Which Begs the Question…


If you want to save time by not reading the link, the short story is, researchers have concluded that mass extinctions occur every 27 million years or so. Which, begs the question:

How long ago was the last mass extinction?

The graph plots percent extinction occurrences versus time in millions of years before present time, starting 550 million years ago. Extinction occurrences increase and decrease in a cyclical manner. At the lowest points on the cycle, extinction occurrences were between 2% and 5% percent. Spikes in the number of extinctions occurred at the end of geological periods: end-Ordovician, 450 million years ago; end-Devonian, 374 million years ago; end-Permian, 252 million years ago; end-Triassic, 200 million years ago; and end-Cretaceous, 65 million years ago. During these spikes, extinction occurrences approximately ranged from 22% to 50%.

If you will study this chart for a moment, indeed it appears every 25 million years, roughly, there is a definate uptick in extinctions. We can also extrapolate (if we ignore the slight uptick approximately 12 MYA, read the chart from right to left, zero is where we are now) that we are overdue.

Right now, given the state of the world, and the U.S. specifically. I’m not so sure it would be a bad thing. Let’s just have a do over!

Y’all stay safe out there. Thank science the covid vaccine will soon be available. Just in time for our extinction event ๐Ÿ˜‰

Darwin’s Frog, Probably Extinct


Sad really. A fungal skin disease apparently did them in. A case of a disease being so successful it killed off its means of survival? This frog was named after its discoverer, and the father of modern biology, Charles Darwin.

This case isn’t yet set in stone but the outlook is dire, there is a northern species believed already gone and a southern species with a plummeting population. Between habitat loss and this disease, if this species isn’t already wiped out, in all likelihood it soon will be. It weighs upon my heart, to know that many species are doomed to go extinct in my childrens lifetimes. If the fossil record is any indication, this is the way of things. We live, we evolve, we die out. New species move in to take our place at the table. I get it, but I hate to see it happen in front of my eyes. Know that the elephant is nearing an extinction possibility. The rhino and the tiger already there. The polar bear could be next on the list, of many yet to be identified. We need to identify, and understand our role as an (invasive) species whose sole goal seems to be raping this planet for every resource that has a dollar sign attributed to it, and find other ways, of doing things that aren’t quite as destructive. After all, we could be the next species on the short list.