The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time


I went to a lecture this evening entitled the Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time. I thought it was going to be about publishing – but it wasn’t that awful. In this one only about 90% of the species on earth perished completely. Gone. It happened 250 million years ago.

The fascinating lecture was given by Professor Mike Benton a scientist from Bristol University in England (my alma mater). The catastrophic event is known as the Permo-Triassic Extinction and was vastly more destructive than the one a mere 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Permo-Triassic was caused by a prolonged and intense period of volcanic activity in the Siberian Trap that caused – wait for it – acid rain that killed all the vegetation, and global warming that killed pretty much everything in the oceans. So let that be a warning to us as we make our own acid rain and global warming.

For those of you who are casting about for something else to do, I also learned of a new possible career: Professor Benton told us of one “Roderick Murchison, who was by nature a catastrophist.” So there’s a field that may be worth looking into!

Anyway the good news is that Benton wasn’t talking about the Extinction of Time Magazine or the rest of the media.