London, July 13 (ANI): A recent research paper published in the journal Solar and Stellar Astrophysics, has suggested that life on earth suffers catastrophic extinctions every 27 million years.
According to The Telegraph, Adrian Melott, an astrophysicist at the University of Kansas, and Richard Bambach, a palaeontologist at the Smithsonian Institute have said that for at least the last 500 million years, there has been a burst of extinctions every 27 million years.
Periodic mass extinctions have been posited before, and it has been suggested that it indicates that the Sun has a huge, dark neighbour which orbits it every 27 million years, each time knocking a shower of comets out of the Oort Cloud at the fringes of the solar system and sending them crashing into Earth. This hypothetical dark satellite was called "Nemesis", the researchers claim.
According to them, the extinctions have ranged from catastrophic, destroying the majority of species on Earth, to smaller ones, which have destroyed 10 per cent of known species.
And while they happen once every 27 million years, they say that they could be up to 10 million years either side of the expected date.
However, the researchers have assured that there is no need for people to panic immediately as the last such event took place 10 million years ago. (ANI)