After modeling what seems to have happened to the environment prior to a mass extinction 252 million years ago, scientists at the University of Washington are warning that we all could be heading toward another huge annihilation if humans continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere.

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It’s worth remembering that fossil fuels are exactly that: black gunk made up from the remains of dead dinosaurs. All those old raptors and giant plant eaters met their end in a global calamity of one kind or another, but, long before the dinosaurs had their long day in the sun, there were earlier species roaming the land and swimming in the sea during the Permian geologic period. That era came to a dramatic end as massive volcanic activity filled Earth’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide. The resulting mass extinction eliminated two-thirds of the planet’s life forms.

Now, after modeling what seems to have happened to the environment prior to that extinction 252 million years ago, scientists at the University of Washington are warning that we all could be heading toward another huge annihilation if humans continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Curtis Deutsch, a UW associate professor of oceanography and an author of the research, said, “The study tells us what’s at the end of the road if we let climate [change] keep going. The further we go, the more species we’re likely to lose. That’s frightening. The loss of species is irreversible.”

One of those species could well be homo sapiens. That’s not a happy thought, but, on the plus side, our remains might turn out to be a useful fuel for some future advanced animals who need to get somewhere in a hurry.

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