Elon Musk

Elon Musk has to take a break sometimes. The tech entrepreneur, who wants to transition the world onto electric cars and fly humans to Mars, took some time out of his busy schedule to warn his 16.4 million Twitter followers about the five deadliest mass extinctions to ever face the Earth. Nothing like a bit of light entertainment to end your day.

“And those are just the really big ones,” Musk said on his Twitter page Monday evening. The Permian was especially bad, unless you were a mushroom.”

Musk linked to a video from the “World and Science” account, which shared a video outlining the five events. They are:

  • Ordovician. This event, which took place 444 million years ago, led to the loss of 86 percent of life on Earth.
  • Devonian. Around 375 million years ago, 75 percent of species were wiped out by this event.
  • Permian. The one mentioned by Musk was catastrophic. Taking place 251 million years ago, a staggering 96 percent of species disappeared in this.
  • Triassic. This one, 200 million years ago, led to the loss of 80 percent of species.
  • Cretaceous. Around 66 million years ago, 76 percent of all species were lost in this event.

Musk is probably right in that mushrooms did well in the Permian extinction. One theory put forward by scientists from Utrecht University, Imperial College, and the University of California-Berkeley, is that while a lot of species died out in the Permian event, fossil filaments suggest pathogenic fungi feasted on dying plant matter as most of the world crumbled. Cheery, right?

Watch the video below.

These extinction events happened for varying reasons, but it’s understandable why Musk is interested. His solar panel and battery projects around the world, providing power in places like South Australia and Puerto Rico, are targeted at moving the world away from fossil fuels and adding more pollutants into the atmosphere. Similar world-changing events are believed to be behind the previous extinction events.

“We don’t always know what caused them but most had something to do with rapid climate change”, Melbourne Museum palaeontologist Rolf Schmidt told Cosmos Magazine.

Even in his offtime, Musk is still considering the planet’s potential doom.