Based on fossil records, 250 million years ago over 90% of all species on Earth died out, effectively resetting evolution. (Image: Lunar and Planetary Institute)

When Everything On Earth Died

Article Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

by

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Hey, remember that one time when 90% of all life on Earth got wiped out?

I don’t either. But it’s a good thing it happened because otherwise none of us would be here to… not remember it. Still, the end-Permian Extinction — a.k.a. the Great Dying — was very much a real crisis for life on Earth 252 million years ago. It makes the K-T extinction event of the dinosaurs look like a rather nice day by comparison, and is literally the most catastrophic event known to have ever befallen Earthly life. Luckily for us (and pretty much all of the species that have arisen since) the situation eventually sorted itself out. But how long did that take?

An alien Earth: what our planet looked like during the time of the Permian Extinction. (Via The Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo, NASA, Ron Blakey and Colorado Plateau Geosystems, Inc., and The PaleoMap Project)

The Permian Extinction was a perfect storm of geological events that resulted in the disappearance of over 90% of life on Earth — both on land and in the oceans. (Or ocean, as I should say, since at that time the land mass of Earth had gathered into one enormous continent — called Pangaea — and thus there was one ocean, referred to as Panthalassa.) A combination of increased volcanism, global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification and anoxia, and the loss of shallow sea habitats (due to the single large continent) set up a series of extinctions that nearly wiped our planet’s biological slate clean.

Exactly why the event occurred and how Earth returned to a state in which live could once again thrive is still debated by scientists, but it’s now been estimated that the recovery process took about 10 million years.

(Read: Recovering From a Mass Extinction is Slow Going)

Research by Dr. Zhong-Qiang Chen from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, and Professor Michael Benton from the University of Bristol, UK, show that repeated setbacks in conditions on Earth continued for 5 to 6 million years after the initial wave of extinctions. It appears that every time life would begin to recover within an ecological niche, another wave of environmental calamities would break.

“Life seemed to be getting back to normal when another crisis hit and set it back again,” said Prof. Benton. “The carbon crises were repeated many times, and then finally conditions became normal again after five million years or so.”

“The causes of the killing – global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification – sound eerily familiar to us today. Perhaps we can learn something from these ancient events.”

– Michael Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol

It wasn’t until the severity of the crises abated that life could gradually begin reclaiming and rebuilding Earth’s ecosystems. New forms of life appeared, taking advantage of open niches to grab a foothold in a new world. It was then that many of the ecosystems we see today made their start, and opened the door for the rise of Earth’s most famous prehistoric critters: the dinosaurs.

“The event had re-set evolution,” said Benton. “However, the causes of the killing – global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification – sound eerily familiar to us today. Perhaps we can learn something from these ancient events.”

The team’s research was published in the May 27 issue of Nature Geoscience. Read more on the University of Bristol’s website here.

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Donald Kines
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Donald Kines
June 2, 2012 10:20 PM

I hate that sort of thinking. We shouldn’t learn anything from those events 252 million years ago it’s a totally different world. We now have the power of consciousness and intelligence. Besides, we don’t even know what caused the Permian extinction so how much could we possibly learn or change our current behavior without knowing the cause?

Gagarin Miljkovich
Guest
June 3, 2012 12:46 AM

“we don’t even know what caused the Permian extinction”

That is the reason that we now investigate it, to learn about ut. And in the end, doesn”t repeat it. To learn from history is to use the power of consciousness and intelligence.

ritwiksundar
Guest
ritwiksundar
June 3, 2012 7:36 AM

the sun’s orbit around milkyway galaxy takes ~225million years two come full one circle and this orbital period coincides with major extinctions in the history of earth ..somewhere in the orbital path of sun it has to go through a violent patch of the disk of MWG lasting several million years and all life on earth would nearly become extinct when sun finally cross over ..

since its been 225mil years since permian extinction we are heading towards some serious shit

magnus.nyborg
Guest
magnus.nyborg
June 3, 2012 12:08 PM

You could not be more incorrect.

The sun passes through the disk about every 60 million years, in its circa 200-250 million year orbit. Yep, it bobs up and down several times in one orbit.

Gore Gogore
Guest
Gore Gogore
June 4, 2012 1:07 PM

lol you`re all talking like it should exist something static in our Milky Way while we spin with our solar system…if there is something that makes our solar system going up and down, than everything else around us will move about the same way.The old accretion disk of the galaxy is not a perfect CD shape.

Olaf
Member
Olaf
June 4, 2012 3:53 PM

It is called gravity, and and the gravity field is more concentrated in the disc since there is more mass.

Controse
Guest
Controse
June 2, 2012 10:42 PM

Ah yes. Yet another propaganda piece to keep that lead balloon of impending ecological calamity airborne. You see if we don’t all acquiesce to the man made global warming party line we will wind up with a man made Permian Extinction. Maybe Professor Benton really wanted to be a politician all along.

JimmySD
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JimmySD
June 3, 2012 2:00 AM

Just go F the H off.

A very short 250 years ago:

–My California had so many Tule Elk crawling the landscape that the hills appeared to move.
–Steelhead trout swam up the Los Angeles River
–16 million salmon a year swam up the Columbia River

So I must ask you Cuntrose, how much destruction is enough?

I hate to break it to you, but when push comes to shove if food gets tight imbeciles like you are going to be the first ones to perish.

