Monday, June 11, 2007

Ten animals that might be extinct within the next decade

I mentioned here that it's important to raise awareness about biodiverstity because we're currently experiencing the 6th mass extinction in world history, and given the post immediately preceeding this one, I thought it fitting to link to Scientific American's slide show "10 Animals That May Go Extinct in the Next 10 Years." Here's the description of the show from the link

Extinction is a natural process. As evolution hums along, species disappear and new species emerge in an ongoing dynamic called "background extinction." Geologic history has also been punctuated by five great "mass extinctions"—precipitous declines in the number of species spurred by dramatic events such as an asteroid impact or changing sea levels.

Today we are witnessing what some experts believe to be the "sixth wave of extinction," a species diminution that appears to be the handiwork of humankind. Experts estimate that the current extinction rate is somewhere between 100 and 1,000 times higher than the background rate (others say it is even higher, up to 10,000 times the usual background extinction rate).

There are currently 3,071 "critically endangered" species in the world, according to the World Conservation Union, also known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), a collaboration of 83 countries, 800 nongovernmental organizations and 10,000 scientists and experts devoted to preserving Earth's biodiversity. According to the IUCN, species assessed at the critically endangered level "face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild unless the pressures on them are relieved." Here are just a few of these species

2 comments:

cmanlong said...

Aren’t we finding 1000's of new species a year?? They even recently found a new large mammal. And isn't extinction part of evolution? Without extinction there would be no evolution, no "survival of the fittest", as all would survive. Extinction is a natural part of natural selection and is not an inherently bad thing. I’m being a bit facetious, but my point is that to for us as humans to be so self-indulgent to think that we are the “cause” of everything from extinctions to global warming is the ultimate in selfishness. Extinction happened at a far faster rate at times in our history, global warming has happened many, many times, as has cooling, thousands even millions of years before we were ever around.

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Hume's Ghost said...

Aren’t we finding 1000's of new species a year??

Yes.

And isn't extinction part of evolution?

Yes.

Without extinction there would be no evolution, no "survival of the fittest", as all would survive.

False. Evolution can and does occur absent of extinction.

Extinction is a natural part of natural selection and is not an inherently bad thing.

True. And the post you are commenting on contains quoted text that states this. Repeating that back as some sort of rebuttal is a bit of a strange debate tactic.

my point is that to for us as humans to be so self-indulgent to think that we are the “cause” of everything from extinctions to global warming is the ultimate in selfishness.

Your point is an assertion based in arm-chair speculation about the psychological motivations of scientists who have determined the reality of the fact that the current warming trend and the elevated extinction rate are human driven events.

Extinction happened at a far faster rate at times in our history,

This point is irrelevant regardless of whether or not it is true.

global warming has happened many, many times, as has cooling, thousands even millions of years before we were ever around.

Ditto. It is irrelevant. These are trivial objections, and ridiculous to think that the world's scientific community did not take into account such considerations.