Mass extinctions and the future of life on Earth | Michael Benton

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Are we really on the brink of a new mass extinction? Palaeontologist Michael Benton explains how scientists trace the history of life on Earth, examines the data on biodiversity and addresses the question we all dread to ask: Will the Anthropocene mark the end of the world as we know it?

Michael Benton is the Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol and a Fellow of the Royal Society. A key theme in his work is the Permo–Triassic mass extinction, the largest mass extinction of all time, which took place over 250 million years ago, where he investigates how life was able to recover from such a devastating event. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the history of life on Earth and he has written more than 50 books, including palaeontology textbooks for students and a children’s book on dinosaurs.