Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cal Scientists: The End is Near

By Ellen Cushing
Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Well, here's some uplifting news: according to an article written by a bunch of UC Berkeley paleobiologists and published in last Wednesday's edition of Nature, the earth may be close to mass extinction. Like, really close. According to the study, current patterns indicate that we could lose 75 percent or more of the earth's animal species within the next 300 years, making this the sixth such mass wipeout in the last 540 million years (just in case you're not totally fucking terrified yet, keep in mind that the last one of these was the one that KILLED THE DINOSAURS 65 million years ago.)

Though changing global habits related to conservation, population growth, and development could steer us back on track, things aren't looking good, as the current rate of extinction is estimated to be three to 80 times higher than what's typically considered normal.

“If you look only at the critically endangered mammals — those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations — and assume that their time will run out, and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal, and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm,” principal author Anthony D. Barnosky told UC Berkeley's NewsCenter.


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