- Some 250 million years ago, more than 90 percent of life was wiped out.
- New estimates suggest it may have taken as long as 10 million years for life to truly recover.
Whatever ultimately wiped more than 90 percent of life off the planet some 250 million years ago dealt quite a blow, with new research suggesting "living, breathing organisms" didn't truly come back from the grave until 10 million years later.
The researchers think that this recovery took so long because even as species tried to regain their footing, they were hit with further setbacks as the environment continued to change.
"Life seemed to be getting back to normal when another crisis hit and set it back again," study researcher Michael Benton, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. "The carbon crises were repeated many times, and then finally conditions became normal again after five million years or so."
The Permian-Triassic extinction event, known informally as "The Great Dying," was the largest mass extinction on Earth. It killed off 96 percent of the world's marine species and 70 percent of the land-bound vertebrates and even a large portion of the world's insects. (Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth)