Scientists have just found a hidden sixth mass extinction in Earth’s distant past

The peak of the Ediacaran Period, about 550 million years ago, was a heyday for life in Earth’s oceans. Petalonamides in the form of feathers suck nutrients from the water, slug-like Kimberella grazed on microbial mats, and the ancestors of jellyfish were just beginning to make waves.

But then 80% of life on Earth disappeared, leaving no trace in the fossil record.

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