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The ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ Is Upon Us, Study Says

The study “shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event." (Image: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain)
The study “shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event." (Image: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain)

There is no doubt that the “sixth mass extinction” is here, with animals disappearing 100 times faster than previously, scientists warned in a new report.

The report also said that humanity could be among the first victims of this extinction.

Conservationists have been warning for years that mass extinction is occurring as humans degrade and destroy habitats. But in this study, which was published in the Science Advances, authors have said that “even using the most conservative extinction rates, the rate at which vertebrates were being lost forever was far higher than in the last five mass extinctions.”

“We were very surprised to see how bad it is,” said Dr Gerardo Ceballos, lead author, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “This is very depressing because we used the most conservative rates, and even then they are much higher than the normal extinction rate, really indicating we are having a massive loss of the species.”

Stanford researcher warns sixth mass extinction is here:

Paul Ehrlich, co-author, Professor of Population Studies in biology from Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, has called for faster action on conservation of threatened species, populations, habitat, and has warned that “the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”

The study “shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.”

Although most well-known for his positions on human population, Ehrlich has done extensive work on extinctions going back to his 1981 book, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species. He has long tied his work on co-evolution, on racial, gender, and economic justice, and on nuclear winter with the issue of wildlife populations and species loss, wrote Science Daily.

The chart shows the enormous uptick in species loss over the last century.  Source: International Union for Conservation of Nature

This chart shows the enormous uptick in species loss over the last century.
(Image: International Union for Conservation of Nature)

According to a Stanford report, there is general agreement among scientists that extinction rates have reached levels unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. However, some have challenged the theory, believing earlier estimates rested on assumptions that overestimated the crisis.

“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on,” said Ceballos.

Ceballos said that his study employed better knowledge of natural or so-called background extinction rates. He said it was conservative because it looked only at species that had been declared extinct, which due to stringent rules can sometimes take many years after a species has actually gone extinct, wrote The Guardian.

Who will survive the 6th mass extinction?

According to RT, The International Union for Conservation of Nature backs up the alarming news, providing a threat level of 26 percent for mammals and 41 percent for amphibians—Elrich calls those who made it into the statistic “the walking dead.”

“It’s really signaling we’ve entered a sixth extinction, and it’s driven by man,” said Ceballos.

According to Ehrlich and his colleagues, there is a way out: “Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations—notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain, and climate change.”

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