The rock hard truth of mass extinctions

Paleobiologist and geologist Jon Payne discusses Earth’s previous mass extinctions including his work on the largest extinction in Earth’s history, how geologists define boundaries, our current understanding of deep time, and how geologists view the Anthropocene debate.

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Contributor

Jon Payne
Dr. Jonathan Payne is an Assistant Professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University, and he studies how environmental changes influence evolutionary and ecological processes and conversely, how evolutionary and ecological changes affect the physical environment. His focus is on understanding the causes of mass extinctions and the processes that control subsequent recovery of biodiversity and global ecosystems.  Jon’s research primarily spans two timescales: 1) that of catastrophic extinction events and their immediate aftermaths (up to a few million years) and 2) the timescale of geological periods and eras (tens to hundreds of millions of years).  In addition to his research, he teaches undergraduate courses in historical geology and invertebrate paleobiology, as well as graduate courses in carbonate sedimentology and geobiology.

Interviewer

Alex Stadnyk
Alexander Stadnyk is a junior majoring in Materials Science and Engineering, with a focus in alternative energy options. Before that, he studied environmental earth sciences and paleoclimate through Earth Systems. He is a member of the fencing team, plays the violin, enjoys backpacking and traveling, and is a self-proclaimed foodie. Alexander loves all things spicy, and wants to start a company selling homemade hot sauce. He would also like to use this as an opportunity for some shameless product placement.

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