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We're slowly creeping towards levels of mass extinction (see lines to the right), according to a recent study. Only five mass extinctions have occurred in the Earth's history and this one would the first caused directly by man.  (Source: Nature/The University of California, Berkley)

Some species, like tigers, are expected to die off entirely within the next few decades, thanks to human hunting and habitat destruction.  (Source: ZME Science)

Americans are more concerned with debating global warming than destruction of the rainforests, the planet's greatest biodiverse locations.  (Source: Google Images)
Evolution will likely overcome the role of humanity, but pressure is unlike any in history

mass extinction is a world-changing event.  In order to qualify, 75 percent of species must be eliminated within a "short" period (between a few hundred thousand years to a few million years).

This has only happened five times in history, and according to researchers at the University of California, Berkley, it's happening a sixth time. This time, they claim humans are to blame.

The worst mass extinction in history occurred during the Permian Period, when most land species perished.  While that won't likely happen, the majority of non-domesticate large land species may perish over the next a thousand years if mankind doesn't change its behavior, according to the researchers.

Anthony Barnosky, the curator of the Museum of Paleontology at UC Berkeley and another co-author of the study, comments that species go extinct today just as they have always. However, the real question is, "Is the pace of extinction we're seeing today over these short time intervals usual or unusual?"

To try to answer that question, Professor Barnosky and his student Elizabeth Ferrer had to comb both the fossil record and modern conservation biology for clues.  This wasn't easy as the fossil record has plenty of holes and the best source for modern data -- the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened and endangered species -- only has examined 2.7 percent of the planet's 1.9 million named species (which is likely far from the total species count). 

Comparing to historically-known times of normal extinction rate, the pair says that current extinction rates are conservatively estimated to be 3 to 12 time higher, with the actual multiplier possibly being as high as 80.  Even under the "best case" 3x scenario, within 22 centuries the world would reach a "mass extinction" scenario.

The team says we're just on the cusp of causing this.  Over the last 200 years we've caused approximately 1 to 2 percent of species to go extinct -- much higher than normal extinction rates.  As invertebrate data was still too week to draw strong comparisons, the study focused its efforts largely on vertebrate extinction.  Its findings were that man is driving the Earth towards a mass extinction.

The results will likely be the evolutionary mechanism being kicked into overdrive due to less species, more resources, and smaller populations of surviving species (allowing for random gene drift).  

In an interview with LiveScience, David Jablonski, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago who did not participate in the study, states, "If the fossil record tells us one thing, it's that when we kick over into a mass extinction regime, results are extreme, they're irreversible and they're unpredictable. Factors that promote success and survival during normal times seem to melt away."

The study was published [abstract] in what is arguably the science field's most prestigious journal -- Nature.  The article is drawing a great deal of attention for its comprehensive review and the startling perspective it provides.

Ms. Ferrer morosely remarks on the attention the study is drawing, "It's bittersweet, because we're showing that we have this crisis."

Some reacted to the study with prophesies of doom and gloom.  Comments Paul Ehrlich, the president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University and author of "The Population Bomb" (Sierra Club-Ballantine, 1968), "Everything we're doing in Washington [D.C.] today is working in the wrong direction. There isn't a single powerful person in the world who is really talking about what the situation is … It's hard to be cheery when you don't see the slightest sign of any real attention being paid."

Others, like Stuart Pimm, a professor of conservation ecology at Duke University, were more optimistic.  He comments, "If we have a business-as-usual scenario, it is pretty grim, but it isn't yet written. I hope that this will alert people to the fact that we are living in geologically unprecedented times. Only five times in Earth's history has life been as threatened as it is now."

Regardless of whether the trend continues or reverses, some of the extinction event's most noticeable changes may be coming soon.  Several large land predator species, including the tiger are on the verge of extinction in the wild and may vanish within a few decades.

Interestingly, while rainforest destruction continues at a break-neck pace threatening mass extinction of millions of species, mankind's attention remains largely wrapped around debating "climate change" a shift in the Earth's temperatures due to carbon dioxide -- a change which would contribute far less to the loss of biodiversity (and could even promote biodiversity in some areas).


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Wait, what?
By morphologia on 3/3/2011 3:13:24 PM , Rating: 4
"22 centuries?" How can someone possibly account for every factor over the projected 2,200 year span in which a mass extinction may be likely? Technology, including ecological preservation technology, will be vastly different by then, if we still exist. A forecast of a couple hundred years, I'll buy that to some extent. But over two millennia??? That can't possibly be "best case" since the game will almost definitely change drastically over that much time.

RE: Wait, what?
By therealnickdanger on 3/3/2011 3:28:38 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, you'd think Jesus would have mentioned something about the iPad.

RE: Wait, what?
By tmouse on 3/3/2011 3:46:45 PM , Rating: 4
Blessed are the geek or was it greek?

RE: Wait, what?
By TheBaker on 3/4/2011 3:02:48 AM , Rating: 5
That chart is what's greek. What the hell do all those lines and dots even mean?

RE: Wait, what?
By AssBall on 3/4/2011 9:14:29 AM , Rating: 5
Come on I thought it was obvious. Its clearly a slug trying to bone a snake with an elephant riding it while a bird pecks it.

RE: Wait, what?
By ClownPuncher on 3/4/2011 1:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
That's a frog. Slugs going extinct?! You fool!

