Scientists just found a hidden 6th mass extinction in Earth’s ancient past

The height of the Ediacaran period, about 550 million years ago, was a boom time for life in Earth’s oceans. Petalonamids shaped like feathers sucked 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 traces in the fossil record.

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