Doomsday is here : Scientists warn we are onto sixth mass extinction
A team of researchers from the Stanford University in California have warned the world regarding the sixth mass extinction which is nearing and it threatens the existence of human species as well.
During their study, researchers found that animals are dying almost 114 times faster than their normal rate between mass extinctions, this is known as the background rate. Researchers believe this occurs due to adverse climatic changes triggered by loss of habitat and extreme pollution.
Scientists have further mentioned that their analysis is “extremely conservative”. They believe that if the species continue to disappear at the current rate, then the possibility of preventing the mass extinction or mass species disaster will be next to impossible.
The researchers further recollected the age when dinosaurs disappeared from planet Earth, way back some 65 million years ago.
Scientists have warned the world that the species are disappearing at the rate of almost “one in six” species and this will definitely affect human population in as little as three generations.
Researchers said that once the damage is done, nature could take millions of years to recover.
The study revealed some shocking facts regarding the extinction. It was observed that in a matter of only 115 years, over 400 vertebrates i.e. animals with backbone, which included 146 amphibians,80 birds, 158 species of fish, 69 mammals and 24 reptiles have vanished from planet Earth. As per scientists the rate at which these species have vanished is much faster than the normal expected rate.
In the current scenario, researchers believe 41% of all the amphibians and 26% of all the mammalian species are in the category of endangered species.
One of the lead authors in the study, professor Paul Ehrlich says: “Without any significant doubt … we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.”
He added: “There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead. We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on.”
He also emphasized on the fact that due to loss of species there is an imbalance in the ecosystem and this disruption would directly affect the human species.
Ehrlich gave two striking examples of bio-diversities which are beneficial to mankind: crop pollination by bees and wetlands’ water purification. However, he also mentioned that sadly due to disruption of ecosystem these bio diversity benefits could be lost by humans in just next three generations.
Dr Gerardo Ceballos, another lead researcher from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, warned humans that one day they (humans) could be just following the footsteps of dinosaurs and thus get disappeared from Earth!
Ceballos added: “If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”
Earth’s history has already witnessed mass extinction five times and the last one occurred 65 millions years ago. It is believed that a gigantic asteroid struck Earth some 65 millions years ago triggering massive lava eruptions and altering the climatic conditions which resulted in complete wiping out of dinosaurs from planet Earth.
The research team further mentioned: “Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations – notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change. All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity.”
The researchers finally concluded that through intensive conservation we might possibly try to prevent a “dramatic decay of biodiversity”; however the fact is that we are running out of time.
Ehrlich and his co authors believe that the entire world needs to take this matter seriously and bring some drastic amendments to conserve the threatened species, populations and habitat; they further also warn that the window of opportunity to prevent the sixth mass extinction is “rapidly closing”.
Details of the study and its findings have been published in the journal Science Advances and it clearly depicts how loss of species is closely related to climatic changes.