Sixth Mass Extinction Is Here Says Stanford Researcher

Written by on March 24, 2016 in Eco-Friendly, Environment with 21 Comments
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Article source: Phys.org

There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence.

That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened , populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

“[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great ,” Ehrlich said.

Although most well known for his positions on human population, Ehrlich has done extensive work on extinctions going back to his 1981 book, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species. He has long tied his work on coevolution, on racial, gender and economic justice, and on nuclear winter with the issue of wildlife populations and .


There is general agreement among scientists that rates have reached levels unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. However, some have challenged the theory, believing earlier estimates rested on assumptions that overestimated the crisis.

The new study, published in the journal Science Advances, shows that even with extremely conservative estimates, species are disappearing up to about 100 times faster than the normal rate between mass extinctions, known as the background rate.

“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on,” said lead author Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Autónoma de México.


Conservative approach

Using fossil records and extinction counts from a range of records, the researchers compared a highly conservative estimate of current extinctions with a background rate estimate twice as high as those widely used in previous analyses. This way, they brought the two estimates – current extinction rate and average background or going-on-all-the-time extinction rate – as close to each other as possible.

Focusing on vertebrates, the group for which the most reliable modern and fossil data exist, the researchers asked whether even the lowest estimates of the difference between background and contemporary still justify the conclusion that people are precipitating “a global spasm of biodiversity loss.” The answer: a definitive yes.

“We emphasize that our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis, because our aim was to place a realistic lower bound on humanity's impact on biodiversity,” the researchers write.

To history's steady drumbeat, a human population growing in numbers, per capita consumption and economic inequity has altered or destroyed natural habitats. The long list of impacts includes:

  • Land clearing for farming, logging and settlement
  • Introduction of invasive species
  • Carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification
  • Toxins that alter and poison ecosystems

Now, the specter of extinction hangs over about 41 percent of all amphibian species and 26 percent of all mammals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which maintains an authoritative list of threatened and extinct species.

“There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead,” Ehrlich said.

As species disappear, so do crucial ecosystem services such as honeybees' crop pollination and wetlands' water purification. At the current rate of species loss, people will lose many biodiversity benefits within three generations, the study's authors write. “We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on,” Ehrlich said.

Hope for the future

Despite the gloomy outlook, there is a meaningful way forward, according to Ehrlich and his colleagues. “Avoiding a true sixth will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already , and to alleviate pressures on their populations – notably habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain and climate change,” the study's authors write.

In the meantime, the researchers hope their work will inform conservation efforts, the maintenance of ecosystem services and public policy.

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21 Reader Comments

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  1. patricbr@iafrica.com' Padraigin Eagle says:

    Stanford: New world orders

    The 666 mass extinction, as orchestrated by The Cabal, Fukushima meltdown on-going since March 2011, radioactive irradiating all and sundry, unreported by the lame stream media, not mentioned by the oh so bright Bing person’s, industrial scale purposeful pollution of land and water and air by those who for human’s have no care, Gulf of Mexico waters oil destroyed, electronic smog permeates the landscape, Geo-engineered weather, HAARP and chemical trails causing earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, drought, species destruction (think honey bees bing folk), endless orchestrated wars upon endless home and foreign shores, etc, so yes, The Eagle reminds Conscious Life News to ensure that the news is from those that Be Truly Conscious, and surely not via advocates for the Agenda 21 UN scam upon modern man, population reduction by war, famine and laboratory designed viral infarction, Pope we see you and your motley Tribal cretinous crew.

  2. sbarwari@hotmail.ci.uk' sheila says:

    You only have to read the bible and the Quran to know there is truth in this. But I am afraid we don’t read and we don’t want to know. This is why religion has to take second place 1st place is to unite in commitment and then do as we have been asked by god or Allah, which one you follow will take you on the right path. Lets hope its not to late.

  3. gilljaipal@gmail.com' Jps Shergill says:

    Next in line is extinction of the human race.With the Devll’s army,the ISIS , gaining weapons of mass destruction,nuclear,chemicals and biological,they will soon occupy the Middle East and then proceed to anhilate Europe,Africa and Asia.NATO and US will retaliate with their nuclear arsenal and wipe out all life and vegetation in the Eastern Hemisphere.Most of the Western Hemisphere will also lie desolate due to IS’s nuclear tipped missile attacks.
    The only hope is in containing ISIS, Right now,before they acquire WOMD There is not a minute to lose

  4. 214530142214223@facebook.com' Lance Smith says:

    Have we learned nothing about academia, just as corrupt as the government, they will say anything to further receiving grants

  5. 1147266621974619@facebook.com' Ryan Williams says:

    I’m just waiting for the human mass extinction. ?

  6. 515517401961234@facebook.com' Rodel Estrada says:

    wait for it…………….:)

  7. 1570337783278328@facebook.com' Zion Son says:

    This guy is becoming a joke. Man, I used to respect you. What is this nonsense you posting.
    Damn, you too?
    Wow, there is really no dignity left in humanity.

  8. 1943636282527731@facebook.com' Sylvester Chisanga says:

    The earth is a leaving body and it takes care of itself. Stop causing harm to it and you will continue to survive on it as a friendly well come parasites.

  9. 964701800253785@facebook.com' Jason Caruso says:

    OK, time to go. Overall, we did not do a good job. Hopefully the next population of intelligent beings will do better

  10. 975773539172738@facebook.com' Ramezan Vahidi says:

    Permaculture is the answer to avoid or at least delay this mass extinction.

  11. 1636027470006756@facebook.com' Baaleko Kalika says:

    erlich represents oligarchs and malthusians who do inded seek eugenic depopulation, transhumanism and the rest. as usual, he and the rest of the minions are using fact of mass extinction – which we cant really do shit about, to hype their own agenda. how bout gaia bout to clean house and reboot her divine experiment? no archontic “anthropogenic” input is required; the mahashakti and mahakundala of this planet has many times “extincted” mass species and rejuvenated her web of life many times, likely more than humans have shitted our nest and turned against our environment, thus ensuring our self-destruction. these eggheads act as if gaia-sophia has no say in the matter, they must save humanity from the threats of nature. good luck blind ones, i wont be seeing you in the abyss.

  12. 719437318186586@facebook.com' Karl Meinhardt says:

    Mmm yes : dealing with numbers in the millions and we are within 50 years .., cool

  13. 935620783141458@facebook.com' Neil Reynolds says:

    I’m just off down the Winchester till all this blows over ?

  14. 606533142783310@facebook.com' Buck Rogers says:

    They the super rich have waged war on the population and there is nothing out of the question as to what they will do to achieve this and achieve this they done and every mouthful of food or drink you take in will in fact have a effect on the body to not have children and at the same time eliminate you and your children asap.

  15. 234528410220135@facebook.com' Mikołaj Kraszewski says:

    It’d really be better without humans…

  16. 915999761798490@facebook.com' Victoria Koegle-Barkan says:

    Frankly, the way man is going, it is time to start over.

  17. 151381208586082@facebook.com' Venus Fairchild says:

    Not according to everyone following the planet’s ascension to the 5th dimension. This cycle belongs to the light and begins now! Find an ascension leader…. plenty on here!

  18. 10208174454771558@facebook.com' Stan Steegeling says:

    Great fun ahead of us! ???

  19. 10205343042046158@facebook.com' Val Constantine says:

    I can’t wait for it to happen. . Serves us well. ..

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