Hlafordlaes
Member
Hlafordlaes
June 3, 2012 2:24 AM

One thing hasn’t changed. You still catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

JimmySD
Guest
JimmySD
June 3, 2012 4:33 AM

That’s a crock!

The sane people who recognize that this is a serious problem based on science are not going to change their mind because of me. They know that global warming in a critical issue. They might not tell you how much you P them off because they are too nice.

I am not that nice.

I feel like I’m riding in the passenger seat of a car and an obliterated drunk (a global warming denier) is behind the wheel. No matter how much I say “pull the car over so I can get out” they keep firing back with “I can drive just fine”.

You are putting other peoples lives in danger.

We cannot tolerate it.

Peter Dv
Guest
June 3, 2012 7:42 AM

Man, your thinking is quite disturbing.

I cite Daniel Beck one of comment-ers here:

“… there is good reason why some people object to Global Warming and the alarmists that are pushing for a socialist/fascist regime to deal with it…”

Please, read his comments. You seem to fit people he describes so well.

JimmySD
Guest
JimmySD
June 3, 2012 9:17 AM

D’Peter Beater…

You freak-nuts argue with satellites, thermometers, ice-packs, and try to throw saddles on dinosaurs to defend your superstitious book.

Sounds like you are ripped and trying to drive the car

Peter Dv
Guest
June 3, 2012 11:17 AM

You are disturbed individual.
You need help and people around you a protection.

YamalDodgyData
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YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 8:16 AM

I just assumed JimmySD was trolling.

If he’s real, a psychiatrist would conclude from his potty mouth rants he’s suffering from a mixed schizotypal cassandra disorder. He even finishes off speaking in the plural !

Although it could also be the product of a Californian high school education, which will be sad for him when he grows up and needs to find employment.

JimmySD
Guest
JimmySD
June 3, 2012 9:40 AM

Wow!

You look like a sleazy scumbag.

I’m talking really freaking revolting disgusting gross.

Controse
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Controse
June 5, 2012 1:06 AM

Thank you for your measured response. Are you sure you didn’t mean Tole Elk? You made a similar mistake in spelling my name.

YamalDodgyData
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YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 1:11 PM
When someone paints a scary scenario for you, then asks you for money to ‘solve’ the problem (as the politicians and third rate academics have been doing for 20 years!) it should sound alarm bells for you. The problem is, once paid these shysters then have to come up with an even more compelling scare story for more money, and then more money and then more. That is why these scenarios have become more and more ridiculous and further and further away from any semblance of real science. Now they’ve jumped the shark, implying Armageddon of a permian extinction level is upon us But it’s fascinating from a human psychology perspective to watch the pack behavior below. Some… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 1:29 AM
It is rather unfortunate to see the initial responses to this article, which basically say this is some global warming propaganda. In looking at issues of AAAS Science and PNAS and so forth the science of climatology is becoming quite clear on the matter. We humans are unlocking carbons stores that have been buried over many tens of millions of years, with the consequence of adjusting the average temperature of the planet upwards. The Permian extinction was the grand extinction, the largest of the 5 major extinctions; the Ordovician, Devonian, Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous. There are some known signatures that accompany these. Some of them involve a rise in CO_2. The Miocene minor extinction some 34 million years… Read more »
jackeshan2
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jackeshan2
June 3, 2012 1:45 AM

Couldn’t have said it any better.. and great info as usual from your posts! -Jacob

Ernie Dunbar
Guest
June 3, 2012 5:03 AM
It’s not so much that our brains are wired to blind us to problems, as it is that we feel a desperate need to keep ourselves in the style to which we have become accustomed. The root problem is that convenience is killing us. And we will give up that convenience when something rips it from our cold, dead hands. That is what we threaten to do when we say “the coal power plants must be shut down” or “oil must no longer be used for transportation”. Or both. And so, the public will resist tooth and nail any efforts we make to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Nevermind the wealthy and the powerful who got that way by… Read more »
DrFlimmer
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DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 10:22 AM
I was with you up to the last paragraph. But that last one is where the problem lies: Noone expects you to go back to a 1850ies lifestyle. THAT would be, indeed, ridiculous. It is, in fact, possible to adjust our lifestyle with some “new” technologies, to get energy from other resources than just coal, gas and oil. The basic principles are there (so to speak), what we need is the will to do it! Why do you need a car that consumes 15ltrs/100km? There are already far more efficient engines available. And that is just one example. You are not supposed to go back to the 1850ies. Adjust your life just a little, and you already make… Read more »
Donald Kines
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Donald Kines
June 3, 2012 11:32 AM

The problem is even if completely eliminated fossil fuels immediately, which is not going to happen, we have already released too many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to stop significant global warming. If we are going to fix this problem we are going to have to transition to cleaner energy as fast as we can, but more importantly, we are going to have to develop someway to either remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or counteract the rise in temperature caused by them with something else. That is the only solution I see. This, of course, has nothing to do with the Permian Extinction.

weeasle
Member
weeasle
June 3, 2012 1:44 PM

The solution to your first point would be: http://thoriumpetition.com/ (plus lots of solar, windmills, hydroelectric and geothermal energy plants).

The solution to the second point you raise is actually simpler than you think: Greening the planet – Planting lots and lots of trees (vegetation can convert C02 to oxygen and along with the nitrogen cycle remove other toxins in the context of human living).

