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Earth on verge of sixth mass extinction

Posted on Tuesday, 3 June, 2014 | Comment icon 105 comments

Lions are just one of the species at risk of disappearing. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Yathin S Krishnappa

Scientists have warned that we may soon be facing one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth's history.

There have been several mass extinctions throughout the ages, each bringing about the demise of a significant percentage of the Earth's plant and animal species.

The best known of these events was the extinction of the dinosaurs, an era of mass die-offs brought about by an asteroid impact 65 million year ago. This time however the planet faces a threat not from outer space but from ourselves, leading up to what could be one of the worst mass extinctions the world has ever faced.

Habitat destruction, climate change and the introduction of invasive species are just some of the biggest contributing factors that have lead global extinction rates to peak at up to 1,000 per million species, a figure 10,000 times greater than pre-human levels.

"We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," said biologist Stuart Pimm who authored the study. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions."

Source: Independent | Comments (105)

Tags: Mass Extinction

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #96 Posted by regeneratia on 8 June, 2014, 19:21
Any mention of all the myriad of new species we are seeing today, and yesterday and for quite some time?
Comment icon #97 Posted by regeneratia on 8 June, 2014, 19:23
Not wanting to kill any innocents. And it is entirely possible that Edward Edwards, the country's most prolific serial killer, set up a lot of people for murder.
Comment icon #98 Posted by Br Cornelius on 8 June, 2014, 20:39
By current estimates only 1 in 10 species is identified - but it doesn't change the fact that more species are been lost today than at any time since the age of the Dinosaurs. We know this by watching the identified species disappearing and inferring a similar pattern in the 9 out 10 ten unidentified species. Finding new species doesn't invalidate the reality of mass extinction. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #99 Posted by Rei4ever on 4 August, 2014, 15:20
Even though other scientists further create crap things that destroy this world...
Comment icon #100 Posted by Eldorado on 4 August, 2014, 15:25
We will eventually leave this planet behind and boldly go... It's written in the stars.
Comment icon #101 Posted by questionmark on 4 August, 2014, 15:31
boldly go to kiss our butts goodbye... 'cause we got nowhere else to go and if we try we won't get there for quite a while.
Comment icon #102 Posted by ealdwita on 4 August, 2014, 15:56
Try not to worry too much...I'm reasonably certain someone, somewhere will devise some exciting new taxes to stave off this threat.
Comment icon #103 Posted by spud the mackem on 4 August, 2014, 16:17
I wouldn't mind paying 10p in the Pound extra tax to build a spaceship to another planet, providing all the "Top Brass" in all Gov't positions were first to go.
Comment icon #104 Posted by ealdwita on 4 August, 2014, 16:29
.....and if they survived, we'd know it would be OK to send monkeys!
Comment icon #105 Posted by StRoostifer on 4 August, 2014, 16:32
Lmao! I love that movie. Jesspy. I'm in agreement with everything you said. I have chosen not to have children as well. My lady has a boy so being a step father is as close as I'll get. She laughs at me because I'm always saying " to my future never to be born children. Stay where you are, I'll come to you!"

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