Life vs Extinction

This article is a section of the "Why are we here?", an exercise of exploration that I'm also carrying on my blog. The study of the fight between Life vs Extinction was originally a part of the section "The spark of Life - 500 million years ago to 2 millions years ago" in the above article, but after a while I realised that this "Life vs Extinction" exploration was causing this Spark of Life chapter to be extremely huge, so I decided for the sake of simplicity to have it on a separate thread of reading.


Have a read and look at the different extinction events that Life has encounter on its path, and the creature that are no longer with us, 95% of all species that ever existed are gone. Science only recognise 5 mayor mass extinction, but I've added a few more which I think are relevant, mos to them found on this fantastic link: anything that changes the environment quickly inevitable lead to a mass extinction. This is an absolute roller-coaster of extinctions that I found very exhausting in compiling and documenting, they always kept on growing!


Extinction 1  - (3.8 Gya) Archean Eon and the Carbon Genesis

"Life as we know it" means carbon-base Life, our genesis formally known as Abiogenesis, but there might have been other genesis. In fact, nowadays Life exist in places where carbon-based organisms cannot survive, places full of methane and carbon dioxide, gases that were in our atmosphere in the Archeaon Eon. When cyanobacteria developed and start harvesting sunlight, polluting the atmosphere with Oxygen, many species of bacteria that could not take oxygen in were force to evolve or die. This probably was the biggest extinction of them all (and also the least recognised), when the Genesis-Photosynthesis bacteria from which we all descend killed all other entities that might have existed in our planet when it atmosphere was full of carbon dioxide. Who is not to say that the whole surface of the planet and its rivers, rich in iron and methane, were not covered in snottite and other similar bacteria?  Had they had the chance to evolve in something else, what would that something else be? There are still a few survivors of this primitive extinction, hidden in toxic caves, that might belong to other Genesis and don't need oxygen at all to make a living. This kind of bacteria, the survivors, are called extremophile and their existence challenge the idea that there was a unique Genesis or formation of Life. Life indeed needs water as a lubricant and as the main transportation of nutrients around the living body, and of course an external source of energy, but that's about it: no need to carbon or even oxygen for Life to exist


Extinction 2  - (2.4 Gya) Huronian Glaciation, Snowball Earth 1 - Grand Oxygenation Event (GOE) - First major Ice Age

The creation of photosynthesis is to blame for this glaciation. During the Photosynthesis process, bacteria absorb green house gases, CO2, thus cooling their environment. The bacteria, using primitive photosynthesis, were effectively removing green house gases like methane from the atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen, cooling the planet at first NOT because there was oxygen on it, but because they removed all of the greenhouse gases, reaching a minimum Cold-GFI index. To make things worse, the supercontinent Kenorland began to break up altering the weather and causing all these circumstances the Huronian Glaciation that was to last for 300 million years... that's longer that dinosaurs ever roamed the Earth. How many types of bacteria died during that glaciation? Sea levels dropped, all water became ice and therefore no rain. This event is know as the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) and it took million of years to develop, rusting planet Earth and creating in the process rich-iron rock that, an unimaginable amount of time after, will be used by an advanced civilization to power its Industrial Revolution. The Great Oxygenation Event was a a suicide for bacteria, who could not cope with the waste product (Oxygen) that they were pumping into the atmosphere. Out of CO2, the planet began a glaciation which then eventually stopped (but not to a halt) because there was not enough bacteria left to continue oxygenating the planet. Bacteria must have died by the trillions, because no more CO2 was removed from the oceans or from the atmosphere. Incidentally, around this time bacteria had evolved and adapted themselves to deal with the toxic Oxygen they themselves were generating. Eventually, a few volcanic eruptions might have been what was needed to slowly warm up the planet again, pumping CO2 and green houses into the atmosphere and ended this gigantic on and off glaciation; even a small amount of eruptions and CO2 would have done it, as there was literally no process in place to remove any CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, so the planet got warmer and Snowball Earth part 1 ended... though not for long.

