This free online course explores how life on earth has been shaped by five mass extinction events in the distant past. At present, biodiversity is facing a crisis, with the prospect of a sixth extinction event today. Each week there are discussions with scientists about how their research informs us about the biodiversity of our planet including the very first life forms; fish and tetrapod diversification; the radiation of reptiles and dinosaurs; and the rise of mammals.
We focus on the five previous mass extinction events that have shaped the biodiversity of our planet. The fossil record reveals evidence of species that went extinct during these mass extinctions and the new opportunities created for the surviving biota to diversify.
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