Unfortunately these two things may not happen as per LC’s cutting and insightful post shows, unfortunately we humans may not be smart enough to get moving as one species instead of in-fighting and holding on to outmoded ownership ideas…. hhhmmmm…

I can only hope the glass is half full..

Wezley

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 2:17 AM

I have signed the thorium petition. Nuclear power from thorium is a much saner approach than the U-P breeding cycle used today.

LC

weeasle
Member
weeasle
June 4, 2012 6:02 AM
Thank you Lawrence. And to others who are not sure what this Thorium Petition is, if 25,000 signatures are received the Obama Administration will review whether to possibly fund development of a Thorium Reactor. (The Chinese are currently funding a US$1Bn thorium research reactor). Quick summary features of thorium reactor (LFTR): * Walk-away safe – can NEVER meltdown * Can recycle dangerous nuclear waste all the way down to friendlier/ usable hospital and industrial grade isotopes. * can refine/provide rare earths to supply the stressed solar/alternative energy market demand * Can greatly help non-proliferation as the kind of uranium produced (u233) as an intermediate is useless for weapons production and since existing uranium/plutonium can be fed into throium… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
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Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 1:49 PM
When I took an undergraduate course in the early 1980s on nuclear physics I remember a rather brief section on thorium slow breeder reactors. I remember then thinking this was a far more sane way of working nuclear energy. I also found it unfortunate that the molten salt reactor program had been cancelled out. The LFTR is a way of working a closed breeder system without the instability issues with U-P cycle. I think with renewable energy we will need stabilizing centers of power generation. Solar and wind energy are fairly erratic due to weather conditions. I suspect we will need about 20 to 25% of our energy generation from stable sources. Unfortunately the Thorium petition is far… Read more »
weeasle
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weeasle
June 3, 2012 1:46 PM

And you are right these posts have little to do with the permian extinction but it’s kind of telling that so many intelligent people here saw the image of the bones crawling out onto that dry salt flat and thought of the actions of our human race currently and our lack of collective resolve to put aside differences and resolve an impending crisis.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 1:55 PM
As Dr Flimmer points out we can go a long way towards mitigating the problem without necessarily going back to “horse & carriage” technology. What this does mean is a different sort of economy. The rise of capitalism through the industrial revolution has brought us into a consumer capitialised economy. The more people consume the more money they spend, the more jobs there are in production and so forth. This is what is going to end, for there are only so many resources in the world and a limited entropy absorption capacity of the planet. In other words we can only pollute the planet so far without serious adverse consequences. The politics of global warming that is playing… Read more »
ClarkTommy63
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ClarkTommy63
June 3, 2012 7:26 PM

m y bu d dy’s sist er-in-la w ma de $ 1 81 08 a m onth ago. sh e worrks on th e inte rnet an d bou ght a $52 5400 co ndo. All sh e did w as g et ble ssed a nd p ut into act ion the in struct ions give n o n th is w ebsi te ===>> ?????? http://enternet-Job.blogspot.com

YamalDodgyData
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YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 2:07 AM

lcrowell:

Do you honestly believe Earth is on the cusp of another Permian extinction event ?

The definition of successful propaganda is making normal educated people believe in the inane and stupid to support a political movement.

Incidentally, Eugenics and Lysenko-ism, were the last quasi-scientific ideologies that successfully evolved into political ideologies.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 2:20 AM
I never tried to infer we were on the cusp of that large an extinction. I mentioned the Miocene minor extinction as case in point. We are clearly engineering an extinction event of some magnitude. We have already pushed a million species into extinction, and in the next 50 years we will push as many into extinction. So clearly we are having an impact on the future evolution of life on this planet. Whether this rises to the level of a mass extinction that kills off half of all large species can’t be determined. Eugenics was never a proper scientific discipline. It was based on Spencer’s race theory that was borrowed from Darwinian evolution, but there was never… Read more »
YamalDodgyData
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YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 3:28 AM

@LC:
True, everyone agrees that species extinction from habitat destruction is not particularly clever.

But I’m wondering if you’ve noticed any parallels between the political advocacy of eugenics in the early 20th century and the political advocacy of Global Warming this decade ?

here’s a clue from just six days ago:
…. Jenny Jones Green Party leader from SE England: “We want scientific research, but it isn’t sacred, outside the realm of political action.”
(Yes, that means no science unless it agrees with a political ideology)

Getting back on Topic:
That same politician also cites the Permian extinction event as a harbinger of the future for those opposing her political ideology.

M. Malenfant
Member
M. Malenfant
June 3, 2012 11:39 AM
Seems you are mixing up points. Global warming is just the consensus finding of a the majority of scientists active in the field as result of human impact on the earth. How far this will grow and how severe it’s consequences of course depends on further human behaviour – and that of course involves politics. There are (not too surprisingly) many calling for political action to mitigate this trend before it achieves permian dimensions. The politica ideology is more on the side of those, who insist that there i no impact on climate or of climate change and no need to take this into account for politics – to formulate it rather neutral. Seen from far, this seems… Read more »
YamalDodgyData
Guest
YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 12:29 PM

Mr Malenfant: And this…. -> “There are (not too surprisingly) many calling for political action to mitigate this trend before it achieves permian dimensions.”
….. is why green advocates like yourself are now perceived as balmy.

PS: Here’s a clue; I’m not a redneck gun slinging republican from Texas, I actually side with the ONLY politician in parliament who has a background in science.
“the politicisation of climatology is corrupting science”
-Graham Stringer (google him) he’s a socialist btw.