More research is needed regarding this epoch of our planet. This heavy glaciation early in the history of our planet could also be due to the Faint Young Sun Paradox, and issue proposed by Carl Sagan and George Mullen by which, they argue, the Earth must have been frozen over early in its history because the Sun was 30% less brighter and therefore less heat arrived to Earth




Extinction 3  - (650 Mya) Stuart-Varangian Glaciation, Snowball Earth 2 - Second Ice Age

So the planet stay frozen for a few million years during Snowball 1, then warm up again and the bacteria began to spread again, depleting the atmosphere of greenhouse... again... and causing, you guess it: snowball Earth 2. This time there is plenty evidence of this event. There is BIG, BIG jump of time between snowball events of almost 2 billions years... the time it took bacteria to remove Co2 from the atmosphere and the volcanism of the planet to restore it back again. Erratic rocks found in Flinders Ranges (Australia) or Death Valley (USA) give evidence for the Snowball Earth 2, where the magnetic signature of the rocks shows they were in the tropics... so how can a glacier exist in the Ecuador? ?Well.... there you have the Kilimanjaro glacial. The "wreathing process" takes away C02 from the atmosphere and lock it away, furthermore, cyanobacteria generates O2 so they make things even worse, locking C02 into stromatolites. That created more ice (specially sea ice, that reflects 85% of the sunlight it hits it) , which in turn reflected even more sunlight away, thus starting a run away process that cools the Earth to a no return of freeze point that lasted for million of years

But, could this frozen event had been caused by an inclination of Earth orbit or something similar? Apparently, the Earth orbit goes in cycles of 100,000 years or so, where it goes to an extreme elliptic orbit that causes a deep freeze. We know that big eruptions trigger cooler period on Earth, because the ashes created a blanket that prevent heat from coming into the planet, okay? so how can big eruptions like the Siberian traps did not cause a snowball event? The key could be the amount of sulphur dioxide emitted by the eruption, the more this gas the worse: it interacts with water in the high atmosphere and reflect sunlight, plus it triggers acid rain, what a joy of lovely gas! No wonder it is related to the perfume of hell. Glacial Erratics, the rocks left after a glacier is melt, is a clear indication of Snowball events

The snowball event triggered the development of complex life (Larkey eruption in Iceland); 3 mya after snowball earth life had a massive explosion into multicellular organism, the key point to this evolution was the amount of oxygen; multicell organism create organs where designated cells to an specific function

Extinction 4  - (542 Mya) End-Ediacaran Extinction

The unconfirmed Massive Pre-Cambrian Impact Structure (MAPCIS), a 2000 km impact crater in central Australia, has been tentatively dated to this time period

Extinction 5  - (513-517 Mya) End-Botomian Extinction

Fossils indicated an extinction event between 513 to 509 Mya, with an estimate of decline in global diversity of 50% of marine species. The reason for this extinction are unknown, but again all points out to a high GFI index due to volcanic eruptions most likely in The Kalkarindji Large Igneous Province, Australia. The poisoned the sea and lead to a collapse of the phytoplankton, the base of the food change

Extinction 6  -  (502-497 Mya) Dresbachian Extinction

This is another mass extinction close to the End-Botomian extinction, and also poorly documented due to the lack of fossils so far in the history of Life on our planet 

Extinction 7  - (488 Mya) Cambrian-Ordovician Extinction

The reason for this extinction is not well understood by Science, but definitely it had something to do with the levels of O2 in the oceans, looks like their levels dropped. These are some of the species that were extinct during this event


Extinction 8  -  (450-450 Mya) 86% of species lost: (1) Ordovician-Silurian Extinction

At this time Life was restricted only to the oceans, and something happened to the oceans that increased their levels of metals and toxicity, maybe underground volcanos erupting? Fossils from that epoch shows deformities, as if affected by high level of heavy metals toxicity. Global cooling and sea level drop, possibly caused by a Gamma-ray burst





Extinction 9  - (428 Mya) Ireviken event

Deep-ocean anoxia; Milankovitch cycles? The event is best recorded at Ireviken, Gotland, where over 50% of trilobite species became extinct; 80% of the global conodont species also become extinct in this interval

Extinction 10  - (424 Mya) Mulde event

The Mulde event was an anoxic event,[3] and marked the second of three1 relatively minor mass extinctions (the Ireviken, Mulde, and Lau events) during the Silurian period. It coincided with a global drop in sea level, and is closely followed by an excursion[clarification needed] in geochemical isotopes.

