The end-Pliensbachian extinction event (187 Ma) has been interpreted either as one of 10 global periodically recurring mass extinctions of the past 250 m.y. or as a minor localized European event. Elevated levels of family extinction spanned five ammonite zones during the late Pliensbachian and the early Toarcian, an interval of ∼7.5 m.y., and were distributed unequally in the Boreal, Tethyan, and Austral realms. Detailed sampling of invertebrate macrofaunas through complete expanded sequences in northwest Europe shows that most species extinctions occurred in the early Toarcian, following a regional anoxic event. The Early Jurassic mass-extinction event took place over a long time scale, and it was global in extent.