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2010/4/10/a-chat-with-graham-stringer.html

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 5:49 PM

Making the points that

a) AGW is accepted climate science (playing by Stringer’s assessment not to accept politicization, btw)

b) political mitigation can be made for adverse AGW effects to lower suffering and costs

is not “green” advocacy.

“Green” advocacy would be something like suggesting environmental party politics instead of discussing realpolitik.
——————
FWIW, YMMV on scientists:

Stringer is not a climate scientist, he studied chemistry.

I’m sure there are many more chemists that are crackpot on climate science than climate scientists, who within 1-2 % accept AGW theory, mainly because they don’t know the science.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 7:17 PM
There are plenty of non-climate scientists who are AGW skeptics, though in the minority. I offer a case in point. Lubos Motl was on the tenure track at Harvard U. which is about as high up the ladder as you can get. He is a particle/string theorist, and pretty top knowledgable on that. He was dismissed because of “irregularities,” and frankly I think because he has a toxic personality that caused him to not get along with people. I check his blog site because he cites some interesting papers on string theory, and he is a good gopher on that front. http://motls.blogspot.com He is also a serious AGW denier, along with being a far right winged politico. His… Read more »
YamalDodgyData
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YamalDodgyData
June 4, 2012 3:00 PM
99% of the worlds scientist are NOT sure about global warming. Saying such a thing just paints you as an AGW zealot without a brain. Thankfully, the scientific community in general is much more interested in getting all the data and building a picture as accurate as possible before drawing the conclusions that impose themselves from the analysis, rather than stupidly spouting a hastily-drawn one-sided conclusion taken from incomplete data. This is why such information is important, given that our understanding of meteorology is still very much in its infancy – but I understand that the masses (and the zealots) kind of miss that point since you need to be intelligent to understand that the world is a… Read more »
Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 1:28 PM

You are focusing on the political aspects of this, which has nothing to do with whether the science is sound or not. There are scientific results which have had political consequences, such as nuclear physics and the politics of the cold war and nuclear arms race. Whether one agreed with the nuclear cold warriors or was into “ban the bomb” that has no relevancy with the validity of the nuclear physics.

LC

DillardCarl92
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DillardCarl92
June 4, 2012 5:23 PM

m y be st frie nd’s sis ter-in-law g ot p aid $1 4696 the pr ior m onth. sh e is m aking m oney on the inte<!–trut h is almight–>rnet and b ought a $3 7250 0 home. Al l s he di d wa s ge t ble ssed a nd w ork u p the st eps unc overed on t his li nk ===>> ?????? http://workoverenternet.blogspot.com

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 6:53 PM

Spam alert. For some reason I have in recent days been getting a lot of these.

LC

Zoutsteen
Member
Zoutsteen
June 3, 2012 6:55 PM

You managed to include that humans are stupid … I agree.

Now for a solution and we’re talking evolution.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 2:35 AM

I was reading last year about how from the time of Cro-Magnon the Homo sapiens brain has decreased in size by 10%. This is compared to the shrinking in brain mass of other domesticated animals, where dogs have a 30% brain mass reduction from their wild relatives or wolves. The article makes the point that we humans are self-domesticated. One plausible consequence is that our brains are evolved towards a greater level of social compliance or obedience — just like a domesticated animal species.

If this is so it might mean that over time we are becoming more stupid, and not smarter.

LC

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
Member
IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
June 4, 2012 3:37 AM

Is this the article that you referred to?

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 1:37 PM

That article is not the one I remember. It was something like NewScientist or such. The gist of what I read was similar to this.

LC

Zoutsteen
Member
Zoutsteen
June 4, 2012 6:11 PM

It has more to do with micro structure and efficiency
Think radio tubes vs electronic circuits, where smaller doesn’t mean less.

As for mentioning domesticated animals in the negative (don’t we all love freedom) One can build bridges, the other still throws sticks and stones. You give a bit and get more in return. Even if its the crossing of a river, or a flight into space with a team of over 10.000 people. (SpaceX).

And the beauty of it is, even if what you do is marginal towards the big picture, what you do can still be the top of the best, even if all you can do is hammer away on nails.

girdyerloins
Guest
girdyerloins
June 3, 2012 11:32 PM

I’ve found a book that helped me understand somewhat our peculiar idiocy.
Entitled “Escape from Evil”, it is frightfully cogent in describing the calamities we subject ourselves to. In it, by the way, the author’s bibliography mentions another, equally cogent, book, entitled “A Canticle for Liebowitz” and that one is truly charming for being fiction.
Read ’em and weep. Or laugh……

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 4, 2012 2:30 AM
Steven Pinker wrote a book “Better Angels of Our Nature,” which does put a somewhat optimistic spin on this. He argues that the number of people who die violently in our age is as a percentage far lower than it was in the past. The issue does not seem to be really about evil. I think there are few really evil people in the world. For instance about 1% of people are thought to be sociopaths, where in that case you are talking about a condition that could be called evil. Maybe a few percent more of people have borderline personality disorders that make them potentially malicious. Yet I suspect that 90-95% of people are not what could… Read more »
HeadAroundU
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HeadAroundU
June 9, 2012 10:25 AM

Nice post except the conclusion. What’s the point in being negative? You undermine your beautiful analysis. You have to finish it with positive and constructive words…or have you lost the battle before it finished? You must fight till the end.

