The Late Devonian Extinction

In a BBC Podcast first broadcast on 11 March 2021, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the devastating mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Period, roughly 370 million years ago, when around 70 percent of species disappeared.

Scientists are still trying to establish exactly what happened, when and why, but this was not as sudden as when an asteroid hits Earth. The Devonian Period had seen the first trees and soils and it had such a diversity of sea life that it’s known as the Age of Fishes, some of them massive and armoured, and, in one of the iconic stages in evolution, some of them moving onto land for the first time. One of the most important theories for the first stage of this extinction is that the new soils washed into oceans, leading to algal blooms that left the waters without oxygen and suffocated the marine life.

Listen here


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