According to a recent study, the modern world is experiencing a sixth great extinction of animal species in the 20th century and humans are to blame. This is despite the lowest estimates of extinction rates considered.
The study was titled “Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction.”
The rate of extinction for species in the 20th century was up to 100 times higher than it would have been without the impact of humans, according to scientists.
According to the study, two species go extinct per 10,000 species per century under a natural rate of extinction instead of one species as the earlier work has presumed.
Gerardo Ceballos, one of the authors of the study said, “We were very surprised to see how bad it is.”
Ceballos went on to say, “This is very depressing because we used the most conservative rates, and even then they are much higher than the normal extinction rate, really indicating we are having a massive loss of the species.”
For years, a number of conservationists have been warning that mass extinction event similar to the one that annihilated the dinosaurs is taking place as humans destroy and degrade habitats.
Furthermore, Ceballos said, “It’s really signaling we’ve entered a sixth extinction and it’s driven by man.”
The Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network chair Prof Henrique Miguel Pereira on the other hand said that the study titled “Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction” has nothing revolutionarily new.
The study does not yet confirm a sixth mass extinction although the study argues that the recent extinction rates are up to 100 times higher than in the past does improve the documentation of the process.
The study was published on Science Advances and was authored by Gerardo Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich, Anthony Barnosky, Andres Garcia, Robert Pringle and Todd Palmer.