Extinction is a sharp decline in the abundance and diversity of large species. This phenomenon occurs when the extinction rate increases rapidly compared to the rate of species formation. Since life appeared on Earth, our planet has experienced 5 mass extinction events, with 50% of the species of plants and animals extinct.
During most major extinctions, about 70-95% of the plant, animal and microorganism species that once existed on the planet disappeared. The most recent, and most well known, mass extinction occurred 66 years ago, when a giant meteorite struck the Earth, causing 75% of life on Earth, including dinosaurs, to be erased. complete book.
The 6th Great Extinction is happening much faster than expected
For many years, scientists have repeatedly warned us that we are in the middle of the 6th Earth’s mass extinction. The danger is that five previous extinctions were caused by natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions and meteorites hitting the Earth. However, with the 6th major extinction, the culprit causing the widespread disappearance of animals is human.
More alarmingly, the pace of the 6th Earth’s mass extinction is much faster than all predictions, at least in the last few decades, according to the latest research published in the scientific journal. Proceedings of the American National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Professor Gerardo Ceballos González, one of the study’s authors, said about 173 species have disappeared in just over a decade, from 2001 to 2014.
“There have been 173 extinct species. The extinction rate is 25 times faster than the normal evolutionary conditions of nature. If in the last 100 years, more than 400 species of vertebrates have disappeared, with the main cause being human. Meanwhile, this process normally takes at least 10,000 years. ”
“This is all our fault,” Professor Gerardo stressed.
In particular, this process is even faster and stronger as the oceans are constantly heating up, deforestation and climate change are causing the diversity of vegetation to be seriously compromised, as well as The number of animals is declining at an unprecedented speed every year
According to estimates by scientists, 1 million of the 8 million species of plants and animals in the world are facing extinction. The extinction risk of many species is now at least a dozen times higher than the average of 10 million years.
Since the creation of early civilizations up to now, humans have significantly changed the environment on Earth. About 75% of the Earth’s land and 66% of its marine ecosystems have been transformed in several forms. Humans are also responsible for destroying natural ecosystems, contributing to the elimination of 600 plant species in the past 250 years. Due to human impact, the speed of extinction of a plant species is up to 500 times faster.
More worrisome, the disappearance of some plants and animals will create “extinction domino effect”. In nature, all animals are closely related in many ways. As noted by PNAS’s research group, many endangered species are concentrated mainly in areas that are strongly impacted by human hands. The loss of even one species can disrupt the food chain, resulting in the entire biological community collapsing.
Refer to Science Alert