Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth's history, according to a paper released by the science journal Nature.HERE'S A SLIGHTLY LESS HYSTERICAL VERSION (2010):
Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events.
But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species, and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases, says the study.
Evidence from fossils suggests that in the "Big Five" extinctions, at least 75 percent of all animal species were destroyed.
Palaeobiologists at the University of California at Berkeley looked at the state of biodiversity today, using the world's mammal species as a barometer.
Until mankind's big expansion some 500 years ago, mammal extinctions were very rare: on average, just two species died out every million years.
But in the last five centuries, at least 80 out of 5,570 mammal species have bitten the dust, providing a clear warning of the peril to biodiversity.
"It looks like modern extinction rates resemble mass extinction rates, even after setting a high bar for defining 'mass extinction," said researcher Anthony Barnosky.
More than two extinct species a year in England, report revealsTHIS IS A WHOLE LOTTA HYSTERICAL ANTI-INDUSTRIAL/ANTI-DEVELOPMENT BS - NOT UNLIKE THE LEFT'S CO2 BS.
The biggest national study of threats to biodiversity has found that nearly 500 species have died out in England - almost all in the last two centuries
More than two animals and plants a year are becoming extinct in England and hundreds more are severely threatened, a report published today reveals.
Natural England, the government's agency responsible for the countryside, said the biggest national study of threats to biodiversity found nearly 500 species that had died out in England, all but a dozen in the last two centuries.
The losses recorded compare with a natural rate of about one extinction every 20 years before humans dominated the planet, but are almost certainly an underestimate because of poor records of any but the "biggest, scariest" creatures before the 1800s.
The high rate at which species are being lost is set to continue. Almost 1,000 other species face "severe" threats from the same problems that drove their relatives extinct – hunting, pollution, development, poor land management, invasive species and, more recently, climate change – says the report, Lost life: England's lost and threatened species. This represents about a quarter of all species in the best-studied groups, including every reptile, dolphin and whale species, two-thirds of amphibians and one-third of butterflies and bumblebees. In total, the report records 55,000 known species in England.
HERE'S AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: WE ARE DISCOVERING THOUSANDS OF NEW SPECIES EVERY YEAR: FACT (2009): Hundreds of New Species Discovered in Fragile Eastern Himalayas
Decade of Discovery Includes prehistoric gecko, flying frog and world’s second smallest deerMORE (2008):
Washington, DC - Over 350 new species including the world’s second smallest deer, a “flying frog” and a 100 million-year old gecko have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas...
Marine scientists have discovered hundreds of new animal species on reefs in Australian waters, including brilliant soft corals and tiny crustaceans, according to findings released Thursday.
The creatures were found during expeditions run by the Australian chapter of CReefs, a global census of coral reefs that is one of several projects of the Census of Marine Life, an international effort to catalog all life in the oceans.
"People have been working at these places for a long time and still there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new species that no one has ever collected or described," said Julian Caley, a scientist from the Australian Institute of Marine Science who is helping to lead the research.
Thousands of marine species eke out an existence in the ocean's pitch-black depths by feeding on the snowlike decaying matter that cascades down — even sunken whale bones. Oil and methane also are an energy source for the bottom-dwellers, the report said.
The researchers have found about 5,600 new species on top of the 230,000 known. They hope to add several thousand more by October 2010, when the census will be done.
EXTINCTION IS NATURAL - JUST LIKE CLIMATE CHANGE. BLAMING HUMANS FOR EITHER ISN'T SCIENCE; IT IS LEFT-WING BS.