Is a mass extinction happening now

Is a mass extinction happening now - nsf.gov - National...

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NSF Web Site Press Release 11-046 Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction: Is It Almost Here? Steep decline of many animal species warns that Earth is on the brink Earth's warming climate is contributing to an infection responsible for tropical frog extinctions. Credit and Larger Version March 2, 2011 With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that have occurred just five times during the past 540 million years. Each of these "Big Five" saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct. In results of a study published in this week's issue of journal Nature , researchers report on an assessment of where mammals and other species stand today in terms of possible extinction compared with the past 540 million years. They find cause for hope--and alarm. "If you look only at the critically endangered mammals--those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations--and assume that their time will run out and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm," said Anthony Barnosky, an integrative biologist at the University of California at Berkeley, and first author of the paper. Barnosky is also a curator in the university's Museum of Paleontology and a research paleontologist in its Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. "A modern global mass extinction is a largely unaddressed hazard of climate change and human activities," said H. Richard Lane, program director in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research. "Its continued progression, as this paper shows, could result in unforeseen--and A female polar bear walks along the shore of Canada's Hudson Bay, waiting for ice to form. Credit and Larger Version A burst of gamma rays reaching Earth may have caused an extinction 440 million years ago. Credit and Larger Version
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2011 for the course BIO 201 taught by Professor True during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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Is a mass extinction happening now - nsf.gov - National...

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