• Scientists warned that another extinction event might happen soon
  • They made this claim after comparing corals
  • The disappearance of coral reefs will have serious implications

A team of scientists warned that another mass extinction event is underway. They came up with the shocking claim after comparing modern corals to those that were affected by the extinction event 66 million years ago.

As indicated in various environmental studies, global warming has had a huge effect on the development of corals. The rising ocean temperature brought on by global warming is causing many coral reefs around the world to die out.

In a recent study published in the Scientific Reports, scientists noted that the ongoing effects of global warming on Earth’s oceans could eventually trigger a mass extinction event among corals. In fact, the scientists said that traces of this environmental event could already be seen in corals.

For the study, the scientists analyzed modern corals and compared them with their ancient counterparts, or those that managed to survive the mass extinction event triggered by an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago.

Analyzing the two sets of corals revealed that the modern ones shared the same traits as their ancient counterparts. For the scientists, these similarities indicate that today’s corals could be going through the same chemical or biological process that ancient corals went through during the last mass extinction event.

This could mean that modern corals are heading into the same destructive event that their ancient counterparts went through.

“When we finally put all this together and saw the result, for me, it was that moment when the hair on the back of your neck stands up,” marine biologist David Gruber, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a statement according to Newsweek.

“It was like, ‘Oh my goodness, [the corals] are doing exactly what they did back then,’” he continued.

If a mass extinction event hits corals, it would have serious implications for both humans and marine organisms. For one, coral reefs serve as the natural habitats of various ocean animals. This means the loss of coral reefs could paralyze the oceans’ ecosystems.

Also, coral reefs can protect coastlines from the damaging effects of waves and storms. Without these, those residing near coastlines would become more vulnerable to the effects of these natural disasters.

corals and fish
Coral reefs are just as dependent on fish for key nutrients that help coral grow as the fish are on the reefs. Abel Valdivia/Center for Biological Diversity