Evidence Shows Sixth Mass Extinction Is In Progress
- The history of Earth’s biodiversity already went five Mass Extinctions.
- All previous mass extinction events were all caused by natural phenomena.
- Scientists claim that the Sixth Mass Extinction may be in progress, but this time caused by humans.
- There are numerous signals suggesting the presence of biodiversity crisis which includes increasing extinction and decreasing abundances.
- However, some speculated that these signals could not be the Sixth Mass Extinction.
- Scientists usually use the IUCN Red List to support their stance on extinction.
- Opponents of the theory of Sixth Mass Extinction argued that the rate of species loss is the same as the background extinction rate or the normal extinction rate.
- Proponents suggest that the IUCN Red List is significantly biased and that the IUCN Red List mostly contains birds and mammals, and only a small portion of invertebrates have been evaluated against conservation criteria.
- Proponents said that if we include estimates of the true number of invertebrate extinctions, species loss rate will exceed the background rate suggesting that the Sixth Mass Extinction is underway.
- Researchers reviewed extinction rate according to realms.
- Marine organisms face significant threats; however, marine biota crisis has not reached the same level as the non-marine biota crisis.
- Island species have suffered more compared to continental species.
- Although there are clues that plants may have suffered lower extinction rate, plants face similar conservation biases as with invertebrates.
- Other extinction crisis believers thought that these evidences could be a new trajectory of evolution because humans are part of the natural world.
- Humans are the only species capable of manipulating the Earth on a grand scale, and they let the current crisis to happen.
- Numerous conservation efforts have been implemented at different levels; however, most are not species oriented and specific measures to protect every extant species individually are simply inconvenient.
- Researchers encourage the nurturing of the innate human appreciation of biodiversity, but assert strongly that biodiversity is disappearing at an unprecedented rate.
- With the mounting crisis, scientists should embrace the practices of preventive archaeology and document as many species before they go extinct.
- Without crisis intervention, we could pave the way for the Earth to carry on its unfortunate trajectory towards a Sixth Mass Extinction.
Cowie, R. H., Bouchet, P., & Fontaine, B. (2022). The Sixth Mass Extinction: fact, fiction or speculation?. Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 10.1111/brv.12816. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12816