The Earth stands on the brink of its sixth mass extinction and the fault is ours

Posted by ap507 at Jun 22, 2015 09:40 AM |
Professor Jan Zalasiewicz discusses how the rate at which vertebrate species are dying at the moment far exceeds the norm
The Earth stands on the brink of its sixth mass extinction and the fault is ours

Source: Wikipedia; Bufo periglenes, the Golden Toad, was last recorded on May 15, 1989

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Professor Jan Zalasiewicz has written an article for The Guardian discussing how the sixth great mass extinction event for planet Earth is looming on the horizon, based on a paper published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Rather than the nine extinctions among vertebrates that would be expected to have occurred in normal geological circumstances since 1900, the conservative estimate made by the study adds in another 468 extinctions, spread among mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

Examples of lost species would include the Yangtze dolphin and the Costa Rica golden toad. Depending on the group, extinction rates are 10 times to more than 100 times higher than normal, leading Professor Zalasiewicz to suggest that the sixth mass extinction is beginning.

The scientists estimate in the paper that this extinction would grow to rival the last great catastrophe of the past, when the dinosaurs and much else died out 65m years ago, in as little as three human lifetimes.

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