Hlafordlaes
Member
Hlafordlaes
June 3, 2012 2:21 AM

On the positive side, it might only take another 252 million years for Gaia to whip up a new batch of intelligent, if overly self-referential, sentient beings, if we botch things or get caught off-guard. I feel better already; life goes on.

edorfi
Guest
edorfi
June 3, 2012 4:05 AM

Ya all got it wrong, our future is in space, the wanderers that we are, why million even a thousand years from now earth and its encumbrances will definitely be a thing of the past

edorfi
Guest
edorfi
June 3, 2012 4:08 AM

Ya all got it wrong, our future is in space, the wanderers that we are, why million even a thousand years from now earth and its encumbrances will definitely be a thing of the past

YamalDodgyData
Guest
YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 1:50 AM

I’m a big fan of Universe Today and Fraser Cain,
but really you’ve allowed an interesting topic about the Permian extinction event to degenerate into a scaremongering diatribe.

Yes of course, 90% of all life on Earth will perish if we don’t start buying carbon offsets and heavily fund third rate academics at ex-polytechnics

Checkers Crossfox
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Checkers Crossfox
June 3, 2012 4:57 AM

Nice strawman argument there. High quality!

YamalDodgyData
Guest
YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 7:45 AM

Are you even aware of what a strawman arguement is ?

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
June 3, 2012 9:10 AM
Are you? http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman The only time in the article a reference is made to climate change is the quote “The event had re-set evolution,” said Benton. “However, the causes of the killing – global warming, acid rain, ocean acidification – sound eerily familiar to us today. Perhaps we can learn something from these ancient events.” All that was said was that the were things that happened in the end Permian that are observed to be happening now, and that there are lessons in that for us. The implication was that these things can lead to the loss of species, which for the most part is an undeniable fact anyway. You’ve taken their mild statement and characterized their position… Read more »
M. Malenfant
Member
M. Malenfant
June 3, 2012 11:50 AM

That’s the sad point, these guys like YamalDodgyData superimpose any science and facts with misguiding claims, irrelevant references etc. before even an argument has been made.
They seem to be so afraid of any insight, that they try to blurr each trace of fact or science which might not fit their view/interests.

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
June 4, 2012 11:22 AM

Yep – amazing how these armchair scientists run like little pussies when called on their BS.

aerandir
Member
June 3, 2012 3:33 PM

Classic textbook example of a strawman argument, just to reiterate

milo harkness-smith
Guest
milo harkness-smith
June 3, 2012 7:03 AM

The anti-global warming theory people seem real mad. Why are you all so angry? It’s just science.

Jlazor
Member
Jlazor
June 3, 2012 7:56 AM
I think one of the most important lessons we can learn from events such as the Permian mass extinction is that no matter how much the biosphere is damaged, Planet Earth will recover and life will evolve into new forms. The human legacy may be a sedimentary layer of plastic and a new biological era, composed of the descendents of the species we have propagated (dogs, cattle, corn, etc.) our genetically modified experiments, and the species that best survive us (crows). Humans will probably radiate into several new species rather than go extinct. Our civilization is part of the natural process of this planet. What appears to be a disaster from our limited perspective may be just as… Read more »
Joe Cazana
Guest
June 3, 2012 8:45 AM

Let’s hope so

aerandir
Member
June 3, 2012 3:38 PM

Well that’s assuming that we’re still mucking around on the planet by the time the next major extinction event begins, or maybe its already begun and we don’t know it cos the time scales are just so huge.

Anyway, chances are that we would have small offshoot of our species existing on other planetary bodies and in space say a 1000 years from now, so its all goood

Daniel Beck
Guest
Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 4:18 AM
I would chime in that I too found it interesting to see the political buzz words of “Global warming” implanted into both the quotes, and the rhetoric of this story. One thing that annoys the daylights out of me, is that proponents of Global Warming seem to refuse to see the fact that the concept of global warming/climate change/Al gores pants is a political kludge that is being used to enact some of the worst legislation and fascist changes in the public and private lives of people. My point is, regardless of whether climate change is real, or not, almost doesn’t matter, because it is being used opportunistically by incredibly wicked people to further their own agendas. Just… Read more »
Ernie Dunbar
Guest
June 3, 2012 5:20 AM
The funny thing is, that if you had actually watched “An Inconvenient Truth”, you would know that Al Gore (just as an example, because hey, you brought it up) had already come up with an idea for reducing carbon emissions to the point where they ceased to be dangerous. And no, it didn’t involve thugs kicking down your door if you used too much gas in your barbecue. In fact, it involved a bunch of simple strategies and technology that exists today. But that’s not what you wanted to hear, was it? No, you *wanted* to believe that he’s all about taking away your prized 1998 Chevy Tahoe at gunpoint. You want your enemies to be jack-booted thugs… Read more »
Daniel Beck
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Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 6:17 AM
Wow, you sure make a lot of assumptions about me, my background, my knowledge of the subject and my possessions. You also greatly overestimate your your own ability to argue against my point. You use a number of logical fallacies to attempt to discredit assertions that can be demonstrated by quotes and research, rather than find facts that support your position. My assertion is that Global Warming is being used as an excuse for many people to push for insane things… And people like YOU unwittingly gobble it up. Just because AL Gore came up with methods to reduce Carbon emissions before that were non violent (READ CARBON TAXES), doesn’t mean he is not a hypocrite. Nor does… Read more »
Nigel Humphries
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June 3, 2012 7:52 AM

I thought you were going to describe the “logical fallacies” of the previous poster and support your position with “quotes and research”. Instead, we get an analogy about rapists that a 9 year old would be ashamed of.

