Recent studies led by the University of Hawaii have concluded that the earth is undergoing its sixth mass extinction. So far, there have been five mass extinctions. However, they were all caused by natural phenomena. Now, it is entirely human-caused.
Earth has experienced extinctions for millions of years. Since the 16th century, species have been annihilating one another. In addition, the study suggests that the earth has already lost between 7.5 and 13 percent of its species since then. ‘Incorporating estimates of the true number of invertebrate extinctions leads to the conclusion that the rate vastly exceeds the background rate and that we may indeed be witnessing the start of the sixth mass extinction,’ the study read.
In the study, researchers looked at molluscs, which is the second-largest phylum in terms of numbers of species known. Molluscs have suffered a higher rate of extinction than birds and mammals, according to IUCN Red List data. There is about 95 percent of known animal species are invertebrates. In light of this, researchers argue that they should be included in the estimate of biodiversity extinction.
Some of the researchers’ views were also contradicted by the study. According to Robert Cowie, the head of the research, the Red List is biased because it excludes most invertebrates. Researchers concluded that incorporating real estimates of invertebrate extinctions leads to the conclusion that we might indeed be witnessing the start of the Sixth Mass Extinction. The study urged scientists to unite and do everything possible to stop the extinction of species.