Keep in mind that the temperature increase during the PTEM occurred over a time scale of roughly 10,000 years. In contrast, today's human-caused climate change is happening on a much more rapid timescale, perhaps 10 times as quickly, according to a study published last year in the journal Nature.
"If we're going at 10 times the rate as then, what concerns me is whether there's enough time this time around for animals to adapt the way they did then," D'Ambrosia said.
Animal species changed during big swings in climate, she noted, but rarely went extinct.
Today, extinction rates are ramping up. Hundreds of threatened mammal species are affected by climate change, according to a paper in Nature Climate Change, and scientists say it has already caused at least one mammal to go extinct - the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent that was the Great Barrier Reef's only endemic mammal, which was wiped out by rising sea levels.
"We're in a little bit of a no-analog situation," said D'Ambrosia.