Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Well, we’re pessimistic bloggers, so let’s go with bad news first: 15 to 42 percent of mammal species have become extinct since humans arrived on this Earth. In fact, a recent study coauthored by Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, suggests that we’re “well on our way” to Earth’s sixth mass extinction.

The good news? No more pesky rodents constantly underfoot, with their … adorable whiskers and bright, intelligent eyes.

OK, not much of a silver lining. Especially when the study suggests that most of this mammal-dying is due to man-made causes like “habitat destruction, pollution, and now global warming.”

If we increase our conservation efforts, Barnosky says, there’s still a chance at staving off another mass extinction. “By demonstrating that we have already lost 15 to 42 percent of mammalian diversity, the question is, do we really want to lose any more? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious,” Barnosky states in the article.

Need more convincing to recycle? Here are some of the species that went extinct during man’s tenure on the Earth: giant ground sloths, beautiful armadillos, American camels, Columbian mammoths, giant beavers, American Scimitar cats and dire wolves. Most of the extinctions have occurred in North America.

We’ve already lost giant ground sloths. What will we lose next? Regular sloths? Our hearts couldn’t take it. So let’s make a pact: no more mammals will go the way of the dodo. Not on our watch.

Image source: azrainman under Creative Commons
Earth on track for epic die-off, scientists say [San Francisco Chronicle]


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