Biological Annihilation. This is how scientists are now describing the recent magnitude of species’ extinction over recent decades. In a recent study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say that Earth has entered its sixth mass extinction.
Scientists gathered data on both common and rare species throughout the globe. They concluded large amount of animal populations have been lost. Scientists blame these mass deaths on human overpopulation and overconsumption.
The man who led the study, Professor Gerardo Ceballos said “The situation has become so bad it would not be ethical not to use strong language.” The scientists warn that if we do not change our actions soon this mass extinction could also threaten the survival of mankind.
The publication reported, “The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences. Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.”
Past studies, of this kind, have shown that species are becoming extinct at a significantly faster rate than years before. However, they also find that extinctions are rare and seem as though loss of life is much more gradual. On the other hand, this recent study looked at a broader picture. Rather than just assessing loss of population they also looked at loss of range (where the animal lived across the globe).
The Guardian reports “The scientists found that a third of the thousands of species losing populations are not currently considered endangered and that up to 50% of all individual animals have been lost in recent decades.” Furthermore, CNN reported one of the study’s key findings as “Nearly one-third of the 27,600 land-based mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile species studied are shrinking in terms of their numbers and territorial range. The researchers called that an ‘extremely high degree of population decay.'”
Cebellos added, “It will, sadly, take a long time to humanely begin the population shrinkage required if civilization is to long survive, but much could be done on the consumption front and with ‘band aids’ – wildlife reserves, diversity protection laws – in the meantime.”