Author Topic: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction  (Read 3366 times)

Offline stromboli

World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« on: May 31, 2014, 09:49:43 AM »
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, a new study says.

The study looks at past and present rates of extinction and finds a lower rate in the past than scientists had thought. Species are now disappearing from Earth about 10 times faster than biologists had believed, said study lead author noted biologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.

"We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," Pimm said from research at the Dry Tortugas. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions."

The work, published Thursday by the journal Science, was hailed as a landmark study by outside experts.

Pimm's study focused on the rate, not the number, of species disappearing from Earth. It calculated a "death rate" of how many species become extinct each year out of 1 million species.

In 1995, Pimm found that the pre-human rate of extinctions on Earth was about 1. But taking into account new research, Pimm and his colleagues refined that background rate to about 0.1.

Now, that death rate is about 100 to 1,000, Pimm said.
Numerous factors are combining to make species disappear much faster than before, said Pimm and co-author Clinton Jenkins of the Institute of Ecological Research in Brazil. But the No. 1 issue is habitat loss. Species are finding no place to live as more places are built up and altered by humans.

Add to that invasive species crowding out native species, climate change affecting where species can survive, and overfishing, Pimm said.

The buffy-tufted-ear marmoset is a good example, Jenkins said. Its habitat has shrunk because of development in Brazil, and a competing marmoset has taken over where it lives. Now ,it's on the international vulnerable list.

The oceanic white-tip shark used to be one of the most abundant predators on Earth and they have been hunted so much they are now rarely seen, said Dalhousie University marine biologist Boris Worm, who wasn't part of the study but praised it. "If we don't do anything, this will go the way of the dinosaurs."

Five times, a vast majority of the world's life has been snuffed out in what have been called mass extinctions, often associated with giant meteor strikes. About 66 million years ago, one such extinction killed off the dinosaurs and three out of four species on Earth. Around 252 million years ago, the Great Dying snuffed out about 90 percent of the world's species.

Pimm and Jenkins said there is hope. Both said the use of smartphones and applications such as iNaturalist will help ordinary people and biologists find species in trouble, they said. Once biologists know where endangered species are they can try to save habitats and use captive breeding and other techniques to save the species, they said.

One success story is the golden lion tamarin. Decades ago the tiny primates were thought to be extinct because of habitat loss, but they were then found in remote parts of Brazil, bred in captivity and biologists helped set aside new forests for them to live in, Jenkins said.

"Now there are more tamarins than there are places to put them," he said.

Hey, a little happy news for your Saturday morning.  :biggrin:

I'm sure the thought of the Buffy Tufted Ear Marmoset dying off will get all those industrial billionaires all weepy and they will bend over backwards to save them. Or not. Like the Spotted Burrowing Owl or the California Condor, the loss of an individual species doesn't exactly raise dire warnings to most people. And in many cases, these animals are at the top of the food chain or were not numerous enough to have a large impact on the overall picture.

In any case, individual species die off is happening all the time; the rate of die off is now the problem. And yes, habitat is the big issue. Something most people don't see, at least in civilized areas. But as someone who spends time in the outdoors, I have seen it. I have seen animals dying of starvation because of overgrazing limited areas with too big a population, and so on.

I have also seen the impact of invasive species. 2 of my favorite fishing spots in Idaho were wiped out by a form of moss that somebody brought in on the bottom of their boat. The expense created dealing with it is another issue. Now to use a boat in Idaho, you have to stop at roadside checking points and have your boat looked at to see if you are bringing in anything.

People don't see this until it hits them in the pocketbook or something they like is no longer available at the store. Stick around. It will happen. When your can of pickeled Herring is replaced by a can of Asian Swamp Eel, you'll get the point.
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Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 12:29:06 PM »
There's too many people on the Earth. Figure out how to fix that and this will go away.

Online PopeyesPappy

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 12:32:58 PM »
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There's too many people on the Earth. Figure out how to fix that and this will go away.

A good first step would be dropping a nuke on Vatican City.

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Offline the_antithesis

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 12:40:06 PM »
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There's too many people on the Earth. Figure out how to fix that and this will go away.
Cross breed humans with ocelots and then after mating, women will bite men's nuts off.

Offline Solitary

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 01:06:50 PM »
 The Church being against birth control, and the quiver society, would be a start. Ignorant people that think the oceans are so huge and that there is so much land that over fishing and over population are not a problem, need to be educated that it is the decimating of resources and pollution that it causes that is. But as long as they keep praying and sticking their heads in the sand we are doomed to extinction.  No great loss in my opinion after what we have done for thousands of years with our ignorance thinking it is knowledge. Have nice day!  :pidu: Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline stromboli

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 01:37:13 PM »
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There's too many people on the Earth. Figure out how to fix that and this will go away.

Agreed.
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Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 07:52:11 PM »
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Agreed.
So what's the best way to go about this?

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 08:05:58 PM »
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So what's the best way to go about this?
Bread and circuses.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline aitm

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 08:09:12 PM »
 :axe:



More guns....
A humans desire to live is exceeded only by their willingness to die for another. Even god cannot equal this magnificent sacrifice. No god has the right to judge them.-first tenant of the Panotheust

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 08:15:10 PM »
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:axe:



More guns....
Nein! Let them stupid themselves to death.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2014, 08:30:52 PM »
The solution to over-population is obvious: tell women come tastes like chocolate.

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 03:56:25 AM »
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The solution to over-population is obvious: tell women come tastes like chocolate.

They'll figure that out way too quickly.   Tell them it's a dieting and anti-wrinkle system.
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real
tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline Mandingo

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 07:50:31 AM »
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Cross breed humans with ocelots and then after mating, women will bite men's nuts off.

After mating that's pretty useless, anti!

Offline Mandingo

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2014, 07:53:10 AM »
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The solution to over-population is obvious: tell women come tastes like chocolate.

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They'll figure that out way too quickly.   Tell them it's a dieting and anti-wrinkle system.

When you start dating, Jason, you will find out they already know that.
Why else would they date you?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 08:03:06 AM by Mandingo »

Re: World on the Brink of Sixth Great Extinction
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 08:26:43 AM »
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After mating that's pretty useless, anti!
They only do it once.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

 

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