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mass extinctions

Mass Extinctions
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Mass Extinctions

You exist, many scientists would say, because a comet or asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago. Killing off the dinosaurs, it allowed mammals to take their place. So mass extinctions aren't all bad. But they sure are dramatic.

Five times in Earth's history, something has wiped out more than 50% of the planet's living things. What caused these events? And could a new one be under way?

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Dino Run

Dino Run

In this game, you're a dinosaur and an asteroid has hit. Can you run, jump, and claw your way to survival? More...

Game
Pixeljam
Big 5 Mass Extinction Events

Big 5 Mass Extinction Events

Here are the Earth's 5 bygone mass extinction events, neatly summed up for you in 5 paragraphs. More...

Article
BBC
How to Survive Mass Extinction

How to Survive Mass Extinction

Horseshoe crabs have survived for at least 445 million years, that is, through 4 mass extinctions. What allows some species to come through these devastating events? More...

Article
The Guardian
Mass Extinction

Mass Extinction

The biggest mass extinction of all happened some 250 million years ago, before the dinosaurs, when about 90% of species perished. Could extreme global warming have been the cause? More...

Video
NOVA/PBS
What Killed the Dinosaurs?

What Killed the Dinosaurs?

Scientists don't know for sure what caused the "great dying" of dinosaurs at the boundary between the Cretaceous (K) and Tertiary (T) periods. Find out why it's so tough to crack the case. More...

Article
University of California Museum of Paleontology
100 Greatest Discoveries: K-T Boundary

100 Greatest Discoveries: K-T Boundary

Walter Alvarez was studying rock strata in mountains north of Rome when he discovered a thin, ancient layer of clay. Take a closer look at his historic discovery in 1980. More...

Profile
Science Channel
Mass Extinction: Expert Q&A

Mass Extinction: Expert Q&A

Are mass extinctions the main cause of species going extinct? After a mass extinction, how does the biosphere recover? A senior scientist addresses these and other questions. More...

Article
NOVA/PBS
Mass Extinction: What Causes Animal Die-Offs?

Mass Extinction: What Causes Animal Die-Offs?

Asteroids, comets, and volcanoes are prime suspects in the Earth's 5 mass extinctions. Now human activity may be proving just as destructive. More...

Article
National Geographic
Mass Extinctions: Interactive

Mass Extinctions: Interactive

You can think of a mass extinction as not only an end, but a beginning, setting the stage for new species. This site give you a snapshot of the Earth at about the time of each great die-off. More...

Interactive
Discovery
The Great Dying

The Great Dying

Notice that this site and the one from NOVA offer different explanations for the deadliest mass extinction of all. Which explanation seems more convincing to you? More...

Article
NASA
The Interactive Geological Time Scale

The Interactive Geological Time Scale

Looking to see where a particular era, period, sub-period, or epoch fits in the geological time scale? This interactive is for you. More...

Interactive
American Geosciences Institute
What Wiped Out the Dinosaurs?

What Wiped Out the Dinosaurs?

What makes most scientists think an asteroid or comet wiped out the dinosaurs? Answer: A huge crater and a thin dark line. The line, called the K-T boundary, is found in rocks around the world.
More...

Article
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