According to a new analysis, mass extinctions of land animals, including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds, occur every 27 million years.
The researchers note that these mass extinctions coincide with major catastrophes: asteroid impacts, lava eruptions, and floods.
Sixty-six million years ago, 70% of all species of living things on land and in the seas, including dinosaurs, suddenly became extinct due to the collision of a comet or meteorite with Earth. Subsequently, paleontologists discovered that such a mass extinction of marine flora and fauna resulted from which up to 90% of species disappeared was not an accidental event but, apparently, was part of a cycle.
Biology Michael Rampino, professor in the Department of Biology at New York University, and co-authors Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute for Science and Juhong Zhu of the Center for Data Science at New York University, looked at the data on mass extinctions of land animals. They concluded that they coincided with the extinction of life in the oceans.
Astrophysicists suggest that one of the main reasons is the meteor showers in the solar system every 26-30 million years. With a high probability, they can damage our planet, and therefore cause a mass extinction: from a collision with a meteorite or comet, almost terrestrial and marine life can die.
In addition to the meteor shower, mass extinctions can occur due to a profuse volcanic eruption or flooding. These cataclysms, scientists say, sometimes act in concert.