Is it true? Although it is highly debated, our current understanding of science shows that we are facing the next mass extinction event of the Earth. Many palaeontologists agree that the dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. This mass extinction event called the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) Extinction wiped out more than 50% of all species on the planet.
The KT Extinction was caused by a giant asteroid of diameter greater than 10km that hit the Yuccatan Peninsula of Mexico 65 million years ago, leaving the Chicxulub Impact Crator of more than 180 km in diameter! Initially, this impact vaporized everything close to its vicinity instantaneously, and created an enormous tsunami. A dense cloud formed of debris from the impact created a series of long term effects. One of which was a global acidic rain phenomenon killing many plants on the surface of the land and causing over 80% of the marine species.
The KT Extinction was the last mass extinction the Earth has had, but there had been four others beforehand: Late Ordovician, Late Denovian, Late Permian, and Late Triassic. It has been suggested that we are heading towards the 6th mass extinction with our current rate of species going extinct (for example, the Dodo bird, and the Marsupial wolf). Extinction of different types of species on our planet suggest that a smaller variance of creatures will have the ability to survive the next type of mass extinction event whether it be a flood, giant meteor or global climate change.
In 1984, D. Raup and J. J. Sepkoski analyzed the number of asteroid extinctions during the history of Earth and concluded that there was a mass extinction event every 25 million years. This landmark paper has been cited in over 400 scholarly sources and has led the start of many theories of possible mass extinction scenarios.
So if Raup and Sepkoski’s prediction is true, and our human race faces the next mass extinction event, will we be able to survive?