Nice work.

YamalDodgyData
Guest
YamalDodgyData
June 3, 2012 8:49 AM

Nigel he’s arguing with a teenager .. If he runs through the twenty common logical fallacies the kid has no chance of understanding it.
If you had teenage children you’d realise you need to keep the analogies simplistic.

But talking about logical fallacies, I’ve noticed that teenage green advocates only ever use the “Argument from authority” and the “Ad Hominen”.

It’s an indication that the education system has degenerated into learning from rote.
I doubt they’ve even heard the term scientific method these days.

Daniel Beck
Guest
Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 8:02 PM
To be fair, using logical Fallacies is a common part of common speech. It is more entertaining to listen to and take part in when both parties are friendly with one another. So people default to using them. I used quite a few in my initial argument as well, but I at least tried to stay away from the grossest examples of them. But you did completely understand my initial post, and why I responded the way I did. I posted qoutes, and or factual anecdotes regarding the issue I posed… And in response I was blasted with Ad Homs, and Argument from Authority (just like you said) but without any further substance. I find logical fallacies are… Read more »
Nigel Humphries
Guest
June 4, 2012 1:16 AM
No. Firstly, “If you had teenage children you’d realise…” is its own type of logical fallacy – you can find out which one at your leisure. Secondly, the “If you had teenage children…” is exactly the type of assumption based on no knowledge that the previous poster was objecting to initially. So I find it a little strange you would embrace it. Analogies should never be simplistic, you may want to keep them simple, however. Simplistic means “characterized by extreme and often misleading simplicity, naive”. You may want to give your children simple explanations of complex ideas, but never simplistic ones. Finally, if I call you a dick, that is not an “Ad Hom”, it’s just a simple… Read more »
SJStar
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SJStar
June 3, 2012 10:30 PM

Boo!

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 3:24 PM

What some people said or think is quite irrelevant. I don’t know if your quotes are true or not. But it doesn’t matter, they are irrelevant. And so is the political spin.

Science (which has nothing to do with believing, btw) says that Global Warming is happening and is caused by human activity. Every little evidence points in that direction. Even scientists that used to be “skeptics” are now convinced that this is the case, after they independently researched and analyzed the available data.

Personal opinions don’t matter. The science is settled.

Daniel Beck
Guest
Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 7:57 PM
“What some people said or think is quite irrelevant.” How can you say that what some people say is irrelevant, when the people who said these things are the ones steering the debate, and the planning for dealing with the problem? Opinion matters my friend, or you would not be even entering into this discussion, you would be happy in the knowledge that the establishment accepts Global Warming, and leave everyone else who disagrees alone. But you KNOW opinion matters… You know this very well… So why are you saying something so illogical as what I quoted above? “I don’t know if your quotes are true or not.” OK, right here you completely lose all credibility with arguing… Read more »
DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 8:56 PM
No, and if you read my other posts I already wrote in this thread, you would know that. What I advocate is first of all that everyone accepts that the evidence is overwhelmingly pointing in one direction, and that it is time to do something about Global Warming. Secondly, everyone needs to understand that there are changes to come. And interestingly, that changes come is independent of what we do. On what we do depends only which changes will come. If we decide to do something about GW we need to accept that it will change our lifestyle. Actually, so did telephones, televisions, computers and smartphones. Changing our lifestyle must not necessarily be bad (that’s only what some… Read more »
Daniel Beck
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Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 10:03 PM
But the problem is, not everyone in charge is really talking like you. See, if you said to me – Dan – we should all work toward living like Cody Lundin (he’s one of my heroes), make a home that uses very little energy and learn to live life more to the fullest and not to the excess… I would jump at the chance if it was supported by my economic means and so on. I have done so as best I can afford. I continue to do so, and always will. However, if you say to me – You and everyone else needs to pay an increased tax, submit to increased government regulation and inspection and pay… Read more »
Daniel Beck
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Daniel Beck
June 3, 2012 10:14 PM
PS when I say this: “IF people really want to win the Global warming issue… Forgo debating the issue of whether it is a problem or not…” I’m really just suggesting that people stop trying to argue the galvanizing issue that surrounds it when that energy is better spent finding common ground and creating solutions everyone can enact. Otherwise, if Global Warming is real, we will all either still be too busy arguing about it to fix it and perish/suffer OR The Ministry of Truth with take over (using the crisis to their advantage as those in power are prone to do) and while mankind might prevail, our freedom and happiness will be a thing of the past.… Read more »
Joe Cazana
Guest
June 3, 2012 8:21 AM

I think whenever someone posts a statement of factual history there shold be a link to support that statement, otherwise it is just he said she said and a big pissing match

Dick Fineman
Guest
June 3, 2012 9:02 AM

i fail to see how humanity as a whole can learn from an event 252 million years ago when it can barely take the last 150 years worth of causality into the accounting of its immediate future

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:54 PM

It is a few hard facts that we have learned under those last 150 years of history, among many other facts learned. We can concentrate long enough to account for important facts. (Say, as when making safety limits for dams.)

