Wealthy countries such as the United States and Australia witnessed apocalyptic scenes of climate change after smoke from forest fires darkened the skies in major cities. Photo/REUTERS
CALIFORNIA – Earth may be experiencing a “sixth mass extinction” that threatens all branches of the “Tree of Life”.
The warning was revealed in a new article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Professors at Stanford and the National Autonomous University of Mexico released serious research on Monday (18/9/2023) detailing the impact of human actions that drove mass extinction.
“We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event,” wrote the paper by researchers Gerardo Ceballos and Paul R Ehrlich.
They explain, “Unlike the previous five diseases, this disease is caused by the overgrowth of a single species, Homo sapiens.”
“This episode…is all the more threatening, because in addition to these losses, it also causes a rapid mutilation of the tree of life,” the authors say, using British naturalist Charles Darwin’s metaphor for the living world.
Experts warn, “Entire branches (groups of species, genera, families, and so on) and their functions are lost.”
This research is one of the first attempts to analyze this problem by examining extinction at the genera level over the past centuries.
Genera, the plural form of genus, is a level of classification of living things that is broader than species, but narrower than family.