RE: Wait, what?
By Methal on 3/6/2011 9:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
According to my calculations, they baby seals will go extinct in the year....Purple.

It will make perfect sense 3,000 years from now when they start naming years after colors.

And yes, just the baby ones.

RE: Wait, what?
By Hiawa23 on 3/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Wait, what?
By Nexos on 3/4/2011 5:05:45 AM , Rating: 4
I hope your kids will be as short-sighted as you, so that they might not see what an idiot their father was.

RE: Wait, what?
By Paj on 3/4/2011 7:07:10 AM , Rating: 5
.... and with that casual statement, youve summed up the problem with the human race.

RE: Wait, what?
By EricMartello on 3/5/11, Rating: -1
RE: Wait, what?
By HomerTNachoCheese on 3/3/2011 3:33:30 PM , Rating: 3
Based on formulas that are not present in the article, using the best of the data that they have, they came up with an estimate of 2,200 years, best case. What they have calculated, if I did my math correctly and assuming that 12x means 550 years, is that they estimated 1,375 years, give or take 825 years. Too many variables to nail it any closer than that. This is also dependent on the world not making changes to stop existing trends.

RE: Wait, what?
By morphologia on 3/3/2011 3:39:03 PM , Rating: 3
In other words, they went for spectacular extent rather than statistical validity. Because there are too many variables to nail it down better, that estimate is more carnival sideshow than scientific result.

RE: Wait, what?
By HomerTNachoCheese on 3/3/2011 3:59:42 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe not quite a carnival sideshow. The trend is showing that it will happen. There is still statistical validity. I doubt that they published their estimates with little or no certainty at all. This study was published in Nature - they do have a reputation to uphold.

RE: Wait, what?
By MastermindX on 3/3/2011 4:56:21 PM , Rating: 1
Considering their worst case scenario would be less than 1 century... 2200 years is pretty damn gentle.

RE: Wait, what?
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 7:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Worst case scenarios are padded to grab headlines, publicity, and more funding.

RE: Wait, what?
By kattanna on 3/3/2011 3:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
2.7 percent of the planet's 1.9 million named species (which is likely far from the total species count)

well considering they have only looked at 2.7% of known named species, its really kinda hard to say anything with certainty. even more so when we cannot say with certainty just how many species there really are at this point in time. we are still finding lots over the little 1/3, land, of the planet we supposedly know, just how much more will we find in that 2/3's, sea, of the planet we are just now barely beginning to explore?

take 2.7% of earth, any one spot and just how much is that going to tell you about the planet as a whole? what if some probe landed in the desert, does it mean this is a barren desert world? of course not.

RE: Wait, what?
By HomerTNachoCheese on 3/3/2011 4:12:18 PM , Rating: 4
You can look at 2.7% of a population to determine what is happening to the population as a whole.

To determine the proper sample size of a large population (such as 1.9 million species), using a confidence level of 99% and a confidence interval or 3%, you only need a sample size of 1,847, which is far less than 2.7%. Even if there were 1.9 quadrillion species taken into account, that number only increases to 1,849. This is textbook statistics. This would be a stratified sampling. 2.7% surveyed is likely well-stratified.

There is a calculator at that you can use to verify this.

RE: Wait, what?
By rcc on 3/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: Wait, what?
By Laitainion on 3/3/2011 6:34:33 PM , Rating: 2
The key missing element is that the sample has to be randomly selected from the total population being measured. That means to do a statistical representation of the US you'd need to randomly select that 2000 people from anyway in the US.

If they're all from that city centre then the conclusion is relevant for that city and not valid at all as they were unlikely to be selected at random.

RE: Wait, what?
By TheBaker on 3/4/2011 3:08:07 AM , Rating: 3
Right, and the 2.7% of species are from places that we can easily access, meaning places affected by us. Of course the extinction rate will be higher in places inhabited by a vast population of apex predators (that would be us humans).

Give me extinction rates for the Congo, the Amazon, the Pacific floor, beneath the arctic ice, etc. Until those are added in, the study needs to be amended to "mass extinction of critters that try to compete with humans for living space."

RE: Wait, what?
By probedb on 3/4/2011 6:47:28 AM , Rating: 4
Just because somewhere is remote doesn't mean we have no effect on it.

RE: Wait, what?
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 7:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
But a given remote area is less likely to be affected, or affected to a diminished extent.

Of course, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that many remote areas (the South Pole, the Sahara, etc.) probably have less biodiversity.

RE: Wait, what?
By Strunf on 3/4/2011 8:02:27 AM , Rating: 3
With the exception of the deep ocean every place on earth is of easy access... the Amazon may look quite empty of humans but there's still some human activity there, miners, woodcutters, farmers and so on, they all exploit the amazon very often without any regards for the environment.

RE: Wait, what?
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 7:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
With the exception of the deep ocean every place on earth is of easy access

Tell that to Siberia.

RE: Wait, what?
By AssBall on 3/4/2011 9:11:12 AM , Rating: 4
Americans are more concerned with debating global warming than destruction of the rainforests

Is this world according to Mick...?

1 Rain forest is two words.
2 The statement is false.
3 The statement is deliberately baiting.
4 America doesn't have real rainforests or even rain forests.

Let's go force Honduras, Paraguay, Congo, and Laos etc. to stop cutting down trees... I'm sure they'd love that. Better yet lets pay them not to cut down trees with our vast government monetary reserves (haha). Great idea, right?

