Comprehensive studies of extinctions have now quantified the rate of extinction and creation of species. Previous extinctions were caused by asteroid strikes and megavolcanoes. The current rate of extinction is even greater than those periods.

“Even by their conservative estimates, almost 200 species of vertebrates have become extinct in the last 100 years. This is equivalent to around two species a year. In past extinctions, the loss of 200 species would have taken up to 10,000 years.” – Word Economic Forum

Previous extinction events were bad enough, some killing off over 90% of the species. Such events also created opportunities for new species. One seems to have been the cause of the rise of multi-cellular life. Another brought an end to the era of the giant dinosaurs, made them evolve into birds, and also created a niche for mammals to thrive within. A common perception is that the extinctions are common. This extinction event is above normal, and even 100 times above the five most extreme extinction events. Another common perception is that extinctions happen to other species. Humans are a species, too, which is one of the concerns. Previous extinction events eliminated or drastically reduced previously dominant species. The same thing could happen this time too, and at a 100 times greater pace.

One thought on “Sixth Mass Extinction

  1. Pingback: Data That Matters September 2017 | Pretending Not To Panic

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