Only a few decades have past since human beings have driven the Tasmanian Tiger into extinction, back in the mid 1930s. In the past hundred (100) years alone, the planet has lost 396 different species of mammals, birds and amphibians. And in the past five-hundred (500) years, the planet has lost a total of 676 species.
But it is painfully obvious that we have not learned our lesson as thousands of species across the world are currently threatening to disappear for good, and a new study has revealed that they are going extinct more than a hundred (100) times quicker than they should be.
The study, published this past Thursday (June 18, 2015) in the journal Science, has revealed that climate change, pollution and loss of habitat are directly responsible for starting the sixth (6th) mass extinction event in the past 4.5 billion years. Worse yet, it has been scientifically proven that wild animal species have been going extinct 114 faster than they would have if there was no human intervention.
Researchers inform that the 396 species lost in the past hundred years should have normally take about 11.400 years to go extinct. The experts at Stanford University are calling it the biggest loss since the Cretaceous-Tertiary, when a mass extinction event killed off the dinosaurs.
For their study, the researchers looked at fossil records and various sources of extinction counts from across the planet in order to calculate the typical “background rate” of lost species, before comparing the results to a estimate of today’s extinctions.
The results were shocking as only two (2) out of 10.000 species of mammals used to go extinct per century in the distant past, whereas no less than 35 out of 5.513 species of mammals died off since 1900. That’s a little more than a hundred (100) years in which animals have kept dying off 28 times quicker than they would have without any human influence.
Paul Ehrlich, professor at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, gave a statement warning that “Our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead”. He firmly believed that we are without a doubt entering the sixth (6th) mass extinction event. It is the first one caused by humans and it is expected to have a huge impact on biodiversity.
Mass extinctions have typically been caused natural phenomena such as by meteor hits, volcanic eruptions or major changes in climate.
The sixth (6th) mass extinction threatens no less than one in four (1 in 4) mammals and 41 percent (41%) of amphibians. Human being are guilty of killing off several species before their time, including 69 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, 80 species of birds, 158 species of fish and 146 species of amphibians.
Gerardo Ceballos, lead author and ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, warns that if things progress at this rate, the human species itself could end up going extinct before its time. The disappearance of animals could ruin fisheries and destroy the ecosystems that we rely on for filtered water.
The most endangered species on the planet right now are the South China tiger which can currently only be found in zoos, the Sumatran elephant which has less than 2800 members, the Amur leopard with at least 57 members, Atlantic goliath grouper, the Gulf porpoise with less than 100 members, the Northern bald ibis with a few hundred members, the Hawksbill turtle with 20.000 members, the Black rhinoceros with 5000 members, the Pygmy three-toed sloth with less than 80 members and the Chinese pangolin.
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