Now, we are likely at the brink of a sixth mass extinction. By 2070, the majority of coral reefs on Earth could vanish, killing 25 percent of all fish species in the process. Earth’s wildlife population has decreased by 50 percent in the last 40 years alone. With a drastically changing climate already taking its toll on our environment, we can expect to see many more changes like these in the near future. Salon spoke with evolutionary biologist and host of the documentary “Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink,” Sean B. Carroll to learn more about our (possibly) impending doom.
Earth has already witnessed five mass extinctions — devastating events that wipe out the majority of life on the planet. The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event (known as the K/T extinction, for short), was likely caused by an asteroid colliding with Earth, and caused the dinosaurs to disappear. A more recent extinction event, “The Great Dying,” was likely caused by a volcanic event.