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The great end-Permian extinction

I've just added a review of Douglas H. Erwin's book Extinction: how life nearly ended on earth 250 million years ago. This is a fascinating subject and Erwin, who is one of the foremost authorities on it, has done an excellent job in describing the issues. It turns out that no one, including Erwin himself, knows for sure what happened.

At the end of his book Erwin comments on the current fashion for saying that we are now causing a sixth extinction through human activity. He seems uncertain whether this is really the case - the numbers are simply not available - but, if we are, we will probably disappear along with many other species and the recovery phase will be longer than the time for which our own species has existed.

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