Earth entering new extinction phase – report
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.”