Every year, on average, two species of vertebrates become extinct. In the last century, then, about 200 species of vertebrates have disappeared from the face of the Earth. Two million years ago, it would have taken “not 100 years on average, but 10,000 years” to achieve the same result, according to a new study by Gerardo Ceballos (Autonomous University of Mexico City), Paul Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo (Stanford University, California) published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Together with Nature and Science, PNAS is one of the most serious and prestigious scientific journals, so the data must be taken seriously. According to the three scientists, and many of their colleagues, we are in a “mass extinction” event: a true ecological revolution that, within a few thousand years, could cause the disappearance of most animals, plants and micro-organisms living on Earth. And it is our fault.
The three scholars believe that the data on extinctions might even lead one to underestimate the ongoing phenomenon, because two cases a year may seem negligible. But if one focuses on other aspects, the picture is even more alarming.