Breaking News
Home / Environment / The Sixth Great Extinction?
The Sixth Great Extinction?
Photo: DirkvdM

The Sixth Great Extinction?

Reports about the changing climate and human’s role in it are plenty. The prognosis these studies give are often snowed under by the fierce debates that follow them, questioning the effects these changes in temperature really will have. A recent study however comes with a new angle: the extinction rate. And according to it, we’re ’at the verge of a sixth great extinction’.

Life on Earth has almost completely disappeared of this planet for 5 times. The most recent is the most known as well: the extinction of the dinosaurs some sixty-six million years ago. Back then, a huge meteor plunged into the Yucatan peninsula, causing a climate change too severe and abrupt for the dinosaurs to adapt. Four similar events had occurred before that, caused by meteorites, massive volcanic eruptions or sudden climate change, each time causing colossal extinction among the then present species. Be that as it may, this time there is no meteorite heading towards Earth or a sudden increase of volcanic activity on the way. It’s us humans who are about to cause the ‘sixth great extinction’.

The researchers of the report measured the rate at which species go extinct. Extinction is natural, it’s called ‘evolution’, some species simply die out because they no longer can thrive in this world. Before humans entered the world stage, this rate was at one species out of 10 million went extinct every year. Today, this rate is at 100 to 1,000 species out of a million every year. The rate has gone up at least a thousand times ever since humans came around and changed the world.

The extinction rate has gone up at least a thousand times ever since humans came around and changed the world.

The most direct humans cause of extinctions is not the changing of the climate: species die off because humans are destroying their natural habitats, for instance by the enormous de-forestation that is taking place all over the world. In the struggle between species over the remaining ‘uncivilized’ terrain, many cease to exist.  Another factor is that humans have transported different species  across the globe, where sometimes a species thrived and became a plague, pushing native species into extinction. The widespread pollution humans cause, like the plastic waste in the ‘plastic soup’, has knocked several other species of the grid. In the end though, the human-caused climate change will probably proof to have the most austere effect on the extinction rate. In the coming years species like polar bears might become limited to zoo’s and biology books.

Everyone remembers the simplistic ‘biopiramids’ and ‘circles of life’ from high-school biology. Truth is that biosystems are a lot more complex than that and hard to fathom. Yet with this rate of extinction, it is likely that eventually a threshold will be met, after which entire biosystems will collapse. The report warns that this threshold, when too many crucial species disappear form a biosystem and have a catalyzing effect, might not be as far away as we expect. Continuing down this road would leave our grandchildren with a ‘pretty empty planet’.

The report ends with a hopeful note though, stating that wildlife conservation technique’s are better than ever and that if we change our behavior right now, the world’s biodiversity could be maintained. All that is necessary that people become aware of the costs of their lifestyles and consumption behavior and embrace a more sustainable and environmental friendly attitude. The last great extinction wiped out the mighty dinosaurs, who had been around for roughly a 160 million years ago. Us humans have only been around for 200,000 years at best, it would be petty if we would catapult ourselves, or at least the rest of the world’s species, into oblivion now that we are just’ getting started’.

Fun Fact! The ‘great extinction’ that heralded the end of the dinosaurs, roughly 66 million years ago, caused the extinction of 75% of all species. The most severe extinction the earth has been trough though happen some 252 million years ago, which saw 96% of all species go extinct. Every species alive today descends from those surviving ‘tough’ 4%.

The report can be found at Journal Science: http://www.sciencemag.org
The head researcher has been Stuart Pimm.


About Ruerd Haringsma

Ruerd Haringsma, 5th year Master student of International Relations at the University of Groningen, traveler, part-time adventurer and reader of books, searches the deep, dark caverns of the internet to bring you the most fresh, astounding and arcane news of international relations. He also has a beard.

16 comments

  1. Nonetheless diamonds are deemed by a lot of to be also difficult a substance for
    ceramic knives because they generate much more scratches than they truly sharpen. The sharpener comes with a hand guard so you have
    some protection from your blade. These cooking accessories are truly the staples of
    any kitchen and no cook should be without these items when preparing delicacies of any kind.

  2. Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great content on our website.
    Keep up the great writing.

  3. A red sun invironment is less problematic as it only renders
    him not super.

  4. Hello to every body, it’s my first go to see of this blog; this website carries awesome and really excellent data designed for visitors.

  5. It’s an remarkable article for all the web users; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

  6. Itis free, cross-platform (designed for iOS/Android/website), as well as activities a cutting
    bookmarklet to save lots of all of your favorite dishes (if it’s not already in their repository.) When you are able to construct your meal plan, you get a weekly summary
    that enables you include every day and meals and unique recipes,
    then create a grocery list based on these recipes.

    Want to Consume is just a menu planning and grocery list leader that is not as inelegant as it
    is straightforward to-use. Then I create my record.

  7. The seminars are held at the Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Clinic, 4000 Vine Street in Middletown.

  8. Therefore, you’ll in all likelihood, find a diverse mixture of
    tunes owned by many different styles of music including pop music, rock music, rap music, country music,
    hip-hop, rockandroll, etc.

  9. Jadwal Pertandingan Liga Champion, Bayern Munchen vs Actual
    Madrid, leg kedua, 26 April 2012 at Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid.

  10. It is a source that is wonderful, with countless dog names
    and puppy names. Strategies for increasing language, in everyday situations
    you can use with 100 terms. Mount training
    strategies for calming a horse that is nervous, for preventing a warm
    horse along side methods. Movies that were informative
    included.

  11. He has hosted what is the high rated night news program for eight years running, and draws more viewers than CNN
    and MSNBC mixed. Decide Andrew Napolitano has served as Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox Information since 1998.

  12. Arrive with a large plastering rig”, or a truck particularly designed for this goal.
    When ready, the mixer pumps the plaster mix via a thick hose, and the hose man sprays down sections of the pool for the plasterers to begin. With the hose turned
    on, the pool begins to fill, without stopping, till the pool is full.

  13. Our charity receives no statutory funding, so we continue to rely upon the generosity of all those that
    worth our providers.

  14. Currency Trading could be profitable if positions have superior strategies and follow
    that methods.

  15. Often within this scenario, the place where credit being abruptly cut off has
    been led to by a late payment on a free account, the client
    may feel reduced and belittled.

  16. Have you ever considered publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*