Adrian Covert — Researchers at Cal Berkeley say that we—we being humans—have probably triggered the sixth mass extinction in our planet’s history (the first man-made mass extinction!). Thanks to the last 500 years of over-fishing, overhunting, habitation destruction, and fossil-fuel-induced global warming, we could have the blood of over 75% of Earth’s current living species on our hands.
Maybe people are being paranoid, but those who have tracked extinction rates throughout history think otherwise:
Until mankind’s big expansion some 500 years ago, mammal extinctions were very rare: on average, just two species died out every million years.
But in the last five centuries, at least 80 out of 5,570 mammal species have bitten the dust, providing a clear warning of the peril to biodiversity.
“It looks like modern extinction rates resemble mass extinction rates, even after setting a high bar for defining ‘mass extinction,” said researcher Anthony Barnosky.
Luckily for you, these mass extinction things take thousands, even millions, of years to play out, and its full impact wont even hit for another “3 to 22 centuries.” So you won’t feel nearly as much guilt/stress/terror as some remote descendant of yours in the future. No worries, right?! [AFP]