Earth Is on the Cusp of the Sixth Mass Extinction. Here’s What Paleontologists Want You to Know

Rhinos, elephants, whales and sharks — the list of endangered species is long and depressing. But it’s not just these big, beautiful, familiar animals at risk. Earth is hemorrhaging species, from mammals to fish and insects. The loss of biodiversity we’re facing right now is staggering, thanks to habitat loss, pollution, climate change and other calamities.

There have been five mass extinctions in the history of planet Earth. We’re on the threshold of a sixth. But extinction events don’t happen overnight. They unfold over millions of years. For humans that live maybe 80 or 90-some years, that’s very hard to wrap our minds around.

To get an idea of how to think about the sixth mass extinction, I spoke to people who’ve intensively studied the first five: paleontologists. I asked them what they’d like the rest of us to know. And I asked them what, in these scary times, gives

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High-resolution mass spectrometry promotes new methods for analysis — ScienceDaily

According to scientific estimations, humans are exposed to at least 10,000 to 100,000 environmental and exogenous compounds in an individual lifetime, which are mainly absorbed through our dietary. “Our body can effectively detoxify most of these substances, but various molecules as well as co-exposures can impact drug efficacy,” says Benedikt Warth, deputy head of the Department of Food Chemistry and Toxicology at the Faculty of Chemistry and coordinator of the newly founded national exposome research infrastructure, EIRENE Austria.

Fragmented knowledge

Think of the well-known instruction not to drink alcohol in combination with antibiotics or pain relievers. “Ethanol is a well-studied toxin that can alter the effect of the active agent,” says Warth. Bisphenol A (BPA) is another popular environmental toxin that practically everybody has accumulated in his or her body, although mostly in very low concentrations not considered to be critical for human health. BPA, a crucial component in the

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Wuhan mass screening identifies hundreds of asymptomatic cases — ScienceDaily

A mass screening programme of more than 10 million Wuhan residents identified 300 asymptomatic cases, but none were infectious, according to a study involving the University of East Anglia.

The mass testing project took place over two weeks at the end of May — after the city’s stringent lockdown was lifted in April.

The study found no ‘viable’ virus in the asymptomatic cases and the close contacts of these positive asymptomatic cases did not test positive.

But the research team warn that their findings do not show that the virus can’t be passed on by asymptomatic carriers.

Rather, strict non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask-wearing, hand washing, social distancing and lockdown have helped reduce the virulence of Covid-19.

The study, published in Nature Communications, was led by researchers at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China — in collaboration with researchers at UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

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China Carbon Developed Latest Carbon-Based Battery Component Product for Mass Production to Expand Alongside EV & Energy Storage Industries

SHANGHAI, CHINA / ACCESSWIRE / November 25, 2020 / China Carbon Graphite Group, Inc. (OTC PINK:CHGI). (“China Carbon” or the “Company”) today announces its subsidiary research and development team, Royal Elite New Energy Science and Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (“Roycarbon”), together with its manufacturing partner have fully developed their newest carbon-based product. The component product is certified for mass production and qualified as a battery component for grid-scale energy storage systems. China Carbon’s latest product is forecasted to be incorporated in energy solution assemblies of its partners, of which including a most anticipated player in the upcoming energy storage industry that offers further applications in industrial, commercial, as well as residential markets.

The company is also expected to scale up its graphite powder production for prospective increasing demands of EV lithium-ion battery. With the addition of on-going energy storage projects, China Carbon extends its expertise on carbon and

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China reports results of mass testing

BEIJING — China has reported new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones.

The National Health Commission said Tuesday that there were two new locally spread cases in the previous 24-hour period, one in each city. It also reported 20 cases among people who had arrived from overseas.

In Shanghai, the mass testing of 17,719 workers at the city’s Pudong aiport found one infection, a Fedex employee. Everyone else tested negative.

Three UPS workers at the airport have also tested positive in recent days, along with the wife of one of them. In all, Shanghai has reported eight non-imported cases since Friday.

In Tianjin, where 2.3 million people had been tested as of Monday, the city reported one case in a person who developed symptoms after testing positive earlier. China does not include people without symptoms in

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COVID-19 testing in Mass. is ‘far short’ of levels needed to stop the spread

Another takeaway: A ramped-up testing infrastructure will remain crucial to public health, well after vaccines are widely available.

