From fish to tigers, species are going extinct. Some scientists believe that Earth is on the way to a mass extinction like those that have happened five times within the past 540 million years. Each of these extinction more than three-quarters or more of the animal species went extinct.
A study that was published in a March 3 issue of the journal, Nature, University of California, Berkeley, paleobiologists assessed where mammals and other species stand today in terms of possible extinction, compared with the past 540 million years.
"If you look only at the critically endangered animals - those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations - and assume that their time will run out, and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal, and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm," Anthony D. Barnosky says, who is the principal author, as well as UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, a curator in the Museum of Paleontology and a research paleontologist in the Museum of Vertebrae Zoology. "If currently threatened species - those officially classed as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable - actually went extinct, and that rate of exinction continued, the sixth mass extinction could arrive within as little as 3 to 22 centuries."
"So far, only 1 or 2 percent of all species have gone extinct in the groups we can look at clearly, so by those numbers, it looks like we are not far down the road to extinction. We still have a lot of Earth’s biota to save. Its very important to devote resources and legislation towards species conversation if we don’t want to be the species whose activity caused a mass extinction." Barnosky continues.