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Study Blames Sixth Extinction of Vertebrates on Humans
In a new study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, researchers from the Stanford University in California have warned of a sixth mass extinction of animals that is ensuing, owing to the unrestrained human activity that has inflicted massive damage to animal habitat.
Researchers compared the evolving damage to the wipe out that prompted the complete expulsion of dinosaurs from the face of the earth. For the purpose of the study, they used the most conservative rates. However, they were surprised to learn that even these cautious rates were way higher than the normal extinction rates, in fact, higher than that of the last five mass extinctions.
The study concluded that at the normal rate of extinction, two species would go extinct per 10,000 species per 100 years, rather than the one species that previous studies had predicted. However, the modern extinction rates were alarming, eight to 100 times higher! As many as 477 animals have gone extinct since 1900, compared to the nine that would be expected at natural rates. Today, more than 26% of all mammalian species and 41% of all amphibians are in danger of being decimated.
The researchers opined that in order to contain this damage, rapid and intensive conservation efforts were needed. Attempts at habitat conservation and reversing the over-exploitation of species for economic gain were needed to ensure a good standard of living for all humanity. They lauded the interventions by Barack Obama and also Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, which was released this Thursday.