Is Earth Due For Its Sixth Mass Extinction?

FishShould we all be on the endangered species list? Science Daily reports:

With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, from frogs and fish to tigers, some scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that occurred only five times before during the past 540 million years.

Each of these ‘Big Five’ saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct.

In a study to be published in the March 3 issue of the journal Nature, University of California, Berkeley, paleobiologists assess where mammals and other species stand today in terms of possible extinction, compared with the past 540 million years, and they find cause for hope as well as alarm.

“If you look only at the critically endangered mammals — those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations — and assume that their time will run out, and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal, and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm,” said principal author Anthony D. Barnosky, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, a curator in the Museum of Paleontology and a research paleontologist in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

[Continues at Science Daily]

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8 Responses to Is Earth Due For Its Sixth Mass Extinction?

  1. Chaorder Gradient March 2, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    its a natural cycle of events, it has nothing to do with the destruction of our ecosystems from overfishing to deforesting, to toxic-chemical pollutants everywhere that our human brethren have caused. Its a natural cycle of extinction. See? its happened 5 times before, so its perfectly normal right now.

  2. Chaorder Gradient March 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    its a natural cycle of events, it has nothing to do with the destruction of our ecosystems from overfishing to deforesting, to toxic-chemical pollutants everywhere that our human brethren have caused. Its a natural cycle of extinction. See? its happened 5 times before, so its perfectly normal right now.

    • s.hna March 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Yeah, see? I mean, if the internet says so and they get a scientist to confirm it, then all’s well and we can keep destroying our planet! Are you kidding me? Whether or not we are due for a mass extinction is no reason to justify how we proverbially rape our ecosystem.

      • quartz99 March 3, 2011 at 11:44 am #

        *whispers* pst, I think you need another cup of coffee. Your irony meter’s malfunctioning. :)

  3. s.hna March 3, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    Yeah, see? I mean, if the internet says so and they get a scientist to confirm it, then all’s well and we can keep destroying our planet! Are you kidding me? Whether or not we are due for a mass extinction is no reason to justify how we proverbially rape our ecosystem.

  4. Anonymous March 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    *whispers* pst, I think you need another cup of coffee. Your irony meter’s malfunctioning. :)

  5. Wanooski September 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Due for? There is no natural cycle of extinction. Despite the big ones there have been many lesser extinction events that come more or less randomly. Caused usually by environmental disasters, continental shifts, super volcanism, or extraterrestrial impacts, and very occasionally because of over success of particular species or kingdoms of life.
    Besides, the current extinction event is clearly and undeniably a result of human interference which has grown dramatically worse since the advent of industrialism. This time, human industrialism and proliferation is the environmental disaster.

  6. Anarchy Pony September 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Due for? There is no natural cycle of extinction. Despite the big ones there have been many lesser extinction events that come more or less randomly. Caused usually by environmental disasters, continental shifts, super volcanism, or extraterrestrial impacts, and very occasionally because of over success of particular species or kingdoms of life.
    Besides, the current extinction event is clearly and undeniably a result of human interference which has grown dramatically worse since the advent of industrialism. This time, human industrialism and proliferation is the environmental disaster.

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