Skip To Content
    Jan 12, 2015

    5 Of Earth's Most Catastrophic Life-Wiping Events

    The World Science Festival speculates: Is the sixth one happening right now?

    Earth has had it pretty rough. After all that elbowing following the Big Bang, she's had five massive extinction events in her lifetime.

    The World Science Festival compiled a simplified breakdown of what exactly happened — and what species took the biggest hits.

    Julie Rossman and Clare Smith Marash / World Science Festival / Via worldsciencefestival.com

    The X axis on the chart marks how long ago they happened, and the Y axis is how many species died, essentially. Spoiler alert: It's a lot.

    These don't even count the small-scale mass extinctions, and, as BBC Nature points out, a lot of animals that are endangered now will probably be on future lists.

    Volcanos and oxygen were the biggest instigators of these events. The most familiar is probably the fifth, which is an asteroid hitting Earth and being dinosaurs' ultimate demise.

    Here's the breakdown:

    Julie Rossman and Clare Smith Marash / World Science Festival / Via worldsciencefestival.com
    1. What do you think: Are we the sixth biggest mass extinction event?

    Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later
    Looks like we are having a problem on the server.
    What do you think: Are we the sixth biggest mass extinction event?
    1.  
      vote votes
      Yes, and it's terrible
    2.  
      vote votes
      I'm not sure
    3.  
      vote votes
      No, we're just living our lives

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form