Humans Pushing Extinction Rates Up Faster Than Species Can Evolve - Will Hit 10,000x Historic Rates

fossil fish photo

photo: Kevin Walsh via flickr.

You've probably heard the stat that extinction rates are currently somewhere between 100-1000 times historic levels, which is bad enough, but now the Guardian reports the head of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says that we've "almost certainly" crossed the threshold where species aren't evolving fast enough to keep up with increasing extinction rates.In fact Simon Stuart went on the say that predictions made by biologist EO Wilson that the extinction rate could hit 10,000 times the background rate by 2030 are bearing out.

All the evidence is he's right. Some people claim it already is that...things can only have deteriorated because of the drivers of the losses, such as habitat loss and climate change, are getting worse. But we haven't measured extinction rates again since 2004 and because our current estimates contain a tenfold range there has to be a very big deterioration or improvement to pick up a change.

For those wondering what this background rate talk is about, the fossil record shows that historically there has been a steady rate of extinction of about one per million species every year.

Read more: The Guardian
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