RE: Wait, what?
By Myrandex on 3/4/2011 9:39:16 AM , Rating: 3
America happens to have a very large rainforest. I have heard that it is even the largest in square miles now due to deforestation of others. Alaska is covered by it.


RE: Wait, what?
By AssBall on 3/4/2011 1:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Guam!

RE: Wait, what?
By JakLee on 3/4/2011 4:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
and technically the NW coast is a rainforest, just a different one than the jungle in South America/ Africa

RE: Wait, what?
By Just Tom on 3/5/2011 12:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Check your facts: rainforest is one word; America has rainforests (both the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

RE: Wait, what?
By espaghetti on 3/5/2011 11:14:25 AM , Rating: 1
It's like he's geopolitical trolling.

RE: Wait, what?
By Solandri on 3/3/2011 4:43:45 PM , Rating: 5
well considering they have only looked at 2.7% of known named species, its really kinda hard to say anything with certainty.

The problem I've always had with these extinction comparisons is that they're almost always comparing apples to oranges. Extinction is not an equal opportunity killer. By definition it strikes the less-common species first. So any extinction rate has to be applied to a set of species with roughly the same abundance in order to be comparable. An extinction rate of 50% among species with initial populations of >10 million is very different from an extinction rate of 50% among species with initial populations of around 50,000.

Prehistoric species we know about today were by definition common species. They were more common, so they left more fossils, making it more likely that we would find and identify them today. So when you talk about 75% of the species going extinct in the K-T event (the one where all the dinosaurs died), you're not saying 75% of all species went extinct. You're saying 75% of the most common species went extinct. The actual overall extinction rate, including uncommon species we have never discovered so we don't know about, is much higher.

To compare the 75% extinction rate to today, you'd have to assume that roughly the same number of species were alive back then as are alive today (which is probably a good assumption). Say it's about 2 million. Then you take the number of species we know were alive back then. Say it's about 100,000. Then you take the 100,000 most common species alive today and compare their extinction rate to the 75% rate back then.

Another problem I have with these extinction rate comparisons is that they take an extinction rate among relatively uncommon species alive today, then extrapolate them to encompass the common species. There's a species (subspecies) of salmon that only spawns in one river near here. It's labeled by the EPA as endangered. It may go extinct. But if it does, it says very little about the chances of salmon in general going extinct.

RE: Wait, what?
By Nutzo on 3/3/2011 4:54:51 PM , Rating: 5

Statistics don't lie, but liars use statistics.

What we need to do is create a legal market to buy, sell and eat these animals, then they won't go extinct.

I don't see any predictions of cows, pigs, sheep or chickens going extinct. In fact they say we have too many cows and they are causing global warming.

RE: Wait, what?
By Kurz on 3/4/2011 12:14:23 PM , Rating: 4
I want me some Tiger meat.
With a side of Rhino horns.

The funny thing is if people could actually own those animals they wouldn't be endangered.

RE: Wait, what?
By Daemyion on 3/5/2011 2:49:21 PM , Rating: 3
Can we vote for future tiger pet owners to be on the endangered species list? Or dogs... Tigers and dogs sharing the same park would be interesting...

RE: Wait, what?
By Drag0nFire on 3/3/2011 4:45:30 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I mean even as all the vertebrates die out, the bugs are doing fine. And so are the bacteria. So there, take that Scientists. I guess there won't be a mass extinction after all.

Granted, it will still pretty much suck for mammals...

RE: Wait, what?
By kattanna on 3/3/2011 4:56:36 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I mean even as all the vertebrates die out

talk about a poor attempt at trolling...

just came across this article which i find interesting

"Discoveries like this one remind us that we still have a lot to learn about the biodiversity of the Amazon,"

oh.. how very true.

RE: Wait, what?
By Drag0nFire on 3/4/2011 12:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
That wasn't an attempt at trolling. I was simply saying that the 2.7% of known named species brought up by the OP were vertebrates. I don't think the message of the analysis would change if they included the vast majority of bacteria and invertebrate species. Perhaps they are going extinct, perhaps not.

But the extinction of the vertebrate species is what should be of greatest concern us at this point.

RE: Wait, what?
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 7:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
Some vertebrates are more likely to go extinct than others. Take the Dodo; it's commonly said that "man killed it off", but a more accurate way to describe it is "the Dodo was a really crappy species that only managed to survive in a very narrow range of sensitive conditions and even the slightest exposure to man ruined its tenuous chances of long-term survival".

Conversely, squirrels seem to thrive just fine even in very dense cities. They're vertebrates, right?

Non scare tactic concern
By tastyratz on 3/3/2011 3:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
There are species on the verge of extinction in far less than our lifetime which are ecologically significant.
Honeybees and Bats are very likely to be completely extinct in quite a short time. THOSE are both very VERY important species people underrate which are in serious danger and we have no real grasp on a resolution yet.

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2011 3:24:43 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not saying that you're wrong, or what you say is invalid but...

I was reminded (in a passing comment made during a TV program that I was watching earlier about human evolution, and whether it has stopped) that 99.99% of all lifeforms that have ever existed on our space rock, have become extinct, for one reason or another.

We bandy about the word extinction as if it has only ever been relevant when a meteor hit and killed a load of dinosaurs, and since man decided that forest were an inconvenience, or certain animals were particularly yummy.

