Jump to content
Mr Rayon

How quickly are animals going to extinction?

Recommended Posts

At what rate are animals disappearing because of global warming?

 

I heard that the extinction rate is phenomenal and is as high as it has ever been. But how high is it exactly?

 

Does anybody know?

Edited by Voltman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What source did you hear that the extinction rate is very high from?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At what rate are animals disappearing because of global warming?

 

I heard that the extinction rate is phenomenal and is as high as it has ever been. But how high is it exactly?

 

Does anybody know?

 

It's difficult to get precise figures on rates of extinction in the past and present, but yes, most estimates put the current extinction rate at much higher than background rates - perhaps even thousands of times higher. While global warming might contribute to that, it's much less of a factor (so far) than things like habitat loss, introduction of invasive species, and overhunting causing ripple effects through whole ecosystems. This has been going on for thousands of years, and continues to accelerate. Basically, you've got one species, humans, suddenly (in geological timespan) exploding in population, occupying every ecosystem on Earth, and modifying its environment to an extreme degree. Of course there is going to be tremendous disruption and mass extinction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No-one knows.

 

Why is that? Because we have not found and described every species on the Earth alive today. Unless we know this, the best we can do is estimate.

 

What we can tell from the species that we do know of, the rate is fast enough to be considered the beginning of the next mass extinction. Caused almost exclusively by us (lovely bunch we are).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the emotional/ethical concerns about species extinction are motivated by an inaccurate 'museum-piece' picture of the nature of life on earth. Nature is a highly dynamic, constantly and essentially changing process, and it is in contrast a highly artificial, anthropocentric view of nature which insists that nature should be static and all its presently existing species should be preserved or something immoral is going on. What nature is, considered most essentially and in itself, independently of human opinions about what it should be, is a dynamic system of ecological niches opening and closing which are rapidly filled with new species adaptations and then rapidly emptied of those species as complex interactions of climate, inter-species competition, and geography cause some new species to come into existence and others to drop out of existence. Species extinction is natural.

 

Given their heartiness compared to other entities, naturally cancer-resistant sharks and naturally radiation-resistant cockroaches could well be the only two species left on the planet. The ultimate point is, nature would not 'care,' and this outcome would be entirely natural. What would amount to a freakish transformation of nature would be humans intervening to preserve every species which now contingently happens to exist at this particular conjuncture of the evolutionary dynamic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only have data for "species", not just animals.

 

Based on records from the past 500 years: birds are becoming extinct at a rate of 26 per million species per year.

 

Factoring species that have become extinct without being recorded, and destruction of habitat: 100 per million per year

 

If you assume these figures applies to all 10 million species on earth:

1,000 species lost per year - 3 per day. Obviously, this is a very rough estimate.

 

Source - a recent issue of New Scientist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.