Skull of Dinogorgon in South Africa. Many such mammal-like species became extinct 252 million years ago. Photo by Jonathan Blair/National Geographic
Skull of Dinogorgon in South Africa. Many such mammal-like species became extinct 252 million years ago. Photo by Jonathan Blair/National Geographic

The Ultimate Cold Case

Around 252 million years ago, as many as 96 percent of all species on Earth became extinct. For my new “Matter” column in the New York Times, I write about the scientists who are trying to solve this great murder mystery, and what their work may tell us about how the planet may respond to our own disruptions. Check it out.