However, that's not the whole story, not by a long chalk.

Just putting that out there.

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By JediJeb on 3/3/2011 3:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know if humans are 100% to blame for these extinctions?

I now the bee problem is still being debated, if it turns out to be a natural cause such as a virus or bacteria can man still be to blame.

Also if a species is going extinct because of a natural reason and humans intercede to prevent it, are we then disrupting the balance of nature by doing so?

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By Lugaidster on 3/3/2011 3:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
The game might change, but since humanity hasn't changed in the past, it might be a sign that it won't in the future. Assuming we won't it's very possible that we can draw a conclusion.

Sure, (some) people might respect trees a lot in America, but go to Brazil, Panama or Peru and see how they don't give a sh!t.

In the end, this study might not be that far off. After all, looking at the past has always been a strong way to predict the future.

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By Da W on 3/3/2011 3:33:16 PM , Rating: 1
We are just too many humans and the problem does not appear to reverse anytime soon. When a specie grows too much and occupies too much space, then extinction of rival lifeform is innevitable. I would not be suprised if one day we find that there could have been many other branches of humanoids creature, but homo sapiens sapiens just destroyed them all before they came to maturity.

Human being is like a virus, spreading all over its ecosystem and claiming it as its own.

However over the longer term, i think our purpose in the universe is to organise matter, to bring order out of chaos and ultimatly flee from this forsaken planet before the Sun dies and colonize the galaxy and then the rest of the universe, spreading life, which we may be the very first itteration of...

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By xthetenth on 3/4/2011 9:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
Define soon. We've already got the birth rate and demographic trends to show that the world population will likely start falling when it hits 9 billion down to around 3 billion.

We'll see whether that's soon enough.

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 7:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
Human being is like a virus, spreading all over its ecosystem and claiming it as its own.

By that measure, all animals are like viruses, as all animals exhibit that quality. Man is notable only in his success in dominating ecosystems, whereas most other species generally fall into a rough equilibrium with what are essentially peers.

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By TheBaker on 3/4/2011 3:19:40 AM , Rating: 3
Honeybees and Bats are very likely to be completely extinct in quite a short time.

Article 1 is about the INCREASING global honeybee population. You are basing your statement about honeybees on honeybee farmers losing their colonies for what are basically unknown reasons. Wild honeybees are doing just fine.

Article 2 is about a fungal disease epidemic among bats in the northeastern US, which is likely what you have heard about, and has absolutely nothing to do with humans, nor can we affect it. It is localized to the eastern US and only affects cave dwelling bats. All other bats in the world are unaffected.

You need to do a little research before you claim something is "very likely to be completely extinct in quite a short time."

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By Camikazi on 3/4/2011 10:07:49 AM , Rating: 2
Most people seem to forget that bat and bee are general terms and that there are MANY species of each all over the world :P

RE: Non scare tactic concern
By tastyratz on 3/4/2011 3:56:38 PM , Rating: 2

Bees are dying
Let me quote that article you mentioned for you
analysis of global honey bee populations (by Aizen and Harder*) shows a 45% increase in total numbers since 1961

This speaks of the same honeybee quoted as dying off since 2007. While we do currently still have more honeybees than we had in 1961, they are dying en masse at an alarmingly rapid rate. The growth since 1961 has been a lot more slow, but the statistics

But lets pull a more reliable count from a better credited source:

The National Agriculture Statistics Service reported that there were 2.44 million honey-producing hives in the United States as of February 2008, down from 4.5 million in 1980, and 5.9 million in 1947

And one more to chew on:
In 2010 the USDA reported that data on overall honey bee losses for 2010 indicate an estimated 34 percent loss, which is statistically similar to losses reported in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

We have less than half the honeybees since 1947, but the last 3 years we have lost roughly a third of our population every year. You don't find that alarming?

There are other primary pollinators for a variety of crops, but the honeybee is the EXCLUSIVE pollinator of certain species that make up a LARGE portion of commercial agricultural crops, threatening large swings in global food production.

Now on bats:

The white nose syndrome is PRIMARILY impacting the eastern us at the time, but has begun to spread RAPIDLY. it is CURRENTLY impacting

Let me quote the article you linked to you:
Little brown myotis are sustaining the largest number of deaths

They did not say it is only attacking them, just that the most common species in the us has the most deaths (logical assumption anyways)
White nose is an epidemic that seems to have grown almost overnight. Its impact is more limited by migratory pattern than regions. "Cave dwelling bats" make up almost all of the bat population. The little brown myotis also actually lives frequently in delaminated tree bark.

Bats eat over 1000 mosquitoes a night. Without them things would get pretty damn unpleasant for awhile as well as rapid additional spreading of blood borne diseases.

The world survived long before either of these, but don't dismiss they play a critical role today.

While you assumed I was saying humans are to blame, if you read my post I said no such thing. Those are 2 important species I mentioned on topic which deserve our attention.

Perhaps you should do more research yourself and read the articles you tout prior to stating others should?

By InfinityzeN on 3/3/2011 3:48:00 PM , Rating: 4
This whole "Study" fails hard due to its focus on large vertebrates. They only looked at less than 3% of the named species, which contains almost all vertebrates (especially large vertebrates) on earth.

The named species list is only a small fraction of the total species, with invertebrates making up 97% of it. Of the unnamed species, invertebrates will have an even higher percentage.

