A baby fossil helped scientists explain how mammals thrived after the dinosaur extinction

An artist’s impression of the Pantolambda bathmodon. Credit: H Sharpe, Author provided Sixty-two million years ago, a mother gave birth to a baby. Overcoming the shock of birth in a matter of minutes, the baby began to explore the world around it. The baby started to suckle from its mother, a natural instinct shared by … Read more

Biologists address global extinction crisis

ISME Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s43705-022-00126-3″ width=”800″ height=”434″/> Schematic of the disease transmission experimental setup. Six coral species (listed from most to least susceptible and represented by different colors) were cut in half, allowed to acclimate, and then placed in either a control or treatment tank. Half circles with matching color and number indicate being matching … Read more

The 6th mass extinction hasn’t begun yet, study claims, but Earth is barreling toward it

The present extinction rate of life on Earth doesn’t qualify as a mass extinction event yet — but current trends show that it eventually will, a new study finds. The number of species that are currently hurtling toward extinction has led many ecologists to argue that we are undergoing a sixth mass extinction (opens in … Read more

Thousands more species at risk of extinction than currently recorded, suggests new study

Amphibian species are particularly at risk. Credit: elementals / shutterstock New research suggests the extinction crisis may be even worse than we thought. More than half of species that have so far evaded any official conservation assessment are threatened with extinction, according to predictions by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Conservation … Read more

Introduced donkeys and indigenous pumas are helping to resurrect extinction food webs in Death Valley

Mojave Burros, Death Valley. ©Michael Alfuso. Credit: ©Michael Alfuso Around 12,000 years ago, a diversity of horses and their kin (known as equids) roamed North and South America. These animals were hunted by large, mythical-sounding, now-extinct predators, such as saber-toothed cats and dire wolves. In a geologic heartbeat, these animals went extinct, likely due to … Read more

Rampant wildfires once led to global mass extinction, scientists say. Can it happen again?

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain A long time ago, the carbon was rock, buried in the earth as securely as a secret. Then an environmental catastrophe of scale began. The burned rocks, and the atoms inside them disassembled into carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Temperatures rose and wildfire—always a natural part of the ecosystem—became more … Read more

Dinosaurs took over amid ice, not warmth, says a new study of ancient mass extinction

With a lava flow at the distance, a primitively feathered theropod dinosaur carries off an mammalian victim during a snowy volcanic winter caused by massive eruptions during the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction. A new study says dinosaurs survived because they were already adapted to freezing conditions at high latitudes. Credit: Painting by Larry Felder Many of us … Read more

Animals grew back faster and smarter after mass extinction

The diversification of the saurichthyiform fishes (“lizard fish”) in the Middle Triassic of South China (eastern paleo-Tethys), reflecting the establishment of a complexly tiered marine (or marine fish communities) with intensive predator-prey interactions along the food chains. Credit: Feixiang Wu Paleontologists in the UK and China have shown that the natural world bounced back vigorously … Read more

Research shows how the Gulf of Mexico escaped ancient mass extinction

The Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. According to researchers at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, river sediments and ocean currents helped simple sea life in the Gulf survive a deep-ocean mass extinction 56 million years ago. Credit: US Geological Survey An ancient bout of global warming 56 million years ago … Read more