Extinction 11  - (420 Mya) Lau event

The Lau event was the last of three relatively minor mass extinctions (the Ireviken, Mulde, and Lau events) during the Silurian period.[3] It had a major effect on the conodont fauna, but barely scathed the graptolites. It coincided with a global low point in sea level, is closely followed by an excursion in geochemical isotopes in the ensuing late Ludfordian faunal stage and a change in depositional regime

400 millions years ago, a day was just 21 hours

Extinction 12  - (375 Mya) 86% of species lost : (2) Late Devonian Extinction

Another great extinction in the seas, putting and end to the "Age of Fish",  and given the fact that plants were already colonising the land, animals began to move to land too. Something completely collapsed the food chain at seas during this extinction. Cause by the Villuy Traps?

Extinction 13  - (305 Mya) Carboniferous rainforest collapse

The Carboniferous rainforest collapse (CRC) was a minor extinction event that occurred around 305 million years ago in the Carboniferous period.[1] It altered the vast coal forests that covered the equatorial region of Euramerica (Europe and America). This event may have fragmented the forests into isolated 'islands', which in turn caused dwarfism and, shortly after, extinction of many plant and animal species. Following the event, coal-forming tropical forests continued in large areas of the Earth, but their extent and composition were changed.

Extinction 14  -  (270 Mya) Olson's Extinction

Olson's Extinction was a mass extinction that occurred 273 million years ago in the early Guadalupian of the Permian period and which predated the Permian–Triassic extinction event.[1] It is named after Everett C. Olson. There was a hiatus and a sudden change in between the early Permian and middle/late Permian faunas. Since then this event has been realized across many groups, including plants, marine invertebrates, and tetrapods.

Extinction 15 - (260 Mya) End-Capitanian extinction event

The Capitanian extinction event was an extinction event that occurred around 260 million years ago during a period of decreased species richness and increased extinction rates in the late Middle Permian during the Guadalupian epoch. It is also known as the end-Guadalupian extinction event because of its initial recognition between the Guadalupian and Lopingian series; however, more refined stratigraphic study suggests that extinction peaks in many taxonomic groups occurred within the Guadalupian, in the latter half of the Capitanian age.[2]

Extinction 16  - (252 - 250 Mya) 96% of species lost: (3) The Great Permian Extinction

The Earth was scorched during the Permian extension, and is by far the closest Life has been to stop existing on planet Earth. The causes could have been the Siberian Traps, the Wilkes Land Crater, another Anoxic event or an Ice Age



The "dead zone" is called the rock layers of the Permian extinction, where fossils are found, the extension happens over a periods of 100.000 years in what is called the Siberian traps. This eruption is called "flood basalts", where a sea of lava cover a huge area. 1783.. the flood basalts eruption in Lucky, southern Iceland, could this have triggered (the gasses) the Little Ice Age? Sulphuric acid rain, when volcanos gases (sulphur dioxide) mixed with water.The 2nd deadly gas that volcanos emit, Co2, though is good for plants , their leafs have holes that absorb Co2, and fossils in the Permian extension shows that the holes were smaller meaning there was tons of C02 in the atmosphere, thus raising the temperatures a lot in the planet.So the Siberian traps first cool and then heat up the planet; 50,000 years after the eruption of Siberia the ocean began to die, O2 was removed from the oceans as rocks show. The Green Lake is an example of how the ocean die, due to the hydrogen sulfire levels in the water., the pink water is an indicative of organism that need that gas to survice, where oxygen is none. The hydrogen sufire rises from the bottom up, deleting the ocean from bottom to top, how is that possible? This could be cause by stagnated water, water that stop circulating, culd the ocean current have been shutdown? If so, then the water will not get oxygenated. The 5 degree up on temperature rises shutdown the current and ocean's water stagnated, thus depleting the ocean, the oceans were warmer and stop circulating. The dictodon went extinct during this period.

Methane Hydrate, nothing more than Methane frozen into solid, can be found almost everywhere at the bottom of the ocean; at the end of the Permian extension, frozen methane was release as the oceans got hotter, thus making the atmosphere even hotter, creating a positive feedback cycle that heats the planet to dessert levels. Who are the 5% survivors of the Permian Extinction? The cynodonts survived lived underground eating roots and tubers (Sough Africa Carew Basin) ; we all descent , mammals, reptiles and all, from cynodonts ; one of the cynodots line became mammals

The supercontinent Pangea began to form around this time


Extinction 17  -  (234-230 Mya) The Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE)

Science doesn't know what caused, but they all agree that there was a time in the middle of the Triassic where it rain for....2 millions years! Heavy Rain all the times, every year for 2 million years. The ground was totally soaked in water.