A study that looks at what will boil down to a fraction of a percent of life on earth and say a mass extinction is coming... that is like me looking at badly raised pitbulls and saying all dogs are mean and vicious.

RE: Bull
By damonlynch on 3/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Bull
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2011 6:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
I get what you mean, I also get what hte OP means too tho, however.

What seems sad to me is that well respected journals like Nature seem so happy to publish and promote these sorts of stories/articles, in affect validating them and lending them their support, seemingly because of the publicity and "shock" factor that they know that this sort of study will produce.

Scientific journals have always run similar , headline grabbing articles, but Id wager that not all of them have turned ot to be true, and it seems that they are a little more common these days. Maybe that's just the nature of journalism and the way that publications (even scientific journals) have to behave these days to stay relevant and get people's attention (sales).

The problem is, IMHO, that with a lot of these things , people take them as, erm, gospel, when really they are only ideas and theories. Far from the "scientific fact" end of the spectrum (I know, nothing is 100%, but we're fairly sure about some things) that some might think that this must be, as it's in a publication like nature, and much closer to the speculation end of the spectrum of scientific theories.

RE: Bull
By damonlynch on 3/4/2011 6:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
What seems sad to me is that well respected journals like Nature seem so happy to publish and promote these sorts of stories/articles, in affect validating them and lending them their support, seemingly because of the publicity and "shock" factor that they know that this sort of study will produce.

You don't produce any evidence to substantiate your sweeping generalization. The editors of Nature are esteemed scientists. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate the validity of your assertion.

RE: Bull
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 8:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
The editors of Nature are esteemed scientists.

You don't produce any evidence to substantiate your sweeping generalization. :D

RE: Bull
By ppardee on 3/3/2011 6:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
it's always from an unidentifiable commentator who for all we know is reading from a script.

Yeah, 'cause THAT doesn't make you sound like a conspiracy nut!

RE: Bull
By damonlynch on 3/4/2011 6:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
Almost no one here comments using their real name. There is no way to ascertain the legitimacy of the comments. It's very easy for people to sign-in and post whatever the trash they want without being held accountable in any way whatsoever.

It's therefore not surprising so many of the comments are profoundly uninformed and deeply reactionary. We've seen know-it-alls who claim they know more than NASA scientists, for goodness sakes. And here someone is trashing one of the most esteemed journals in all science. What a joke!

Do some organizations and people take advantage of the built-in anonymity offered by sites like this one for their own wholly self-serving ends? Of course they do. It is important to be alert to the possibility on dailytech. See for more information:

RE: Bull
By Spuke on 3/7/2011 5:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
And here someone is trashing one of the most esteemed journals in all science. What a joke!
The real joke is that most people will blindly follow what someone says, qualified or not, without question.

By Ammohunt on 3/3/2011 5:30:25 PM , Rating: 1
Americans are more concerned with debating global warming than destruction of the rainforests, the planet's greatest biodiverse locations.

This implies America is soley responsible for the worlds Rain Forests..puhlese! Developing countreis need to pull their head out of theirs asses and decide what they really want.

By dsx724 on 3/3/2011 5:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
We have the highest per capita consumption in the world. Many of those countries export their products to the United States because we have become the largest consumer. You need to decide what YOU want.

By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 8:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
We have the highest per capita consumption in the world.

... As well as the highest per capita production in the world, to keep the record properly balanced.

By Ammohunt on 3/7/2011 2:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
so what! still doesn't make us responsible for any given countries internal policies.

By brybir on 3/4/2011 1:00:21 AM , Rating: 2
People that type "puhlese" in forums piss me off. I am mad at myself for even typing that.

As to your comment, developing countries want food, shelter and material wealth, and those things have different priority depending on where they stand economically. So when a multinational or US trade rep walks in with trade agreements so they can feed their children...I suppose that makes sense to me...

By Kurz on 3/4/2011 1:10:22 PM , Rating: 2
Not a fan of "Who framed Roger Rabbit?"

By stm1185 on 3/3/2011 6:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
Tigers go extinct. How is that bad? I do not get it. These are man eating creatures. Predators. They would eat to death the entire human race if they could. Why do we want forests full of man eating creatures?

I do not think I would be upset living in a world where there is nothing that is going to eat me.

By xthetenth on 3/4/2011 9:40:17 AM , Rating: 2
So you want a world in which there are no predators to check the population of herbivores? In which herbivore population rises uncontrollably until you get enough animals dying of starvation that it actually poses a sanitation threat? All because humans are twelfth on predators' list of prey?

You're why we can't have nice things.

By Concreteboy9 on 3/4/2011 6:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be more than willing to eat all of those pesky overpopulated herbivores for you.

By FreonP on 3/7/2011 3:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Please come eat the rats in my garage!

By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 8:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
So you want a world in which there are no predators to check the population of herbivores?

Most predators don't eat people.

reality check
By Tony Swash on 3/3/2011 6:01:04 PM , Rating: 1
To get a more balanced view I strongly suggest suggest you check this out.

The actual rate of confirmed modern extinctions is incredibly rare, so rare that drawing any sort of large scale or long term projections from them is fraught with danger. The very low rate of extinction has also been falling. People need to calm down.

I would have more sympathy for the environmentalist camp if they just stopped trying to scare people witless all the time. We are not children.

