The first major mass extinction occurred approximately 440 mya, and is known as the Ordovician–Silurian extinction event. This event was triggered by rapid cooling, and the corollary effect of the lower sea level from glaciers forming. Laurentian brachiopods were hit the hardest by this event as they lived in shallower sections of the ocean leaving them the most exposed by the event. As most life at this time existed in the shallow waters it is, easy to see why this was the second largest of the five major mass extinctions.
The second mass extinction occurred approximately 370 mya and is commonly referred to as the Late Devonian extinction. 70 million years later, we have more complex life, which has moved out of the ocean making use of the land. The Late Devonian extinction is not a single event but a myriad of smaller scale extinctions such as the Kellwasser event, and the Hangenberg event that are combined to create the entirety of the major extinction event.
The third mass extinction happened approximately 245 mya and is referred to as the Permian–Triassic extinction event. “More than half of the families of living things died out, and as many as 90 to 96 percent of the planet's marine species were lost. At the same time, p...
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...und 8.7 million. The number of species lost per year multiplied by 20 and then divided by the total number of species shows a total loss of approximately 7 percent of the world’s species. As climate change becomes more of an issue this should cause a rise in annual extinctions, which makes the sixth mass extinction to be an all too real scenario.
The next step is to look at the sixth mass extinction and see how it differs from the previous five. The five mass extinction events were natural occurrences in the environment that saw the more adaptive creatures survive during the interim where the earth balanced itself out. The sixth mass extinction is the first time where the loss of species, and the change in climate is due to a species. Hard to be mad at ants for making a mess of your house, when you are a member of the species responsible for a mass extinction.
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