Great Balls Of Fire

What caused Earth's biggest extinction? The answer may lie in tiny buckyballs filled with extraterrestrial gas

It occurred in a blink of an eye--geologically speaking--about 250 million years ago. In the space of a few thousand years, something terrible happened to our planet, something that wiped out 90% of Earth's ocean species and about 70% of those that lived on land.

It was the worst extinction in the history of the earth; scientists call it the Great Dying. It eliminated whole communities of coral reefs, forests of fernlike trees, giant amphibians and ferocious reptiles, swarms of seemingly indestructible insects and the ocean's ubiquitous trilobites, those hard-shelled invertebrates with complex eyes that were never seen on the...

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