RE: reality check
By brybir on 3/4/2011 12:57:24 AM , Rating: 2
This site is not a "balanced view" of anything. Just scrolling through the articles, every time an environmental researcher or any other group that supports environmental standards is mentioned, some dismissive comment is added like:

the eco-pressure group, the Union of Concerned Scientists,
opportunist Mark Serreze of NSIDC
(and that is just in the first few articles.

There are also daily articles about why people are wrong about global warming, scathing criticism of the clean air act, and has a prominent section called "climategate" about the global warming "hoax".

So, take this site for what its worth, I have no idea who the guy is, but just because he has a blog does not mean what he types is "a more balanced view". Perhaps his views just comport with your views so you believe that it is balanced?

Besides, in the end, article in Nature, peer reviewed by some of the best scientists on the planet and in their field vs some guy with a blog? I'll take the former as a source of information rather than the latter.

RE: reality check
By Tony Swash on 3/4/2011 1:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
TextThis site is not a "balanced view" of anything.

Leaving aside any arguments about keeping an open mind lets focus on this facts. Here is a quote about actual confirmed extinctions - note the tine number of species involved. The extinction scare comes around again and again but it is simply not backed up by facts. Extinction numbers are very small (tiny) and the rate is falling.

Count of Extinct Mammal Species

Island vs. Continental Country Total

Extinct Island Mammal Species Various 58

Extinct Continental Mammal Species Mexico 1

Extinct Continental Mammal Species Algeria 1

Extinct Continental Mammal Species South Africa 1

Extinct Continental Mammal Species Subtotal 3

Grand Total Extinct Mammal Species 61

Data –

Of the 4,428 known mammal species (Red List 2004) living in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and Antarctica, only three mammals have gone extinct in the last 500 years. These were the Bluebuck antelope, South Africa; the Algerian gazelle, Algeria; and the Omilteme cottontail rabbit, Mexico.

Turning next to birds, when we are studying the extinction of species, birds have a very useful trait — they are extremely visible. Nearly all of them fly up where we can see them; they make distinct and identifiable noises; many are brightly colored; none are too small to see; many roost in trees so they can be seen from afar with binoculars; in all, they are perhaps the most visible of all classes of life. Because of this, they are well-known to humans everywhere — all 129 extinct birds have a common name, for example, which is not the case with other classes of animals. Based on where the birds breed, here’s how the data from the Red List divides out between continental and island bird extinctions:

Count of Extinct Bird Species

Island vs. Continental Country Total

Extinct Island Bird Species Various 123

Extinct Continental Bird Species Mexico 1

Extinct Continental Bird Species Guatemala 1

Extinct Continental Bird Species Colombia 1

Extinct Continental Bird Species US 2

Extinct Continental Bird Species Canada, US 1

Extinct Continental Bird Species Total 6

Grand Total Extinct Bird Species 129

Data –

We see the same pattern with birds as with mammals. Of the 128 extinct bird species, 122 of them were island extinctions. Of the 8,971 known continental bird species (Red List 2004), 6 have gone extinct.

RE: reality check
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 8:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Just scrolling through the articles, every time an environmental researcher or any other group that supports environmental standards is mentioned, some dismissive comment is added like:

the eco-pressure group, the Union of Concerned Scientists,
opportunist Mark Serreze of NSIDC
(and that is just in the first few articles.

If his facts are accurate, than those dismissive comments would also be accurate, wouldn't they? Debate the message, not its method of delivery.

Revelation 11:18
By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 3/3/2011 3:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'll probably have to put up with presumption for saying this, but it is interesting to me what part of Revelation 11:18 says about the end of this civilization:

"... destroy those who destroy the earth."

RE: Revelation 11:18
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 9:34:37 PM , Rating: 2
You need to read more books; such a theme is fairly common in literature.

RE: Revelation 11:18
By Spuke on 3/7/2011 7:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
"... destroy those who destroy the earth."
Which English version did you get that from again?

By Wererat on 3/3/2011 4:40:31 PM , Rating: 4
Why anyone would quote, refer to, or pay the slightest attention to Paul Ehrlich defies explanation.

This loon has been demonstrably wrong more times than the guys waving "The world will end" signs at airports and wrong more times than eschatologist fundamentalist preachers!

From "The Population Bomb" as quoted by wiki: The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate ...

Oh, snap. This guy's no different than the people predicting ice ages, fire and brimstone, or whatever DOOM seems likely to get press this week. Let his late '60s doomsaying go and stop reporting his rants.

RE: Why?
By xthetenth on 3/4/2011 9:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
Hey, at least his work wasn't responsible for the forced starvation of lots of people the way Malthus' was. Same stuff, but Malthus' really caught on with the British colonial administration, and you get stuff like Ireland being a net exporter of potatoes during the potato famine. we aren't necessarily going to get another Green Revolution though.

LOL what a crock of $*@#
By bill4 on 3/4/2011 11:40:05 AM , Rating: 2
More fake doom and gloom from the left, promising we're all gonna die soon, no this time we really mean it. If you dont vote for your friendly neighborhood left wing politician of course.

I like how supposedly evolution is this big thing, yet humans are messing it up. Hmm how does that work? Arent we part of this supposed evolution? How does something that is supposedly part and parcel of the process, be considered outside the process? Never understood this. Major logic holes in these evolution nutjobs.

I guess evolution killed itself then. Poor evolution.


It's kind of like how evolutionists shouldn't be against species extinction, or human genocide, or any of that. It's all just survival of the fittest after all.

