Earth en­ter­ing new ex­tinc­tion phase – re­port

CityPress - - News - Re­porter – Staff

The earth has en­tered a new pe­riod of ex­tinc­tion – and hu­mans could be among the first ca­su­al­ties.

A re­port, led by the univer­si­ties of Stan­ford, Prince­ton and Berke­ley in the US, said ver­te­brates were dis­ap­pear­ing at a rate 114 times faster than nor­mal. The find­ings echo those in a re­port pub­lished by Duke Univer­sity last year, the BBC re­ported.

One of the new study’s au­thors said: “We are now en­ter­ing the sixth great mass ex­tinc­tion event.”

The last such event was 65 mil­lion years ago, when the di­nosaurs were wiped out.

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

The sci­en­tists looked at his­toric rates of ex­tinc­tion for ver­te­brates – an­i­mals with back­bones – by as­sess­ing fos­sil records.

The study, which was pub­lished in the Science Ad­vances jour­nal, cites causes such as cli­mate change, pol­lu­tion and de­for­esta­tion.

Given the knock-on ef­fect of ecosys­tems be­ing de­stroyed, the re­port says ben­e­fits such as pol­li­na­tion by bees could be lost within three hu­man gen­er­a­tions.

Stan­ford Univer­sity’s Pro­fes­sor Paul Ehrlich said: “There are ex­am­ples of species all over the world that are es­sen­tially the walk­ing dead.”

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