'Cosmos' recap: Permian period and 'The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth'

May 5, 2014 12:07 PM

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When most of us think about extinction, chances are we recall that infamous asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago – a.k.a., the K/T extinction event. This week's episode of "Cosmos": "The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth," takes us back 252 million years, to another, far worse mass extinction that wiped out nine out of 10 of all living species at the end of what's known as the Permian period.

Earth was a very different place back then; as host Neil de Grasse Tyson reminds us repeatedly, "The past is another planet." The constellations in the night sky were different, the atmosphere was different, and so were the flora and fauna. You could call it the Era of the Giant Insects, an entomoph...

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