Scientists: “We are facing the beginning of the sixth mass extinction”

A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the National Museum of Natural History in Paris say that we are facing “the beginning of the sixth mass extinction in the history of the Earth.”

According to the specialists, an analysis of the biodiversity of invertebrate species allows us to point out that the global extinction event is already on its way, and far from being a catastrophic event like past mass extinctions, this time it is a gradual process caused by human activity.

The results of the joint investigation were published in the journal Biological Reviews, and consisted of analyzing information on the biodiversity of different invertebrate species.

By extrapolating data on land snails and different species of slugs, experts estimate that since 1500 the Earth would have lost between 7.75 and 13 percent of some 2 million species of invertebrates. The figure would be equivalent to the loss of between 150,000 and 260,000 species.

Robert Cowie, a professor at the University of Hawaii Manoa School of Ocean Sciences and Technology Research Center at Manoa, says his research results provide evidence against “the biased view” that Earth is not in the sixth mass extinction

According to the specialist, some scientists focus this event on mammals and birds, but ignore invertebrate species, which make up the majority of biodiversity.

“Including invertebrates was key to confirming that we are witnessing the start of the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history,” says Cowie.

On top of that, the expert said that the denial of the scientific evidence that maintains that we are heading for a catastrophic scenario for biodiversity only exacerbates the problem. “To deny the crisis, to accept it without reacting or encouraging it, is to abdicate the human responsibility to preserve our world, and paves the way for us to continue towards the sixth mass extinction,” he concludes.

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