The earth is a beautiful planet of life, born 4.6 billion years ago, about 3.8 billion years ago, the earth’s ecology gradually improved, with the conditions for the birth of life. So early simple life was born in the ocean.
After the birth of simple life, after billions of years of evolution, it gradually formed a rich and colorful biological world of the earth. At this time, there are more than millions of species on the earth. When life thought that it could continue to evolve safely and stably, the five mass extinctions made countless lives silly.
Each of the five mass extinctions has made more than 80% of the species extinct. This kind of extinction does not only make some species disappear, but also makes each species extinct. This is a terrible force of nature. 2.4 billion years ago, the simple life on the early Earth met with a terrible natural disaster because it wanted to achieve longevity and didn’t obey the laws of nature, which almost wiped out the whole life on the earth.
The last one that survived can only give up immortality and begin to advance towards the evolutionary route set by nature, so there is a rich and colorful species world. However, when the life of the earth is enriched, five more terrible mass extinctions are coming. In each mass extinction disaster, no matter how simple or advanced life you are in the ecosystem, you can’t escape the disaster in the end.
Is there a regular and periodic pattern of mass extinction? Through the statistics of five mass extinctions, scientists have discovered some rules. First, let’s take a general look at the five mass extinctions in the history of life.
The first occurred at the end of the Ordovician, 440 million years ago. The event led to the extinction of about 85% of the species. The main reason for this mass extinction was the cold climate and the decline of sea level at that time. According to the research of scientists, there was a large-scale ice age at the end of Ordovician, which distributed in Africa, especially in North Africa, Argentina and Bolivia in South America, and Spain and southern France in Europe.
The second occurred in the late Devonian period 365 million years ago. Marine life has been hit hard. The third mass extinction occurred at the end of Permian 250 million years ago, which gave dinosaurs the opportunity to develop and reproduce. The fourth mass extinction occurred in the Late Triassic, 200 million years ago, and a large number of reptiles suffered heavy losses. The last mass extinction was the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
From the time of the above five mass extinctions, we can see that the time interval of the five events is about 50-110 million years. According to this time rule, 65 million years have passed since the extinction of dinosaurs. Does it mean that the earth is about to usher in the sixth mass extinction? It is also difficult for scientists to give an accurate answer to this question.
So why do the five mass extinctions exist regularly? Why does the earth’s ecology change dramatically every so many years? We should know that the last of the five mass extinctions was caused by an asteroid impact, and the other four were basically caused by the earth’s own ecology. Why did this happen?
In this regard, there are two hypotheses in the scientific community. The first hypothesis holds that there may be a companion in the sun, which will return to perihelion every 26 million years, disturbing the solar system at this time, resulting in a large number of extraterrestrial visitors entering the solar system, thus greatly increasing the probability of the earth being hit by an asteroid.
The second hypothesis is that when the solar system moves around the Milky way, it will pass through different cosmic environments. As we all know, the solar system is not stationary. It is also moving periodically around the center of the silver. It goes around the center of the silver every 250 million years. And the environment of the galaxy can’t be the same everywhere, for example, some places are very cold, some places will be better.
On the orbit of the solar system, the environment may be different. When it rotates to a certain position, the environment here may have a greater impact on the solar system, which will bring drastic changes to the earth’s ecology, and then the mass extinction occurs.
Whether the above two hypotheses are related to the occurrence of mass extinctions on the earth, there is no answer now. After all, human beings have just begun to walk out of the earth, and they know little about the universe. If human beings are already an interstellar civilization, they can explore around the orbit of the solar system, and maybe find some clues.
In any case, there have been five consecutive mass extinctions on the earth in the past 500 million years or so. This is not a normal ecological law in any way. There may be deeper reasons behind it. If the occurrence of mass extinction is regular and periodic, then the sixth mass extinction of the earth is likely to occur in the future.
In fact, in 2015, American scientists published relevant research papers in the journal progress of science. The content of the paper generally refers to that the earth’s organisms may have to face the sixth mass extinction event. According to the current disappearance rate of the earth’s species, it is inferred that the sixth mass extinction event may be happening. This research paper caused an uproar at that time But it did not attract enough attention.
The reason why scientists say that the earth may have entered the sixth mass extinction is mainly through the rapid deterioration of the earth’s ecology and the extinction of species every year. Some people may say that the mass extinction is a sensational disaster. How can we not feel the arrival of the mass extinction now?
In fact, many people have some misunderstandings about the process of mass extinction. Most people think that once a mass extinction occurs, it will be an earth shaking and rapid extinction disaster. A large number of organisms will be extinct in a short time, but in fact, mass extinction is a relatively soft and long-lasting process.
At the beginning of mass extinction, with the increase of natural disasters and the deterioration of ecological environment, some species began to disappear. Only in the middle and later stages of mass extinction can serious ecological upheavals occur, and the speed of extinction will accelerate at this time. The duration of the whole mass extinction may reach more than one million years, or even tens of millions of years.
Therefore, it is not to say that once the earth enters a new round of mass extinction, it will soon have a huge extinction disaster. The rapid development of human industry has led to the continuous deterioration of the global ecology. Now we can clearly feel that the deterioration of the earth’s ecology is accelerating, and in recent decades, the number of biological extinctions on the earth has been increasing.
If we look at it from these two perspectives in the coming year, scientists guess that the earth may have entered the sixth mass extinction. There is no reason at all. Of course, even now that we are in the sixth cycle of mass extinction, it will take a very long time to exterminate most of the earth’s creatures, from tens of thousands of years to millions of years.
However, the sixth mass extinction is very different from the previous five mass extinctions, full of too many variables. This variable is the birth of human beings. Human beings are intelligent civilization, and rely on their own wisdom to create scientific and technological civilization. The power of science and technology is endless. As long as we give enough time for human development, we can get rid of the shackles of the earth, the solar system and even the galaxy.
If, in the future, the ecology of the earth deteriorates to the point where it is impossible to survive, we can leave the earth, leave the solar system, and go to another better galaxy to live. At that time, we can take away different species of the earth. Isn’t it a very nice thing?
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