The end-Guadalupian (259.8 Ma) biodiversity crisis: the sixth major mass extinction?

Michael R. Rampino, Shu Zhong Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The modern loss of species diversity has been labelled the ‘sixth extinction’ subsequent to the five major mass extinctions widely recognised in the Phanerozoic geologic record–the end-Ordovician (443.8 Ma), the Late Devonian (372.2 Ma), end-Permian (251.9 Ma), end-Triassic (201.4 Ma) and end-Cretaceous (66 Ma) events. Rankings in terms of numbers of genera suffering extinction, and especially in terms of ecological impact, however, put the end-Guadalupian (end-Capitanian) (259.8 Ma) extinction event in the same category with the other major mass extinctions. Thus, there were apparently six major Phanerozoic mass extinctions, and the current loss of species should perhaps be called the ‘seventh extinction’.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-722
Number of pages7
JournalHistorical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Extinction
  • Guadalupian
  • Permian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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