Is a mass extinction coming?

Earth’s creatures are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which calculates that three-quarters of today’s animal species could vanish within 300 years. This is really gloom-and-doom stuff. But the good news is we haven’t come so far down the road that it’s inevitable.

Species naturally come and go over long periods of time. But what sets a mass extinction apart is that three-quarters of all species vanish quickly. Earth has already endured five mass extinctions, including the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs and other creatures 65 million years ago. Conservationists have warned for years that we are in the midst of a sixth, human-caused extinction, with species from frogs to birds to tigers threatened by climate change, disease, loss of habitat, and competition for resources with nonnative species.

The silver lining in this dark cloud is that if humans work quickly to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats now, the mass extinction can be prevented or at least delayed by thousands of years. Read more here.

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