“It’s not at the pace we would have expected,” said Donna Hochberg, a partner at consultancy Health Advances who leads the firm’s diagnostics practice. “Testing really does help control the pandemic.”

Bain Capital cochair Steve Pagliuca, who leads the tech council’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, hosted the event on Monday. The tech council’s main goal is to educate employers and public leaders about the continued need to focus on testing strategies even as the fight against COVID-19 enters a new phase with the arrival of vaccines. In its latest report on the issue, the tech council recommended that federal, state, and local governments develop a systematic, expanded testing regime using multiple kinds of tests and employing public-private partnerships.

Pagliuca, also a co-owner of the Boston Celtics, noted how the number of

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How chemical clues from prehistoric microbes rewrote the story of one of Earth’s biggest mass extinctions

How chemical clues from prehistoric microbes rewrote the story of one of Earth's biggest mass extinctions
Microbial mats in Shark Bay, Western Australia, similar to those that lived around 200 million years ago. Credit: Yalimay Jimenez Duarte WA-OIGC, Curtin University, Author provided

Chemical clues left behind by humble microbes have rewritten the timeline of one of the biggest mass extinction events in Earth’s history.


The so-called “end-Triassic mass extinction”, thought to have occurred just over 200 million years ago, wiped out swathes of prehistoric creatures both on land and in the oceans. It was prompted by the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea, which triggered massive volcanic activity that flooded the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and acidified the oceans.

But our new research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests these cataclysmic events actually happened later than previously thought.

We made this discovery by examining molecular fossils—trace chemicals derived from microbial “mats” that bathed in prehistoric waters.

A likely story

Traditionally, scientists have

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New placement for one of Earth’s largest mass extinction events

jurassic park
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Curtin University research has shed new light on when one of the largest mass extinction events on Earth occurred, which gives new meaning to what killed Triassic life and allowed the ecological expansion of dinosaurs in the Jurassic period.


The research, published in the prestigious journal PNAS, examined biomarkers (molecular fossils) and their stable isotopic compositions which suggest the end-Triassic mass extinction of prehistoric creatures such as conodonts and phytosaurs began after a volcanic eruption spewed carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, disrupting the Earth’s natural carbon cycle and sparking a chain reaction of environmental events.

That carbon disruption led to acidic ocean waters which then affected delicate marine ecosystems, and led to other unfavorable planetary changes.

Lead author, Curtin Ph.D. graduate Dr. Calum Peter Fox, from the WA-Organic and Isotope Geochemistry Center (WA-OIGC) in Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said the team analyzed

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Mass. is again ranked at the top for tech and innovation, but challenges loom

Massachusetts has once again captured the No. 1 spot in the Milken Institute’s ranking of technology and science clusters. But how long this dynasty will last in a post-pandemic world, where many tech employees will be able to work from just about anywhere, is an open question.

Milken, a nonpartisan think tank based in California, has put Massachusetts in the top spot every time this list has come out — essentially every other year since 2002. This time around, Massachusetts ranked the highest of any state in the subcategories of research and development, which considers academic, private and federal R&D funding, and in “human capital,” a rating that in part reflects graduate degrees held by residents, particularly those specific to science and engineering.

Kevin Klowden, the report’s lead author, said these assets put Massachusetts in a strong position to rebound once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. But the pandemic also

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Large volcanic eruption caused the largest mass extinction — ScienceDaily

Researchers in Japan, the US and China say they have found more concrete evidence of the volcanic cause of the largest mass extinction of life. Their research looked at two discrete eruption events: one that was previously unknown to researchers, and the other that resulted in large swaths of terrestrial and marine life going extinct.

There have been five mass extinctions since the divergent evolution of early animals 450 — 600 million years ago. The third was the largest one and is thought to have been triggered by the eruption of the Siberian Traps — a large region of volcanic rock known as a large igneous province. But the correlation between the eruption and mass extinction has not yet been clarified.

Sedimentary mercury enrichments, proxies for massive volcanic events, have been detected in dozens of sedimentary rocks from the end of the Permian. These rocks have been found deposited inland,

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