According to a new, international study from Stanford University, the planet’s current biodiversity has reached it’s peak and tipping point. Well, we’ve had a good run — “3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error.” Welcome to “the early days of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event.”
Since 1500, we have lost more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates to extinction. In the last 35 years, human population has doubled. The number of invertebrates (like insects that pollinate 75% of the world’s food crops) has decreased by 45%. Science Daily explains how human-made “loss of habitat and global climate disruption” has caused all this:
And while previous extinctions have been driven by natural planetary transformations or catastrophic asteroid strikes, the current die-off can be associated to human activity, a situation that the lead author Rodolfo Dirzo, a professor of biology at Stanford, designates an era of “Anthropocene defaunation.”
Currently, 16 to 33 percent of all species of vertebrates are threatened or endangered worldwide. Another sign of upcoming mass extinction — polar bears, elephants, rhinos and other large animals are declining at the highest rate. The trickle-down effect on other species including humans will be devastating. Ecosystems are already crumbling. Eventually, we’ll even run out of seeds.
The only animals that will come out ok are rodents. Their population will actually double, along with the “disease-carrying ectoparasites that they harbor.” Dirty rats will rule the world.
Though the season of defaunation, disease and parasite-ridden rodents is beginning, full on extinction won’t kick in during our life time. If we want to help future generations of humanity, scientist advise that we start by “immediately reducing rates of habitat change and overexploitation.” Or go back to killing each other and ruining everything. (Photo: @sarahakabmg, Wikipedia)