinction the likes of which have never been seen before or since. About 90% of all species were suddenly wiped out. And new study suggests it wasn't caused by an asteroid or super-volcano — but rather methane-spewing microbes.
Bill Nye teamed up with Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE to address one of the most pressing not-if-but-when questions in recent memory: how do we stop a major asteroid from colliding with Earth?
Today, many scientists believe we are on the cusp of a sixth mass extinction which could wipe out most life on Earth as we know it. Here are seven signs that they could be right.
Today from 12-1 PM PST, Annalee Newitz will be here talking about her new book, Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. She'll be in conversation with MIT science journalism professor Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus. And with you! Join us in a conversation about mass extinction,…
We may be in the early stages of a disaster so profound that it could kick off a mass extinction. Does that mean humanity is doomed? No. Scientific evidence suggests that humans will survive. Find out why, in this excerpt from Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction.
A mass extinction that occurred over 200 million years ago killed off a slew of huge predators, including hefty beasts that looked like crocodiles and enormous armadillos, according to new research.
If you think asteroid strikes are scary, I've got some bad news for you. The most deadly events on Earth are caused by . . . Earth. New evidence suggests that underwater volcanoes may have wrecked our planet for thousands of years, and ultimately allowed dinosaurs to rule the world.
Scientists using a new and highly precise dating technique have concluded that the late Cretaceous asteroid strike in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula coincided almost exactly with the extinction of the dinosaurs — give-or-take a few tens of thousands of years. While it's clear that other factors were contributing to the…
That's the intriguing new hypothesis put forward to explain the Permian mass extinction, which wiped out more than 90% of all Earth's species 251 million years ago. And we even know which microbe is responsible for this omnicidal annihilation.
About 11,000 years ago, the final Ice Age end and humans began to spread out to all corners of the globe. Shortly thereafter, the world's megafauna went extinct. So was it climate or humanity that killed the last megafauna?
About 13,000 years ago, the megafauna of North America began to die out, and the world entered a brief cold period known as the Younger Dryas.
What if all the cats on Earth vanished one day, beamed back to their home planet or taken up in the kitty rapture? We'd certainly miss their funny LOLCat antics and the way they sleep on our keyboards, but what greater disasters lie in store for a feline-free planet Earth? One scientist takes a look at the…