Mass extinction in oceans can be avoided by curbing fossil fuels
If not slowed, climate change over the next few centuries could lead to marine losses unlike anything Earth has seen in 252 million years, says a new study.
Near the end of the Permian Period, roughly 252 million years ago, a single supercontinent dominated the planet. The ocean around it was traversed by bony fish covered in armored plates and sea scorpions the size of modern humans. Segmented arthropods such as trilobites ruled the deep, along with all manner of brachiopods, which looked like clams but weren’t, and ammonoids, which resembled shelled nautiluses but were more like squids and octopuses.
Today those creatures are known from the fossil record: At the end of the Permian, 90 percent of all marine life was wiped out by the largest extinction event in Earth’s history. Scientists today suspect it was caused by massive releases of carbon dioxide, probably from volcanic activity in