Humanity Is In The Existential Danger Zone, Study Confirms

The Earth's climate has always changed. All species eventually become extinct. But a new study has brought into sharp relief the fact that humans have, in the context of geological timescales, produced near instantaneous planetary-scale disruption. We are sowing the seeds of havoc on the Earth, it suggests, and the… » 1/18/15 11:30am 1/18/15 11:30am

It’s Survival Of The Most Useful When Protecting Species

Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect all species from global extinction? » 1/13/15 6:40am 1/13/15 6:40am

Ready to Move Animals Around the Planet for "Aggressive Conservation"?

This week a new paper revealed that humans have caused 322 animal extinctions over the past few centuries, and these numbers are alarming. But we can prevent more, using a tactic that some are calling "aggressive conservation." » 7/26/14 1:54pm 7/26/14 1:54pm

Humans Have Caused 322 Animal Extinctions in the Past 500 Years

Our species caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries, according to a paper published in a special issue of the journal Science this week. » 7/25/14 7:20am 7/25/14 7:20am

Two Ways of Dealing with the Apocalypse

There are so many ways the world could end, even in the next year, that it's impossible not to fantasize about some of them, some of the time. The question is, what do you do with these apocalyptic thoughts? It seems to me there are two basic choices. » 5/29/14 4:35pm 5/29/14 4:35pm

Did Microbes Cause The Earth's Most Devastating Mass Extinction?

A little over 250 million years ago, our planet experienced a mass extinction the likes of which have never been seen before or since. About 90% of all species were suddenly wiped out. And new study suggests it wasn't caused by an asteroid or super-volcano — but rather methane-spewing microbes. » 3/31/14 12:00pm 3/31/14 12:00pm

Bill Nye explains how to stop an asteroid

Bill Nye teamed up with Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE to address one of the most pressing not-if-but-when questions in recent memory: how do we stop a major asteroid from colliding with Earth? » 7/24/13 7:20am 7/24/13 7:20am

7 Signs We Are Heading for a Mass Extinction

Today, many scientists believe we are on the cusp of a sixth mass extinction which could wipe out most life on Earth as we know it. Here are seven signs that they could be right. » 5/20/13 10:03am 5/20/13 10:03am

Talk about the end of the world with Annalee Newitz and Seth Mnookin

Today from 12-1 PM PST, Annalee Newitz will be here talking about her new book, Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. She'll be in conversation with MIT science journalism professor Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus. And with you! Join us in a conversation about mass extinction,… » 5/14/13 11:58am 5/14/13 11:58am

How Human Evolution Prepared Us to Survive Future Disasters

We may be in the early stages of a disaster so profound that it could kick off a mass extinction. Does that mean humanity is doomed? No. Scientific evidence suggests that humans will survive. Find out why, in this excerpt from Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction. » 5/13/13 10:00am 5/13/13 10:00am

Why Humans Will Survive the Next World-Ending Catastrophe

There's growing evidence that Earth may be headed for a mass extinction, where over 75 percent of all species die out and the world is changed forever. There's also evidence that humans would survive such an event — for better or for worse. Here's why. » 5/01/13 4:11pm 5/01/13 4:11pm

How crocodile extinction led to dinosaur domination

A mass extinction that occurred over 200 million years ago killed off a slew of huge predators, including hefty beasts that looked like crocodiles and enormous armadillos, according to new research. » 3/27/13 3:40pm 3/27/13 3:40pm

Further evidence that volcanoes can destroy life on Earth

If you think asteroid strikes are scary, I've got some bad news for you. The most deadly events on Earth are caused by . . . Earth. New evidence suggests that underwater volcanoes may have wrecked our planet for thousands of years, and ultimately allowed dinosaurs to rule the world. » 3/21/13 2:31pm 3/21/13 2:31pm

Dinosaurs Went Extinct Almost Immediately After Mexican Asteroid Strike

Scientists using a new and highly precise dating technique have concluded that the late Cretaceous asteroid strike in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula coincided almost exactly with the extinction of the dinosaurs — give-or-take a few tens of thousands of years. While it's clear that other factors were contributing to the… » 2/08/13 8:00am 2/08/13 8:00am

Was Earth's most devastating mass extinction caused by a single microbe?

That's the intriguing new hypothesis put forward to explain the Permian mass extinction, which wiped out more than 90% of all Earth's species 251 million years ago. And we even know which microbe is responsible for this omnicidal annihilation. » 12/16/12 1:30pm 12/16/12 1:30pm

How New Zealand's megabirds survived climate change

About 11,000 years ago, the final Ice Age end and humans began to spread out to all corners of the globe. Shortly thereafter, the world's megafauna went extinct. So was it climate or humanity that killed the last megafauna? » 8/05/12 2:00pm 8/05/12 2:00pm

Were woolly mammoths and saber-tooth cats wiped out by a giant impact…

About 13,000 years ago, the megafauna of North America began to die out, and the world entered a brief cold period known as the Younger Dryas. » 3/06/12 2:14pm 3/06/12 2:14pm

What if all the cats in the world suddenly died?

What if all the cats on Earth vanished one day, beamed back to their home planet or taken up in the kitty rapture? We'd certainly miss their funny LOLCat antics and the way they sleep on our keyboards, but what greater disasters lie in store for a feline-free planet Earth? One scientist takes a look at the… » 2/11/12 2:00pm 2/11/12 2:00pm

Most fish evolved in freshwater

Science is always good for an awesomely counter-intuitive finding, and this one has to be the mother of them all. Despite the fact that life itself originally came from the sea, the same can't be said of the ocean's current occupants. » 2/07/12 5:04pm 2/07/12 5:04pm

The first land plants pretty much ruined the entire planet

The first, moss-like plants emerged on land about 470 million years ago. In just 25 million years, they stripped the planet of vital minerals, wrecked Earth's carbon cycle, started an ice age, and caused a mass extinction of marine life. » 2/01/12 12:52pm 2/01/12 12:52pm