Earth Possibly Heading for Sixth Mass Extinction

Earth Possibly Heading for Sixth Mass Extinction

It is being reported through a new research study that the Earth is possibly heading for its sixth mass extinction. Animal species are now disappearing from the Earth at a rate of up to 1,000 times faster than they did before human beings began to walk over the globe and mass extinctions have killed most of the life on Earth at least five different times. It was around 66 million years ago, that the last giant extinction wiped the dinosaurs and three out of four other kinds of species off the face of the Earth.

The research report entitled The Biodiversity of Species and their Rates of Extinction, Distribution, and Protection was printed up in the most recent edition of the journal Science, and it warned that the world was on the very edge of experiencing its sixth huge species wipe out.

Although these types of extinctions are most often connected with asteroids, the most horrible die-offs around 250 million years ago, which wiped out over 90 percent of all life on Earth, was triggered by microbes spewing out methane, states a brand new idea.

The microbes created basically the same change in the climate as global warming, a sudden increase in the world’s temperatures and also ocean acidification. Each of these phenomena can be seen happening at the present time due to man-made climate change and this was also cited by the research study as being one feature which is causing the usual habitats of animals to become unlivable for numerous species.

Even though scientists have apparently known mass extinctions have been happening, this research study has been the first to actually calculate the rate of animal extinction, not just the amount of species that have disappeared, both before and after human beings came on the scene. It is believed that before humans showed up, one out of one million species were found to go extinct each year. However the rate is believed to be somewhere between 100 and 1,000 every single year.

The trend could actually be reversed if biologists were able to figure out what species were the most vulnerable. Once that information was found, they could attempt to try and save the various species by protecting their surroundings.

Habitat loss is the main reason for the high rates of species extinction around the world states the research study. Human beings have taken over and developed way too much land, and so many animals no longer have anywhere to live.

By performing online crowd sourcing information on various species’ dispersal, that data could be used to expand recently produced databases as another step to help reverse the taking of the animals’ homelands. This information can be pooled with data that is already available about land and ocean usage to help better recognize and also start to protect defenseless species.

The new research study suggests that animal species are now disappearing from the Earth at a rate of up to 1,000 times faster than they did before human beings began to walk over the globe. Mass extinctions have killed most of the life on Earth at least five different times.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

Newsweek

CBC News

The Huffington Post

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