Scientists say Earth entering sixth mass extinction period
According to a study published in the journal 'Science Advances', planet Earth is entering its sixth period of mass extinction.
One of the authors noted, "If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on."
The last mass extinction occurred 65 million years ago resulting in the loss of the dinosaurs and numerous other species.
For years, scientists have been warning about the increasing extinction rate but critics have argued that the extent of loss might be overestimated.
The recent study points out that even with conservative estimates, rates of extinction have been 8 to 100 times higher than normal rates since the beginning of the 20th century.
According to NBC News, "Many of the causes for biodiversity loss have been traced to industrialization, deforestation and other, less obvious human factors. For example, in the case of the amphibians, the wave of extinctions have been traced to the rapid spread of a fatal fungus through global shipping."
Scientists involved with the study offer a glimmer of hope stating, "Avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species, and to alleviate pressures on their populations...However, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing."