252 million years ago, volcanoes erupted a huge amount of lava onto the earth and carbon dioxide into the air, chemically altering the oceans in a way that would change life on earth forever. This incident — the Permian Extinction event — killed over 90% of the planet's species and 96% of marine species.
Countless theories have been put forward about why and how, exactly, this happened, but a new study, published in Science, offers some compelling evidence that acidification was a key factor.
So why should you care about ancient history? Well, our oceans are acidifying at a disturbingly similar rate right now — and it's our fault.
One of the lead authors, Matthew Clarkson, explained in a statement: