The conditions of our planet are just right for life to have formed and to have evolved over billions of years, and as far as we know, Earth is the only planet that contains life. The history of life on Earth is also a history of mass extinctions – periods where environmental conditions changed so dramatically and so quickly that 50 percent or more of all species disappeared globally. In this discussion, we will explore the history of life on Earth, including the five mass extinctions that are marked in the last 500 million years of the geologic record, as well as the current scientific evidence for the potential causes of these extinctions. We will also examine the evolutionary opportunities that have followed each mass extinction. We will also discuss the evidence for whether we are currently in the midst of the Anthropocene Epoch and are now experiencing a Sixth Extinction.