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Bringing life to its knees

Watch: Bringing life to its knees - the third mass extinction event

The third mass extinction event was the one that brought life on Earth to its knees. It was the most severe extinction event, with over 90% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. From a world of abundance, it changed into an unpredictable environment hostile to life. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of life on Earth took significantly longer than after any other extinction event, over 8 million years.

Scientists have several theories of what triggered the End Permian event – one or more large meteor impact events combined with massive volcanic eruptions caused by the movement of continents, which would have clouded the atmosphere with dust, and released devastating climate-altering greenhouse gases.

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Extinctions: Past and Present

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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