In the history of Earth’s biodiversity, there have been five mass extinction events, all caused by dramatic but natural phenomena. Scientists have been warning for years of a serious decline in biodiversity around the world, and despite the evidence, not everyone agrees. Now the authors of A recently published study They claim that a sixth mass extinction may be underway, but this time it was caused entirely by humans.
“The dramatic increases in the rates of species extinction and decreases in the abundance of many animals and plants are well documented, but some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinctions,” He said in a statementRobert Coy, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Earth and Oceanic Sciences and Technology (SOEST).
“This denial is based on a highly biased assessment of the crisis that focuses on mammals and birds and ignores invertebrates, which of course make up the vast majority of biodiversity.”
to me IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, about 1.5% of assessed mammal and bird species have become extinct since 1500. But if we extrapolate from estimates of invertebrate extinction that the IUCN did not take into account, the situation looks much worse. The researchers estimated that in the past 500 years, Earth could have already lost between 7.5 and 13% of its two million known species. This equates to a staggering 150,000 to 260,000 species.
“The inclusion of invertebrates was a key factor in confirming that we are indeed witnessing the beginning of the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history,” She said Robert Coy.
From this point of view, the situation seems alarming, but the authors point out that extinction does not affect everyone in the same way. Although marine species are also threatened to some extent, there is no evidence that the crisis is affecting the oceans to the same extent as land.
Scientists say that saying that our actions are part of the “new and normal evolutionary path, because humans are just another species to play their natural role in Earth’s history” is also a denial of science. “We are not just other beings that evolve in the face of external influences. On the contrary, we are the only species that can consciously choose our future and the future of Earth’s biodiversity.” She said presser.
“Denying the crisis, accepting it without reacting or even encouraging it constitutes the abrogation of humanity’s shared responsibility and paves the way for the earth to continue its sad path toward the sixth mass extinction.”
The research was conducted by biologists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. The results were published in the journal Biological Reviews.
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