The Marks of Extinction

The mass die-offs of Earth’s past may hold clues to our future

Knowable Magazine
Sep 10, 2018 · 8 min read
Ammonite fossils embedded in rock. Photo: Rixipix/iStock/Getty Images Plus

By Lindzi Wessel

I n the summer of 2012, geochemist Jessica Whiteside was waiting for the delivery of a precious sample through an unusual route: a 22-foot-wide hole in the bottom of a ship floating in the northwest Atlantic. Three miles below, a drill bit the diameter of a dinner plate was…

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