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Jul 25 2014

Has the Sixth Mass Extinction on Planet Earth Already Begun?

Though it is well known that many species are currently facing endangerment, the seriousness and extent of the issue aren’t as well known.  Judging by the great drops in the numbers of many species around the world, the familiar processes, and the beginning of drastic changes in the ecosystem, scientists worry that the sixth mass extinction on planet earth is getting closer.

The biodiversity on planet earth has continuously increased over its billions of years in existence, and currently is at the height of it.

Scientists explain that the sixth mass extinction can be directly linked to human behavior.  While the five other previous extinctions can be attributed instances such as natural planetary changes or interference by catastrophic asteroid strikes, the current one, that many scientists believe is already in its early stages, only leaves us to blame.

earth in hands

WIth the increase of human population and expansion, the decrease of many other species has followed.  A devastating and predictive fact in the matter is that since the human population has doubled in the past 35 years, the number of invertebrate species, which includes butterflies, beetles, spiders and words has plummeted to an astounding 55% of their populations in the same time period.

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The ecosystem is tightly interdependent, so while certain species seem to flourish, others will suffer, and the suffering will eventually spread.  With the destruction of the habitats of animals, the disruption in the global climate, and disintegration of many species already happening, it is not hard to imagine that these occurrences will eventually have a percolating effect up the ecosystem.

Not only have many invertebrates began to severely decrease, but species in the megafauna class, such as the elephant, polar bear, rhinoceros, and countless others are currently facing extreme endangerment.  What is crucial to the success of these populations is the success of their habitats, their food supply (which is sustained by other creatures in the ecosystem below them, such as the invertebrates to the megafauna) and noninterference by humans.

Due to the megafauna species often being hunting by humans, their long gestational periods and lack of habitats and food, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for these declining species to get ahead.

elephant mother and baby

Without extreme changes from the current practices that are happening on planet Earth, the detriment of the ecosystem is sure to continue.

elephant in habitatgiraffes and cars ecosystem chart