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Outside/In: The greatest disaster story of all time

The Outside/In crew photoshopped in front of a Permian-era pareiasaur.
Justine Paradis
The Outside/In crew photoshopped in front of a Permian-era pareiasaur.

You think the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was bad? Wait until you hear about the Siberian Traps.

From Dante’s Peak and Twister, to the twin apocalypse movies Armageddon and Deep Impact, producer Taylor Quimby was raised on disaster movies.

But with real climate-related catastrophes popping up more and more, one has to wonder… what is it about disaster stories that were so appealing in the first place? Do they have anything redeeming to teach us about ourselves or our planet?

Taylor attempts to answer that question (and weirdly enough, to celebrate Outside/In’s 250th episode) by looking back at one of the planet’s all-time worst disasters: The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, or as it’s sometimes called, “The Great Dying.”

Featuring Michael Benton.

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Talk to us! Follow Outside/In on Instagram and Twitter, or discuss episodes in our private listener group on Facebook.

Submit a question to our Outside/Inbox. We answer queries about the natural world, climate change, sustainability, and human evolution. You can send a voice memo to or leave a message on our hotline, 1-844-GO-OTTER (844-466-8837).

Host: Nate Hegyi
Reported, produced, and mixed by Taylor Quimby
Edited by Nate Hegyi and Rebecca Lavoie
Executive producer: Rebecca Lavoie
Music by Blue Dot Sessions
Our theme music is by Breakmaster Cylinder.
Outside/In is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio.
If you’ve got a question for the Outside/Inbox hotline, give us a call! We’re always looking for rabbit holes to dive down into. Leave us a voicemail at: 1-844-GO-OTTER (844-466-8837). Don’t forget to leave a number so we can call you back.

Taylor Quimby is Supervising Senior Producer of the environmental podcast Outside/In, Producer/Reporter/Host of Patient Zero, and Senior Producer of the serialized true crime podcast Bear Brook.

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