Astrofiend
Guest
Astrofiend
June 3, 2012 9:20 AM
Interesting that people read a 60 line article about a study that was published in Nature, and then accuse it of rampant political simpering because of a 2 line comment by one of the authors at the very end. Anyway – in regards to the actual article – interesting stuff. I think it’s a fascinating period in Earth’s history. I wonder how the quoted period of 10 million years would change if 99% of life was wiped out instead of 90%? Or if it was 80%? Or if the amount of life wiped out is relatively inconsequential, and the time taken ultimately depends on the other factors operating at the time, and life will spring up relatively quickly… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:52 PM

I touch some of that in my length first comment. Short version, your second scenario looks more reasonable and the current work is a part of what supports that.

Mich48
Member
Mich48
June 3, 2012 10:10 AM

Evolution is the extinction of life in the forms as they exist here and now. To say somthing is extinct is to deny evolution.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:50 PM

? The second sentence contradicts the first.

Evolution doesn’t imply anything on extinction of individuals or populations.

But population genetics use the observation that individuals die when doing calculations on populations, which they in most cases do.

Very few individuals are eternal, even bacteria has an upper limit on cell divisions for the part that accumulates damaged biochemicals. For the moment I think some flatworms and a cnidarian are suspected to get around that and be individually eternal.

Mich48
Member
Mich48
June 4, 2012 4:24 AM

Thanks Torbjörn Larsson. I agree that this is not a global warming article but somthing of historical scientific study.

If a paleantologist unearthed a dinasaur skeleton, he would correctly state that it is an extinct species. I won’t fault him for not knowing that it really tasted like a chicken. Evolution is change not extinction; Yet, change could be an end.

Mich48
Member
Mich48
June 4, 2012 7:52 AM

Also, if a few radical politicians do lead most of the planet into extinction. There will be some little lemur primate in Madigascar that survives in some hole in the ground. Mankind will once again rise up to achieve space travel. Albeit, with little poined noses and a few primary colors dabbled on their faces; the grin will be just the same!

Leszek O
Guest
Leszek O
June 3, 2012 1:10 PM

As a short lived human species most of us have a big problem imagining anything longer then our short lifespans. Within the last million years the Earth experienced many cataclysms which wiped out or seriously reduced the number of species. I could just give one example of such an event which was the explosion of the Toba super volcano 70000 years ago. That probably put into the atmosphere more greenhouse gases then we as humans did to this day.
One of the theories puts the Permian extinction due to the enormous volcanic event ongoing for millions of years almost continuously. Trying to compare it to human activity is laughable.

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 3:20 PM
Sure. If the Yellowstone, or a similar super volcano, explodes, we face much more trouble than what is ahead of us. But there is a huge difference between a super volcano (or other natural catastrophes) and Global Warming. We cannot prohibit the former, but we have serious responsibilities concerning the latter. We have no clue, when the next big natural catastrophe occurs. It can be tomorrow or in a Million years. Global Warming is happening right now, and we are responsible (that is a scientific fact, no need for political spin). Now go. Tell your children that you don’t care. Tell them, that we had the power to prevent the worst, but did nothing. Tell them, to wait… Read more »
Leszek O
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Leszek O
June 3, 2012 4:00 PM

I have brought the sample of the super volcano only to show the scale of catastrophic events and not that it is going to happen any time soon and that we must worry about it. Global Warming is a fact, but it is also an effect brought on by our particular type of civilization. If we want this civilization to grow then there is not much we can do about it and I believe not much will be done until we find some other source of energy or drastically reduce the population. Unfortunately, the GW is the cost that we must pay and our children will just have to deal with this problem.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:45 PM

This is incoherent. First you put up a thoroughly ignorant and laughable comment, see lcrowells points, that indicates you think there has been anything like the current GW when in fact it is unprecedented in rate. Then you say that it doesn’t matter whether or not it is avoidable.

There have been extensive work that shows this has been, and still is, avoidable for much less cost than doing nothing will get us.

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 6:15 PM

Well, I disagree. I think, the resources, the research, and the know-how to change the world are already there.
What we seriously lack is the will to do it. Some because of profit, others because of laziness.
The “civilization” can still grow – it will just look a little bit different.

Leszek O
Guest
Leszek O
June 3, 2012 6:44 PM

What we seriously lack is not the will but the money. To move away from the relatively cheap fossil energy will require a major effort and a lot of money. The “West” damaged the climate and got rich in the process. Now it forces everyone to reduce the fossil fuels because of the GW. How about accepting 10% additional tax rate to build for free the ecological power plants for the poorer countries. That would solve some of the problem.

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 3, 2012 9:00 PM

I could actually agree on something like that. But tell that to the “average” American (sorry! I am from Europe).

20 years ago the car industry resisted to install airbags in cars. In the end, they were forced politically to do it. Such a political way is needed NOW to do something about GW. Too bad that this will is lacking.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 4:15 PM
Volcanoes produce comparatively little CO_2. Most of the material that comes out of a volcano is particulate, generating pyroclastic plumes and flows. It takes a huge amount of volcanism to raise global CO_2 levels. This has occurred in the past, such as the Deccan flat supervolcanism period. The Toba supervolcano, situated in or near Sumatra, did influence the climate, but not because of CO_2 increases. It appears to have blanketed the Earth’s atmosphere in ash layers that lead to a dimming of solar radiation. Volcanoes result in cooling, not heating. The die-off of plant life resulted in a desertification of Africa and is thought by some to have been pressure that lead to our species radiating out of… Read more »
Leszek O
Guest
Leszek O
June 3, 2012 6:17 PM

Normal volcano eruptions produce each year about 100 times less CO2 then humans are producing at the moment – true. However, super volcano eruption produce super amounts of CO2. Initially the SO2, dust and ash released cause the cooling but after a few years once particulates and acid rain fall down the released CO2 causes global warming. This probably is in fact a blessing after the long winter.
Nevertheless, the point I am trying to make is that the natural disasters can have a much more profound effect on the climate in comparison to human activity.

