The first part of this assignment requires that you consider the history of extinction on our planet.

From the Sam Noble Museum, answer the following questions:

  1. How many major mass extinction periods are listed here? Follow the links from that page to learn more about each period. What caused each, and which major groups of species disappeared from each period?Read the article link on Recent Extinctions:
  2. Choose two of the recent extinctions listed on this link and explain why they occurred.

Case Part II: Global Climate Change

Scientists have concerns that human activities are changing our environment at rapid rates that could result in a sixth mass extinction. Let’s examine the evidence:

Review the “Recent, Past and Present” section from Mass Extinctions.

Also review the following link from the NASA website:

  1. Define greenhouse effect. Describe which gases are important to the greenhouse effect.
  2. What were listed as human activities related to greenhouse gas production from each link?
  3. How do humans contribute to both climate change and major extinction events?
  4. Some scientists think that human activities may be contributing to a sixth mass extinction event. What specific evidence do they site for this possible event? (you may need to conduct additional research to support your findings).

Part III: Drawing Conclusions

Now provide a summary paragraph that explains what conclusions you can make for yourself based on the evidence provided and what you now know about the geologic time scale of the history of the Earth.


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