(CNN)The asteroid strike that doomed the dinosaurs is an event that many people are aware of. It wiped out more than three-quarters of all life on Earth 66 million years ago.
But it was only one of the Big Five mass extinctions the planet has experienced since living organisms evolved 3.5 billion years ago, and wasn't the worst.
Now, scientists say they have identified evidence of a new mass extinction event in the fossil record, and it's one that allowed dinosaurs to dominate the Earth for more than 200 million years.
It took place 232 million to 234 million years ago and has been called the Carnian Pluvial Episode.
"So far, palaeontologists had identified five 'big' mass extinctions in the past 500 million years of the history of life," said study co-author Jacopo Dal Corso, a geologist at China University of Geosciences at Wuhan, in a news statement.
"Each of these had a profound effect on the evolution of the Earth and of life. We have identified another great extinction event, and it evidently had a major role in helping to reset life on land and in the oceans, marking the origins of modern ecosystems."