wildly curious
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health & Science

The Ends of the World

Embedded dinosaur bones.
The skull of a camarasaurus in the Quarry Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

Throughout human history, people have warned that the end of the world is coming. If it does, it won’t really be all that unique. You see, the world has already ended five times. Life on earth has been broiled, frozen, gassed, smothered, and asteroided out of existence. And scientists believe that those previous mass extinctions can teach us something about the one happening right now. Monday, science writer Peter Brannen joins us to explore the Earth’s past dead ends and what they mean for the future.

Peter Brannen's writing has appeared in the New York TimesThe AtlanticWired, and the Washington Post, among others. His new book is called The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions [Independent bookstores|Amazon|Audible].