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The Origins of Extinctions

Some say that we are in the midst of the 6th great extinction on Earth? Is this true?

Join us as we explore the nature of extinction, from biology, and the great past extinctions, to culture, language, technology and the future of both our species and the Earth's biosphere, and ask whether, and to what extent extinction required for progress, and what we can do to preserve existing biodiversity on our planet.

What Makes an Extinction?

How Did Past Extinctions Give Rise to Modern Humans?

What Causes an Extinction?

How Are Humans Affecting Extinctions Today?

How Does Life Recover from Extinction?

What Opportunities are Afforded by Extinctions?

What makes an extinction?

A Scale of Greatness and Causal Classification of Mass Extinctions: Implications for Mechanisms. A.M. Sengor et al., 2008

Mass Extinctions and the Structure and Function of Ecosystems. P. Hull and S. Darroch, 2013

What causes an extinction?

Acid Rain and Ozone Depletion from Pulsed Siberian Traps Magmatism. Black et al., 2013

The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary. Schulte et al., 2010

Correlated Terrestrial and Marine Evidence for Global Climate Changes Before Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary. Wilf et al., 2002

How Does Climate Change Cause Extinction? Cahill et al., 2012

Impacts of Climate Change on the Future of Biodiversity. Bellard et al., 2012

Letters. Archibald et al. Edited by Jennifer Sillis, 2010

Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic Greenhouse. Sun et al., 2015

Terrestrial Acidification During the End-Permian Biosphere Crisis? Sephton et al., 2015

U-Pb Geochronology of the Deccan Traps and Relation to the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction. Schoene et al., 2014

How does life recover from extinction?

Environmental Change Across a Terrestrial Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary Section in Eastern Montana, USA, Constrained by Carbonate Clumped Isotope Paleothermometry. Tobin et al., 2014

Extinction and Survival of Salamander and Salamander-like Amphibians Across the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary in Northeastern Montana, USA. G. Wilson and D. DeMar, 2014

Late Cretaceous Restructuring of Terrestrial Communities Facilitated the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction in North America. J. Mitchell et al., 2012

Mammals Across the K/Pg Boundary in Northeastern Montana, U.S.A.: dental morphology and body-size patterns reveal extinction selectivity and immigrant-fueled ecospace filling. G. Wilson, 2013

Mammalian Extinction, Survival, and Recovery Dynamics Across the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary in Northeastern Montana, USA. G. Wilson, 2014

Mammalian Response to Cenozoic Climatic Change. J. Blois and E. Hadly, 2009

Small Mammal Diversity Loss in Response to Late-Pleistocene Climatic Change. Blois et al., 2010

How did past extinctions give rise to modern humans?

Agents of Change: Modeling Biocultural Evolution in Upper Pleistocene Western Eurasia. M. Barton and J. Salvatore, 2012

Archaeology of Overshoot and Collapse. J. Tainter, 2006

An Evolutionary Anthropological Perspective on Modern Human Origins. C. Marean, 2015

The Formation of Lithic Assemblages. M. Barton and J. Salvatore, 2014

In Glacial Environments Beyond Glacial Terrains: Human Eco-Dynamics in Late Pleistocene Mediterranean Iberia. Barton et al., 2013

Heading North: an Africanist Perspective on the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans. C. Marean, 2007

Late Pleistocene Technology, Economic Behavior, and Land-Use Dynamics in Southern Italy. J. Salvatore and M. Barton, 2004

Late Quaternary Extinctions: State of the Debate. P. Koch and A. Barnosky, 2006

Modeling Human Ecodynamics and Biocultural Interactions in the Late Pleistocene of Western Eurasia. Barton et al., 2011

The Origins and Significance of Coastal Resource Use in Africa and Western Eurasia. C. Marean, 2014

How are humans affecting extinctions today?

Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate Conditions. N. Diffenbaugh and C. Field, 2013

Climate Disruption and Biodiversity. S. Pimm, 2009

Energy, Complexity, and Sustainability: A historicalPerspective. J. Tainter, 2011

Has the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived? A. Barnosky et al., 2011

What opportunities are afforded by extinctions?

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises. Committee on Understanding and Monitoring Abrupt Climate Change and its Impacts, 2013

Complexity, Problem-Solving, Sustainability and Resilience. J. Tainter and T. Taylor, 2014

Extinctions in Ancient and Modern Seas. P. Harnik et al., 2012

The Future of Species Under Climate Change: Resilience or Decline? C. Moritz and R. Agudo, 2013

Lessons from Earth’s Past. J. Kiehl, 2011

Marine Ecosystem Responses to Cenozoic Global Change. R. D. Norris et al., 2013

Social Complexity and Sustainability. J. Tainter, 2006

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