Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The sixth mass extinction

There have been five "mass extinctions" in the past 500 million years of Earth's history. The last one was some 66 million years ago, when 76 percent of all species were lost, including the dinosaurs, due to volcanic activity, climate change and the impact of asteroids.

A study conducted by researchers from Stanford University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) claims that the demise of billions of populations of both rare and common species "means the sixth mass extinction event is already well underway and is more severe than perceived."  The scientists argue that human activity is to blame for the development.

The study noted that habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive organisms, pollution, toxification, and climate disruption have led to "catastrophic declines in both the numbers and sizes of populations of both common and rare vertebrate species."

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