RE: LOL what a crock of $*@#
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 9:51:07 PM , Rating: 2
Evolution is just a matter of probabilities occurring over a long enough time scale. Millions of years is not an unusual amount of time to gauge an evolutionary process.

But we don't live for millions of years. We don't even live for hundreds of years. We live for a matter of decades. Moreover, we tend to adjust our environments faster than they adjust us; we our outside the historical realm of evolution.

Further, through evolution our species has gained quite the considerable intellect, intellect that allows us to make subjective judgments about the world we live in. One of these judgments is that we live better with a biologically diverse world.

Tell me more about these "major logic holes". I'd love to hear just how uninformed you are.

RE: LOL what a crock of $*@#
By FreonP on 3/7/2011 3:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
Nobody is saying that all life will die out, nor that evolution will stop. But mass extinctions almost always include all top predators (i.e. humans.) We are the first species that might have the ability to prevent its own extinction.

Worst case scenario...
By Stuka on 3/4/2011 11:55:57 AM , Rating: 3
Absolute worst case, man rapes the oceans and the land and causes extinction of most all species, shortly after man goes extinct. After that the planet spends the next few billion replenishing the biodiversity until the Sun becomes a luft balloon and engulfs the surface of the Earth in fire.

There is only ONE thing that can have the slightest effect on this course (though same outcome): LET PEOPLE DIE . The sick, poor, stupid and/or lazy people are supposed to die, by nature's own design. They are not intended to be exalted by pity with increasing amounts of government spending and charity.

Forget I said that though. Everything must live forever and always... strike that... everything living right now, must live forever and always. Dinosaurs were a mistake, but tigers are perfect.

RE: Worst case scenario...
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 9:31:06 PM , Rating: 2
The sick, poor, stupid and/or lazy people are supposed to die

Assumption of intent. There's no "supposed to" in evolution.

Man is a social species; the survival of the species depends on the survival of its societies. What you propose is a societal destabilizer and will have the opposite of what you desire.

Is anyone surprised?
By masamasa on 3/3/2011 4:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
Can't say that I am. We are a destructive species that won't change until forced to and by then, it may simply be too late.

RE: Is anyone surprised?
By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 9:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
Conversely, we can say we're a clumsy species that is constantly changing, and "too late" is just a trumped-up term used by drama queens and those desperate for funds.

News Brief
By mindless1 on 3/4/2011 4:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
We are the dominant species, THAT'S what a dominant species tends to do, consume those that it derives benefit from consuming.

I feel these researchers should pour honey all over themselves and let the ants /benefit/ from it.

RE: News Brief
By YashBudini on 3/7/2011 10:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
I can hear you clicking your heals together from here.

You may now return to reading Mein Kampf.

Dailytech readers finally agree on something?
By Lazarus Dark on 3/4/2011 6:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
I think DT should post more complete BS articles like this, I so rarely see so much agreement that an article is BS.

Personally, I don't buy into evolution, but the people in this article do. So, using logic, I wonder why this bothers them? Weaker species should die so stronger should survive, that's part of evolutionary theory right? So why is this a bad thing? IF humans are responsible for such massive extinction (and I don't buy it, most of the ocean is never sailed, and we can never produce enough waste to fill it. the same with land, most land is uninhabited, and we could never fill it all. short of nuclear holocaust, I don't see us having a significant impact on global air either) then wouldn't that just prove that we are superior? I don't understand these guys

By SPOOFE on 3/6/2011 9:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Weaker species should die so stronger should survive, that's part of evolutionary theory right? So why is this a bad thing?

The "potential use" explanation: Some species are the source of substances that are very useful to us, so it's probably a good idea to not go running around destroying everything we see just for the fun of it lest we miss out on something handy.

Of course, some people take their devotion to something that may or may not be beneficial a little too far...

By ilkhan on 3/3/2011 4:45:46 PM , Rating: 1
I've still never heard a convincing reason why mass extinction, or for that matter, global warming is *BAD*. Lots of debate over if its happening, lots of debate over consequences, no debate over if its *bad*.

Ecosystems destroyed? New species (or foreign species) will take over. Sea levels rise? People will move. Structures destroyed? People will rebuild.

RE: bad
By Skywalker123 on 3/4/2011 11:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
Mass extinction IS a good thing... as long as its species like you!

Consider the source....
By ppardee on 3/3/2011 5:48:21 PM , Rating: 3
Of course this would come out of UC Berkley.

Ok, they're arguing that we've already caused 2% of the world's species to die out over X years, so its safe to assume that in X*50 years all of the species will be extinct.

This logic holds if you're looking at a single resource. There are 5 people in the house. In 2 days, they have consumed 10% of the cheesy poofs. It would be safe to assume that in 18 days, all of the cheesy poofs will be gone.

They forget that they're not all species are created equally. Some are more robust than others and the ones that are not very robust at all will have been the first to go, so the rate of extinction is likely to decrease, not increase.

Continuing my analogy, this is like saying that in 2 days, 50% of the oreos, 30% off the cheesy poofs, and 2% of the sardine-flavored kelp chips have been eaten, so we can extrapolate that all of the snacks will be gone in 3-4 days (assuming equal starting quantities of all snacks). However, its likely that in 2 days, the oreos will be gone, in 4 days the cheesy poofs will be gone and no one will have touched the kelp chips because they are nasty and the 2% was only eaten because your roommate wanted to try one but couldn't even manage to swallow them and its masticated, saliva-rehydrated remnants are plastered on your roommate's bedroom wall.

