back to top

5 Of Earth's Most Catastrophic Life-Wiping Events

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

Posted on

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.

  1. What do you think: Are we the sixth biggest mass extinction event?

    Yes, and it's terrible
    I'm not sure
    No, we're just living our lives

5 Of Earth's Most Catastrophic Life-Wiping Events

Take quizzes and chill with the BuzzFeed app.
Get the app
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

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss