Study: ’Without Any Significant Doubt’, Sixth Mass Extinction is Here

posted: 06/19/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Giant panda (ALLUROPODA MELANOLEUCA) eating bamboo.
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The sixth mass extinction is here -- and the situation is dire, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.

Researchers used vertebrate fossil records to estimate the 'regular' rate of species extinction, and their results are harrowing: species are disappearing 100 times more quickly than normal. The "exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity" could put humankind itself at risk:

"If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on," warns lead author Gerardo Ceballos.

In the study, researchers name several main causes for the acceleration of species extinction, including habitat destruction, introduction of invasive species, climate change and ocean acidification.

"[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event," adds co-author Paul Erlich.

The study's authors call on humankind to enact "rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species" in order to minimize the damage that has already been done.

Click here to read the full study in the open-access journal Science Advances

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