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Are we in a 6th mass extinction?

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses whether we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction event on Earth.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Are we in a 6th mass extinction?

1. Questions related to the content of the section:

  • The article discusses whether the sixth mass extinction is underway or inevitable, given the current rate of species loss and habitat destruction caused by human activities.
  • Some researchers argue that the sixth mass extinction has already started, as species are going extinct 100-1000 times faster than the normal background rate. However, others argue that the 75% threshold for a mass extinction event has not yet been reached.
  • Estimates suggest the 75% threshold could be reached within 10,000 years or even a few centuries if the current trends continue.

2. Key facts and data:

  • The five previous mass extinction events in Earth's history resulted in at least 75% of species going extinct.
  • A 2022 study estimated that up to 13% of known species have gone extinct since 1500, which is well below the 75% mass extinction threshold.
  • A 2022 WWF report found that monitored vertebrate populations declined by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018, with the highest regional decline of 94% in Latin America.
  • A study on Hawaii's Amastridae snails found that only 15 out of 282 historically present species could be confirmed as still alive, which the researchers described as a "mass extinction".

[02] What can be done to prevent the 6th mass extinction?

1. Questions related to the content of the section:

  • The article suggests that it is not too late to save most species heading for extinction and prevent the sixth mass extinction threshold from being reached.
  • However, the window of opportunity to turn things around is closing rapidly as biodiversity is being decimated at an astounding rate.

2. Key facts and data:

  • The article states that "we still have a chance to turn things around, but the window of opportunity for that is slamming shut fast."
  • Addressing the rapid decline in wildlife populations and habitat destruction is crucial to preventing the sixth mass extinction.
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