Science Weekly: Scientists warn early stages of another mass extinction on Earth

Biodiversity on the planet is through trial and error. Species evolve and thrive while others go extinct. Scientists from all around the world published a new study in the journal Science that cautions about the signs of decline in animals which points to the early signs of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event.

The population in species show a 25 percent decline in abundance for vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Scientists say that although previous extinctions have been a result of natural planetary transformations or other catastrophic cosmic events, the current extinction can be associated to humans.

Across all vertebrates, 16 to 33 percent of all species globally are in danger or threatened.

Elephants, rhinos, polar bears and other large animals face the highest rate of decline which match past extinction events. The larger animals produce fewer offspring and have a lower population growth rate.

If the larger species of animals go extinct could shake the stability of other species, such as humans.

An experiment in Kenya where isolated patches of land were isolated from megafauna which include zebra, elephants and giraffes to observe how the ecosystem reacted. The areas were overwhelmed by rodents. Grass and shrubs increased and the risk of predation dropped.

The doubling of rodents also led to the doubling of disease-carrying ectoparasites (ticks, fleas, scabei, mites, etc.).

As the human population has doubled within the past 35 years, the number of invertebrate animals has decreased by 45 percent.

Scientists say immediately reducing rates of habitat change, over-exploitation and raising awareness of this mass extinction may help.

Information compiled from