Extinction 18  - (200 Mya) 80% of species lost: (4) End of Triassic Extinction

The Triassic–Jurassic (Tr-J) extinction event, sometimes called the end-Triassic extinction, marks the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic periods, 201.3 million years ago,[1] and is one of the major extinction events of the Phanerozoic eon, profoundly affecting life on land and in the oceans. In the seas, a whole class (conodonts)[2] and 23–34% of marine genera disappeared.[3][4] On land, all archosauromorphs other than crocodylomorphs, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs went extinct; some of the groups which died out were previously abundant, such as aetosaurs, phytosaurs, and rauisuchids. Some remaining therapsids and many of the large temnospondyl amphibians had gone extinct prior to the Jurassic as well. However, there is still much uncertainty regarding a connection between the Tr-J boundary and terrestrial vertebrates, due to a paucity of terrestrial fossils from the Rhaetian period of the Triassic.

Central Atlantic Magmatic Province

At the time of this extinction, the supercontinent Pange was well formed and was starting to break apart





Credit: Atlas Pro


Extinction 19  - (183 Mya) Toarcina turnover

The Toarcian turnover, alternatively the Toarcian extinction, the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction, or the Early Jurassic extinction, is the wave of extinctions that marked the end of the Pliensbachian age and the start of the Toarcian age of the Early Jurassic epoch, c. 183 million years ago. Probably caused by the Karoo-Ferrar?

Tepuis, in Venezuela, are unique, left overs of Gondwana the primordial continent



Extinction 20  - (145 Mya) End-Jurassic (Tithonian) extinction

The Jurassic (from the Jura Mountains) is a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya.[note 1] The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles. The start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, and the Tithonian event at the end;[4] neither event ranks among the "Big Five" mass extinctions, however

Extinction 21  - (117 Mya) Aptian Extinction

The Aptian extinction was an extinction event of the early Cretaceous Period. It is dated to c. 116 or 117 million years ago, in the middle of the Aptian stage of the geological time scale, and has sometimes been termed the mid-Aptian extinction event as a result. Could it had been caused by the Greater Ontong-Java Plateau? a Flood Basaltic Eruption

Extinction 22  - (94 Mya) Cenomanian-Turonian boundary event

The Caribbean large igneous province (CLIP) consists of a major flood basalt, which created this large igneous province (LIP). It is the source of the current large eastern Pacific oceanic plateau, of which the Caribbean-Colombian oceanic plateau is the tectonized remnant. The deeper levels of the plateau have been exposed on its margins at the North and South American plates. The volcanism took place between 139 and 69 million years ago, with the majority of activity appearing to lie between 95 and 88 Ma. The plateau volume has been estimated as on the order of 4 x 106 km³. It has been linked to the Galápagos hotspot.

Extinction 23 - (66 Mya) 76% of species lost: (5) End of Cretaceous and the Dinosaurs

 set the whole planet ablaze, 70% of species died out. 65 Mya. K-T is the Cretaceous-T boundary, below the layer there are dinosous fossils, above the layer... none. Zumaya beach close to San Sebantias, took example on the KT and discover... uridum, a metal found in metoride and steroid; zenotes occurs in weakness on the bedrock ; nothing within 1,000 miles of the impact crater stood a chance, all was incinerated instantly. Superheated 2,000 miles an hours incinerated all within 1,000 miles radio. 90m tsuide high smashed in the coast areas at hundred of miles an hour; first super-heated firewall, then the mega-tshunami. Forest espontanelys combusted, as the drbris heated the atpmospere on re-entry, setting the whle planet on fire just mintues after the impact. For about 6 month, the ash completely blocked the sun, you could not have seen your hand in the middle of thenight. Temperaturs then dropped dramatically. Again, sulfuic acide began to rain , and sufult diaxoxe. The ash that blcoked the sun for 2/6 motnhs eventually fall down and clear, but then you have sulfur diaxide that reflect the sun from the upper atmosphre, which extensed the cold for about 2 years. Temepratures dropped by 5 degreess. The sulfur dioaxide... fall as acid rain burning absolyutel yeveryuing. The food change totally collpase., The asteroid hitted the worse part of the planet, becuase there are hight elevation of sufltur diaxide ad c02 locked in the shallow oceans of the Guld of Mexico. For the next 100 years the C02 hitted the planet by 20 degrees and all remaining species.. ended. The survival were ommnimovre, lived undergraund, no need of eggs, they keep their babies inside given them further protection until they're born. Birds (laying egg on high places) cocodriles (laying egg underground) and mammal (small creatures living underground) were the ones who survived

