Researcher Shanan Peters describes how the epic ebbs and flows of sea level have caused mass extinctions over a significant stretch of Earth history. Over the past 540 million years, there have been five well-documented mass extinctions, primarily of marine plants and animals, with as many as 75-95 percent of species lost. Until recently, scientists have tended to view mass extinctions events as isolated incidents. Peters' study provides a common link for these mass extinctions and also reveals something about which species survives and which don't across these boundaries.
Credit: Video: National Science Foundation / University of Wisconsin; Images: Fossil: National Science Foundation / Bobcaygeon formation fossil: University of Wisconsin
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