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    Timelines – Mass extinction events

    Time PeriodEventDescription
    Late Ordovician1st Mass ExtinctionThis event occurred around 443 million years ago due to a severe ice age that resulted in sea level fall. Nearly 86% of species were extinct.
    Late Devonian2nd Mass ExtinctionBeginning around 372 million years ago, this was a prolonged event likely due to erratic climate change, which led to the death of about 75% of species.
    End Permian3rd Mass ExtinctionThis happened approximately 252 million years ago and is known as ‘The Great Dying’, as it wiped out about 96% of marine species due to a combination of volcanic eruptions and subsequent climate change.
    End Triassic4th Mass ExtinctionThis occurred about 201 million years ago and it is believed to have been caused by volcanic eruptions leading to severe global climate change, accounting for the extinction of up to 80% of all species.
    Late Cretaceous5th Mass ExtinctionThis event around 66 million years ago, famously known for the extinction of the dinosaurs, was believed to have been caused by an asteroid or meteor impact. Around 76% of all species became extinct.
    Current Period6th Mass ExtinctionAlso known as the Holocene or Anthropocene extinction, it is currently ongoing and began 10,000 years ago due to human activity. The rate of extinction is estimated to be 1000 times the natural background rate.