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Extinctions During the Human Era is 1000 Times Worse

RATE THIS! +38
Posted in Science on 5th Sep, 2014 03:08 AM by AlexMuller

Amid increasing climate change, the world's species are becoming extinct 1,000 times faster than they used to, according to new research. Extinctions are about 1,000 times more frequent now than in the 60 million years before people came along - that's 10 times worse than scientists previously thought.

 

"This reinforces the urgency to conserve what is left and to try to reduce our impacts," lead author Jurriaan de Vos, a Brown University postdoctoral researcher, said in a statement. "It was very, very different before humans entered the scene." Human population growth is mainly to blame for the dying off of species, which find themselves confined to smaller and smaller areas around the globe until eventually their habitat dwindles completely.
 
According to the researchers, the "normal" rate of extinction is about 0.1 extinctions per million species per year. Now, the new work finds that it's more along the lines of 100 extinctions per million species per year. Normally, these types of estimates are based on fossil records alone, but that can be an inaccurate technique considering they often only allow identification of the animal or plant's genus, but not its exact species. This time around researchers also looked at the evolution of family trees, or phylogenies, of numerous plant and animal species.

Tags: speciesevolutionextinctionconservationclimate changebiologybiodiversity

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-09-05
+3
Extinction is integral part of evolutionary process, without this there would not be a selection. The fact that humans and their activity are accelerating extinction at such alarming rate should be seen as interference with a natural process and should be moderated - diversity is important
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-09-05
+2
Big events of extinction in occurred the past several times. However, while previous extinctions have been driven by natural planetary transformations or catastrophic asteroid strikes, the current die-off can be associated to human activity, a situation designated an era of "Anthropocene defaunation." Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-09-05
+2
Larger animals are endangered more. Larger animals tend to have lower population growth rates and produce fewer offspring. They need larger habitat areas to maintain viable populations. Their size and meat mass make them easier and more attractive hunting targets for humans. They need special protection!
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-09-05
+2

Yes, this is important. Previous experiments conducted in Kenya have isolated patches of land from megafauna such as zebras, giraffes and elephants, and observed how an ecosystem reacts to the removal of its largest species.
Rather quickly, these areas become overwhelmed with rodents. Grass and shrubs increase and the rate of soil compaction decreases. Seeds and shelter become more easily available, and the risk of predation drops.
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-09-15
+0


 

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