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Earth's sixth mass extinction may be underway

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Carissa Hoffer-Halliet
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« on: June 25, 2015, 02:09:01 am »

Earth's sixth mass extinction may be underway
Saturday, 20 June, 2015




The Thylacine famously went extinct back in 1936. Image Credit: Benjamin A. Sheppard

With species disappearing in their thousands our planet may be on the verge of a mass extinction event.
Mass extinctions have occurred a total of five times in our planet's 4.5 billion-year history. Some, such as the disappearance of the dinosaurs following an asteroid strike 65 million years ago, are particularly well known while others, such as the Late Devonian extinction, are not.

A mass extinction is typically defined as an event in which three quarters of all plant and animal species on the planet go extinct within the space of one million years and now it appears as though this might actually be happening again right under our noses.

In a new study published in Science Advances scientists have outlined the fact that over the last few thousand years we have been seeing species disappearing at unprecedented levels.

"The loss of biodiversity is one of the most critical current environmental problems, threatening valuable ecosystem services and human well-being," the study authors wrote.

"A growing body of evidence indicates that current species extinction rates are higher than the pre-human background rate, with hundreds of anthropogenic vertebrate extinctions documented in prehistoric and historic times."

If this species loss continues then it could have dire consequences for mankind, in particular if food chains collapse and we are unable to produce enough to sustain our ever-growing population.

"Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing," the study authors wrote.

http://gizmodo.com/yes-we-are-in-the-early-stages-of-a-mass-extinction-1712668648
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Carissa Hoffer-Halliet
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 02:10:20 am »

Yes, We Are in the Early Stages of a Mass Extinction

Annalee Newitz
Filed to: mass extinction   6/19/15 6:46pm




Yes, We Are in the Early Stages of a Mass Extinction

A new study suggests that thousands of species on Earth going extinct at a rate that far exceeds what’s typical. We are in the beginnings of a mass extinction, argue scientists, and it could lead to global starvation for humans — as well as many other animals.

The new study, published today in Science Advances, explains that we are suffering extremely elevated levels of species losses. It’s not an issue of a snowy owl there or a tree frog there. We’re talking about thousands upon thousands of species going extinct, which will lead to a loss of biodiversity. Without that much-needed diversity in an ecosystem, the risk is that food sources will dwindle — one frog going extinct can mean that the birds who feed on it go extinct, which means the cats that eat those birds go extinct, and so on. Before you know it, the food web has collapsed and rates of extinction go sky-high.

Write the authors of the study:

    The loss of biodiversity is one of the most critical current environmental problems, threatening valuable ecosystem services and human well-being. A growing body of evidence indicates that current species extinction rates are higher than the pre-human background rate, with hundreds of anthropogenic vertebrate extinctions documented in prehistoric and historic times.

Their breakthrough in this study is to collect vast amounts of data that suggest species are going extinct at levels that exceed typical extinction rates — but also, perhaps more importantly, the loss of biodiversity is correlated with human activities. They explain:

    We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 114 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

A mass extinction is technically an event where 75 percent of species on the planet go extinct in a million years or less. There have been five in the 4.5 billion year history of our planet, most recently when the majority of dinosaurs were killed off by the one-two punch of mega-volcanoes in India and a huge asteroid smashing into the Gulf of Mexico. That was 65 million years ago.

Today we’re seeing what appears to be a very rapid die-off of many species, which is sure to lead to more die-offs due to food web collapse. It’s not too late to prevent this mass extinction, and more and more scientists are saying we need to accept the reality of this “sixth mass extinction” so that we stop the starvation before it starts.

[read the full scientific paper in Science Advances]

Contact the author at annalee@gizmodo.com.
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http://gizmodo.com/yes-we-are-in-the-early-stages-of-a-mass-extinction-1712668648
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Carissa Hoffer-Halliet
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 02:10:49 am »

read the full scientific paper in Science Advances

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/5/e1400253.full
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Imhotep
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 02:12:39 am »

They found a lot of whales dead up around Alaska. Maybe we are in the beginning of a mass extinction. Look how often this happens anymore with whales and dolphins. Bet it has something to do with too many people, pollution, global warming. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fin-whales-found-dead-alaska-island-31874228
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Extinction Event
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 02:15:46 am »

Disease has always been the limiting factor on human population growth. It's even bigger than war and reduces population with less environmental damage. BUT: the last disease intense enough to actually reduce human populations were the plagues of the Middle Ages
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Stelth
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2015, 12:31:19 am »

Yes, just put the earth out of its misery. It is clear that human civilization has failed, it's all about money and who has the most of it.
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Hermocrates
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2015, 05:16:41 pm »

According to some religious fanatics, we need to worry about the next earth's major catastrophe only when one specific species goes into mass extinction. This being whereby, suddenly, in a twinkling of an eye, half of the human population goes extinct. The fanatics have labeled such as, "The Rapture." But I say that this next catastrophe will be only caused by one culprit. And you, Stelth, have hit the sheep on their heads; it's, definitely, money. Those fanatics are cajoled by their greedy leaders (preachers) who sell them tickets to this great event, the great Rapture. These flocks of sheep sow their seed (money, money, and more money), in the hope of a promised harvest. The seeding usually goes to their preachers' pockets, whereby they, the preachers, live in luxury, and become gluttons for all material stuff. As a reward to their faithful flock, the sheered sheep, these lowest of the human specie, the preachers I mean as lowest, bombard them, the sheep, with hopes that they, the sheep, will reap a great harvest. This harvest, is a promise (false, and empty of course) of the sheep getting rich themselves. But besides the getting rich of the sheep, and after spending all that money, of course, the gullible sheep will also obtain a ticket for a seat on the train to heaven, whereby being raptured in a twinkling of an eye. With this rapture promise, the sheered sheep, gladly thinks that they will be spared the turmoil and horrors of the coming catastrophe awaiting those of us remaining, because we, the remaining half, have no seed (money) for the greedy preachers' pockets. These gladdened sheep, however, never think to be loving to their unfortunate neighbors, as they are rightly taught, and one would think that they would give their tickets away. No! they just laugh at us, without as much as feeling sorry for our upcoming woes, as the trumpets sound off. Those also remaining, part of the half not raptured, and in trouble deep too, are those like me, the goats, who are stubborn, and have some extra seed around, but only just enough for a "rainy" day though, and fortunately, just enough brains not to fall victim to this lower specie of horrendous and ferocious, earthly, money gluttons (preachers and their accomplices).

I really don't know who is worst off, those that are expecting to be raptured and be spared pains and sorrows, or those of us that are, relentlessly, and religiously searching for the lost Atlantis, expecting to find who knows what? After all, the tale of Atlantis, does contains moral allegories about riches, greed, and the consequences for not keeping in compliance with godly laws/decrees. Why was Atlantis destroyed after having been blessed so long with all its riches, power, splendors, and happiness? Atlantis, that great and powerful empire, amassed the most riches an empire had ever done, or ever will be likely by future empires. Those were the priests' words related to Solon.

Does not the USA, resemble the wealthy and powerful Atlantis, before it decided to invade and attempted to subjugate all those within the Pillars of Hercules? And which, after failure, caused by the gods, was also thereafter further punished by the gods, who sank that Island continent in a day?  Babylon, oh Babylon the great has fallen, in just one hour you went under, never to surface again! Perhaps John also read Plato!
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