By kraeper on 3/3/2011 4:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
The most shocking thing to me about the whole article is that it doesn't have Tiffany's name at the top.

By rika13 on 3/3/2011 8:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
great software, complete bullshit for everything else

the guy who wrote this is probably some dumbass with a shrine to gore

By YashBudini on 3/3/2011 8:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Given the republican anti-everything stance if we put the middle class on the most endangered species list it would probably only hasten its demise.

So let me get this straight...
By diggernash on 3/3/2011 9:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
Statistically, there is a chance that the world may end some day or another. Gal durn, true genius is hard to hide.

New day, new opportunities...
By Landiepete on 3/4/2011 2:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting for something like this for a few months ! Now the whole 'global warming through human influence' lark is exposed as unsubstantiated semi-science at best, and fraude at worst, the eco-alarmist crowd is looking for new and innovative ways to terrorize people into submission and get there fingers into the research funding pot to prolong their existence.
They're going about it a little more refinedly, looks like.

Anyhoo, it's all water under the bridge. As long as the world population continues to expand, countries continue to 'develop', and eco-footprint is measured in percent-per-capita, the human virus will continue to exhaust natures reserves at an ever increasing rate. We'll burn ourseves out all by ourselves within a few hundred years. Problem solved !
Nothing to see here, please be on your way.

By fteoath64 on 3/4/2011 3:01:59 AM , Rating: 2
The research results so far shows, humans have little impact on extinction of species. We just do not have the wild technologies to obliterate as many species as claimed.
The cosmic cycle is the reason for the changes and man has got to understand the impact to our ecological balance more in order to ensure longer term survivability.

If we spend more effort predicting the earth changes, then can have better prepare ourselves to handle such changes before they happen rather than suffer in their consequence. Which is normally the case. The fact that our economies and locked into the monetary system means we are unfairly handicapped from doing the "right thing".

Why even repost this?
By Ilfirin on 3/4/2011 3:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously - the guy claims that the current state of the world is equivalent to an asteroid slamming into the earth.

We're all alive. There is no asteroid.

All entities claimed to be going extinct by his study all SHOULD be going extinct - they provide no direct food source for any of the animals around and provide nothing of value to anything alive. But because of the fact that the obsolete are going obsolete at a normal rate, that somehow correlates to a massive asteroid hitting the earth and destroying all life on the planet - really?

If you read the guy's actual report, there's not a single bit of sensical data in the entire thing.

He sounds like just another college grad that ate too much acid and wants millions of dollars of funding because he's scared that, for the first time ever, he won't have his parents money to keep him going.

waste of time
By zmatt on 3/4/2011 11:19:48 AM , Rating: 2
What a worthless paper. it's just alarmist trying to get them attention. He should be spending more time as a paleontologist doing useful things, like finding DNA fragments of dinosaurs so we can clone them. That's actually awesome.

heres an issue
By RedemptionAD on 3/4/2011 2:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
The old time frames don't apply as things happen much quicker now. It would be like saying 20 days to get from Detroit to Chicago via horse and buggy, vs 5 hrs via car nowadays. Everything thing happens faster, heck look at communications over the last 100 years. This a natural course of the new normal, the new normal being accelerated change.

Look to the wise
By Siki on 3/5/2011 4:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's time for Noah's ark, 21st century style.

too many people
By Wolfy747400 on 3/5/2011 5:26:57 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe there's just too many people on this planet for it to sustain.

I'm not being negative or bigoted, just my thought.

So what is the solution?
By Targon on 3/5/2011 6:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
If food, resources, and/or land area are a part of the problem, then should humanity spend so much effort to save the "starving people" who can not grow their own food and CONTINUALLY need food from other countries? If the population goes down, there will be more food available for those who remain, and the need to kill animals for food would go down.

Yes, I will probably get moderated down by this, but think about it, if the starving people in Ethiopia can not produce enough food on their own after all these decades of help from other countries, then why should they survive if animals that CAN get their own food are being killed to feed them? Population goes down, need for food goes down, there will be fewer wars over food and resources, and in the long run, the planet as a whole does better.

Won't have to wait that long
By Talon75 on 3/5/2011 9:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
It's far more likely we will blow ourselves up and take a large portion of the planet with us long before then...

Humans are not causing this
By Lerianis on 3/5/2011 11:38:37 PM , Rating: 2
I know I will get voted down for this, but I have to say it. The fact is that once you adjust for the pushing effects of leap years (which can move a calendar so that December is where August was over a period of years), the temperatures normalize and being comparable to the 1800's.

Secondly, a lot of those animals that are going extinct are overly specialized to the point where they SHOULD be going extinct because the world is finally getting back to where it was before the Little Ice Age.

By StraightCashHomey on 3/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: Obama
By SSDMaster on 3/3/2011 3:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
The significance of your statement is staggering.

RE: Obama
By morphologia on 3/3/2011 3:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Go away, Pip. Nobody likes you."

--Eric Cartman

There. That's of equal relevance, yet much more entertaining. :p

George W. Bush
By The Raven on 3/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: George W. Bush
By The Raven on 3/4/2011 4:29:25 PM , Rating: 1
You gotta love social experiments lol

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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