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The Hirnantian mass extinction is recognized as the first of the “big three” extinctions and, along with the end-Permian and end-Cretaceous events, is the result of an acceleration in biotic extinctions concomitant with a rise in originations. The Hirnantian mass extinction is characterized by high taxonomic impact and within-community extinctions. The Hirnantian mass extinction is also unusual in that (1) it is associated with glaciation, but there is little evidence elsewhere in the younger Phanerozoic that glaciations have been a cause of mass extinction, and (2) there is limited understanding of how glaciation could directly cause mass extinction, particularly in...

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