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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Paleontologists describe skeleton of a juvenile Plateosaurus for the first time — ScienceDaily

Long neck, small head and a live weight of several tons — with this description you could have tracked down the Plateosaurus in Central Europe about 220 million years ago. Paleontologists at the University of Bonn (Germany) have now described for the first time an almost complete skeleton of a juvenile Plateosaurus and discovered that it looked very similar to its parents even at a young age. The fact that Plateosaurus showed a largely fully developed morphology at an early age could have important implications for how the young animals lived and moved around. The young Plateosaurus, nicknamed “Fabian,” was discovered in 2015 at the Frick fossil site in Switzerland and is exhibited in the local dinosaur museum.

The study was published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

In order to study the appearance of dinosaurs more closely, researchers today rely on a large number of skeletons in so-called

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