1961 - Present
The Sixth Extinction
There have been five times in the history of life on earth when over 50% of all living species have gone extinct over a relatively short period of time—evolutionarily speaking. The most recent was about 66 million years ago when a bolide collided with Earth in the Yucatan Peninsula and wiped out the dinosaurs and most other species.
Elizabeth Kolbert, in her book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, argues that we are probably in the midst of a sixth extinction now. If so, what does that mean for the future of Homo sapiens? What about other catastrophes such as a massive volcano or a nuclear holocaust? Do these simply wipe out today's humans—never to return again; or is this a possible pathway to our successor species?
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