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The Earth Is Headed To A 6th Mass Extinction, Study Says

The remaining animal species on Earth are disappearing at a rate that scientists say is 114 times higher than in the past, and the party responsi

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The remaining animal species on Earth are disappearing at a rate that scientists say is 114 times higher than in the past, and the party responsible for this so-called 6th mass extinction are humans. According to the study “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction,” published in the journal ScienceAdvances, since the year 1500, 338 species encompassing reptiles, fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds, have gone extinct. Of those 338, 198 species have disappeared since 1900. To break it down even further, 24 reptile species, 148 amphibian species and 158 fish species have gone the way of the dinosaur in a relatively short period of time. The scientists estimate that without human events, these animals would have taken 800 to 10,000 years to disappear. 

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The sixth extinction is unique in that man made events  such as the use of fossil fuels, the related ocean acidification, the growing of crops on 40 percent of usable land (displacing animal habitats) and other factors have launched the earth on a trajectory to the sixth mass extinction. 

“There is so much at stake,” Gerardo Ceballos, an ecologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the lead author of the study told the Los Angeles Times. “Unless we do something radically different soon, we may end up having a big catastrophic collapse of humans, not only animals." 

Anthony Barnosky, a UC Berkeley paleontologist and one of the authors of the study said that just 1 percent of the world’s 39,000 modern vertebrate species have gone extinct, but the rate has accelerated. He put the assessment more bluntly; “It’s not a done deal,” he said. “There’s still a lot we can do to reverse this. But if we do nothing, we’re screwed.”


John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata