Animated Extinctions

I saw this animation posted to Imgur by user Waffurur, showing the five biggest mass extinction events in Earth’s history (as far as we know, really):

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Most people are familiar with the Cretacious-Tertiary mass extinction about 65 million years ago, which killed off the last of the dinosaurs. Well, except for birds, which are totally still dinosaurs.

Some people know about the Permian mass extinction, which left only about four percent of species alive. That’s also the one that finished off the trilobites, which is a bummer because they seem pretty cool.

"Kainops invius lateral and ventral" by Moussa Direct Ltd. (Moussa Direct Ltd. image archive) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, it also brought an end to the eurypterids—a/k/a sea scorpions that reached eight feet or more in length (but were generally harmless)… Continue reading


Monday Morning Cute: Multi-legged, primordial squee

The horseshoe crab has some pretty terrifying ancestors, as I have discussed here in the past. It may also have descended from the less-terrifying, more -intriguing trilobites, which went extinct over 100 million years ago after a 300 million-year run. In addition to horseshoe crabs, the trilobites may have developed into horseshoe shrimp, believed to be among the oldest living species on Earth, remaining nearly unchanged for about 200 million years.

It’s also strangely cute:

"A Noodly Encounter" by jurvetson [CC BY 2.0], on Flickr

I suppose “cuteness” is a highly subjective concept.

They are very small, roughly 2 to 4 millimeters in length, which has a great deal to do with their apparent cuteness. If the creature pictured above were, say, the size of a Ford Fiesta, I would not be discussing its cuteness, but rather wondering how I could get my hands on a tank.

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Not cute. Fortunately, also not real.

Photo credits: “A Noodly Encounter” by jurvetson [CC BY 2.0], on FlickrDocCrystal on