For 200,000 years the planet was without ice and forest were in the polar caps!

caused by the NAIP? North Atlantic Igneous Province

archaeopteryx and pterodactyl

Extinction 25 - (33.9 Mya)  Eocene–Oligocene extinction event

The Eocene–Oligocene extinction event, the transition between the end of the Eocene (33.9 Ma) and the beginning of the Oligocene, is marked by large-scale extinction and floral and faunal turnover (although minor in comparison to the largest mass extinctions).[1] Most of the affected organisms were marine or aquatic in nature. They included the last of the ancient cetaceans, the Archaeoceti.

Columbia River Basalt Group - 17-6 Mya, is this one extinction 16??

Extinction 26  - (14.5 Mya) Middle Miocene disruption

The term Middle Miocene disruption, alternatively the Middle Miocene extinction or Middle Miocene extinction peak, refers to a wave of extinctions of terrestrial and aquatic life forms that occurred around the middle of the Miocene, roughly 14 million years ago, during the Langhian stage of the Miocene. This era of extinction is believed to have been caused by a relatively steady period of cooling that resulted in the growth of ice sheet volumes globally, and the reestablishment of the ice of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS).[1] Cooling that led to the Middle Miocene disruption is primarily attributed to orbitally paced changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation due to continental drift. These may have been amplified by CO2 being pulled out of the Earth's atmosphere by organic material before becoming caught in different locations like the Monterey Formation.[2] This period was preceded by the Miocene Climatic Optimum, a period of relative warmth from 18 to 14 Ma

Extinction 27 - (5.3 Mya) Kapitean-Optian Glacial Event

This glaciation caused the straight of Gibraltar to close, drying the old Thesas Sea, now the Mediterranean Sea. At the end of this glaciation, the strait of Gibraltar broke, and the Mediterranean sea, after being dried for a few thousand years, got flooded in the most dramatic way, with waters raising in the basin as much as 10 meters a day. Between just a few months and 3 years, the Mediterranean Sea was created in what is called the Zanclean Flood, how did that affected the climate around Europe? Was there any native species of creature adapted to live in the basin, that got wipe during the massive flood?


Extinction 28  - (2 Mya) Pliocene–Pleistocene boundary extinction

In 2002, Narciso Benítez et al. calculated that roughly 2 million years ago, around the end of the Pliocene epoch, a group of bright O and B stars called the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association passed within 130 light-years of Earth and that one or more supernova explosions gave rise to a feature known as the Local Bubble.[18] Such a close explosion could have damaged the Earth's ozone layer and caused the extinction of some ocean life (at its peak, a supernova of this size could have the same absolute magnitude as an entire galaxy of 200 billion stars).[19][20] Radioactive iron-60 isotopes that have been found in ancient seabed deposits further back this hypothesis; as there are no natural sources for this radioactive isotope on Earth, so it must be of supernova origin.[21] Furthermore, iron-60 residues point to a huge spike 2.6 million years ago, but an excess scattered over 10 million years can also be found, suggesting that there may have been multiple, relatively close supernovae.[22]

Extinction 29  - (640,000 years ago) Quaternary extinction event

Among the main causes hypothesized by paleontologists are overkill by the widespread appearance of humans and natural climate change.[2] A notable modern human presence first appeared during the Middle Pleistocene in Africa,[3] and started to establish continuous, permanent populations in Eurasia and Australasia from 120,000 BCE and 63,000 BCE respectively,[4][5] and the Americas from 22,000 BCE

Extinction 30 - (74,000 years go) - The Toba Eruption

Extinction 30 - (12,800 years go) The Younger Dyras event

Extinction of the Megafauna, the Clovis culture in North America and quite possibly advanced civilization in Egypt due to a number of meteors hitting planet Earth... not the first time ah?

Extinction 31  - (ongoing) Holocene Extinction

Caused by humans




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