Earth’s greatest extinctions and the future of life
09/01/2018, 18:30 - 19:30
Speaker: David Bond, University of Hull
There is growing concern that Earth is entering a new phase of mass extinction. However, this isn’t first (and it won’t be the worst!) time that life on Earth has been threatened with a crashing halt. Earth has been struck by at least five great mass extinctions in the past – and each one provides clues and context to what is happening today. The dinosaurs died in the most famous mass extinction of all time, but there have been several other crises that might provide crucial clues about Earth’s future. So, what causes mass extinctions and how does life bounce back? This talk will look at two of the greatest crises in Earth history, the Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous-Paleogene events and examine the roles of meteorite impact versus giant volcanism in each, as well as some of the less well understood constraints on the response of life to stress. We will look at the similarities and differences between “then” and “now” in order to stimulate some discussion on the pending “Anthropocene” crisis.
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