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 6:56 PM

I have to in part punt on this. I am not sure how much CO_2 would be released by a Yellowstone scale supervolcano. I will say that this is a transient event. While it might produce in a year as much CO_2 as we produce in a year, I doubt it would rise to the level of being equivalent to our entire CO_2 output over the last 200 years.

Issues of volcanoes and the like fall pretty far outside my domain of experience. The question would have to be researched properly.

LC

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
June 3, 2012 6:56 PM

I have to in part punt on this. I am not sure how much CO_2 would be released by a Yellowstone scale supervolcano. I will say that this is a transient event. While it might produce in a year as much CO_2 as we produce in a year, I doubt it would rise to the level of being equivalent to our entire CO_2 output over the last 200 years.

Issues of volcanoes and the like fall pretty far outside my domain of experience. The question would have to be researched properly.

LC

Dick Fineman
Guest
June 3, 2012 3:21 PM

wow, is this really universe today? its getting all youtube up in here, this comment section needs a Great Dying.

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:23 PM
This confirms what other studies has suggested, the Permian extinction is different. – It is the only extinction that has wiped out over 80 % of species in either sea or on land. – Its ~ 10 million years of recovery (defined as the same diversity of species) is an order of magnitude larger than the ~ 1 million years or less suggested for other extinctions. – It is the only extinction that has managed to hit insects. One major proposal for why it was so extensive is that it happened as the most recent supercontinent Pangea formed. Earlier supercontinents were too early to leave an impression in the fossil record, the next oldest was Rodinia ~ 1.1… Read more »
Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:40 PM

[Duplicate removed.]

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
June 3, 2012 4:41 PM

[Sigh.]

outcast
Member
outcast
June 3, 2012 7:30 PM
While certainly global warming is real the worst thing we can do is overreact and start doomsaying. But the real issue we face is that current environmentalism doesnt really offer much in the way of realistic solutions. If I may I would like to quote from the recent World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2012: “WWF’s One Planet perspective explicitly proposes to manage, govern and share natural capital within the Earth’s ecological boundaries. In addition to safeguarding and restoring this natural capital, WWF seeks better choices along the entire system of production and consumption, supported by redirected financial flows and more equitable resource governance. All of this, and more, is required to decouple human development from unsustainable consumption… Read more »
Denver
Member
Denver
June 3, 2012 8:00 PM

This people are reds, painted green.

It is that simple.

Michael Tomaszewicz
Guest
June 4, 2012 12:36 AM

Wow; ‘anti-Malthusian’.Presumably, ‘Shootist’ is a Freudian slip for ‘I vote Republican, like to drive a big car and enjoy shooting dead wild animals for ‘sport’ (and stuff the environment’). D*ckhead.

Super Earth
Member
Super Earth
June 4, 2012 5:45 PM
McCartystism ( seeing “reds” everywhere. ) is outraging and pathetic. Malthus was not a marxist. Marxism was then (mid-1800s) just beginning. Malthus just noted the obvious: the resources are finite, and if demand is not contained, there will be a massive famine and struggle to survive. And Darwin understood that very good. Darwin realized that such a process is what happen all the time in nature, driving evolution by selective dying (aka natural selection). Now we have become something that has enlarged that natural instinct to grow at the expense of the others too much. We are now a too big influence on earth to behave as energy-hungry bacteria in a petri dish (that grow exponentially until they… Read more »
Super Earth
Member
Super Earth
June 4, 2012 4:55 PM

“All economies that grow will increase their energy demand, it’s a fact of life. While efficiency improvements will slow down the rate of increase, it will still increase”

Then you admit implicitly that our current economic system is wrong, because it assumes infinite economy growth, a thing that is inconsistent with the laws of physics. To pretend growing eternally is madness, because resources are finite. That should be obvious to any thinking person.

outcast
Member
outcast
June 4, 2012 11:51 PM
And eventually the sun will explode. Of course nothing is infinite or forever (except for me of course), but these kinds of doomsayers have been pronouncing that we would be imminently out of a whole slew of stuff and that hundreds of millions (or billions depending on when it was told) would die from the “inevitable” starvation for a real long time. Just look at the Club of Rome predictions from the 70’s, so perhaps resources arent quite a limited as we think? But even so, why choose to limit ourselves to this one, small, insiginificant planet? In just this star system there’s 7 other planets, several dwarf planets, dozens of moons, and likely hundreds of metal rich… Read more »
Super Earth
Member
Super Earth
June 5, 2012 2:25 AM
Resources like solar energy? There is a great abundance of renewable energy. It is fossil energy that is scarce. Any economy dependent on it will collapse when the fossil fuel resources are depleted. For the human civilization, there are at most 100-200 year of coal resources (for oil and gas there are just decades) before they run out (assuming constant demand and rate of exploitation equal to the present one, a conservative assumption that quite overestimate the time left). But is not resource depletion the main concern. The main concern is pollution. Because burning fossil fuels at the velocity we do is changing the composition of our atmosphere. Now we are at a concentration of CO2 of 390… Read more »
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