Archive for the ‘Mass Extinction’ Category

Is the end near? Scientists at Duke University say the world is on the brink of its sixth great extinction, since certain species of plants and animals are now dying out at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans came into existence.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, measured the the rate at which species are disappearing from Earth. In 1995, the researchers found that the pre-human rate of extinctions was roughly 1. Now, that rate is about 100 to 1,000.

Stuart Pimm, the study’s lead author, said habitat loss is mostly to blame for the increasing death rates. As humans continue to alter and destroy more land, animals and plants are increasingly being displaced from their natural habitats. Climate change is also a factor, he added.

“Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions,” Pimm warned.

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

http://theweek.com/article/index/262400/speedreads-earth-is-nearing-sixth-great-extinction-alarming-survey-says#axzz33DjJqxZg

Earth’s creatures are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, concludes a new study that calculates that 3/4 of today’s animal species could vanish within 300 years.

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/03/are-we-in-the-middle-of-a-sixth-.html?ref=hp

Species naturally come and go over long periods of time. But what sets a mass extinction apart is that three-quarters of all species vanish quickly.

Earth has already endured five mass extinctions, including the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs and other creatures 65 million years ago.

Conservationists have warned for years that we are in the midst of a sixth, human-caused extinction, with species from frogs to birds to tigers threatened by climate change, disease, loss of habitat, and competition for resources with nonnative species.