Overpopulation of our planet is a problem whose consequences are felt not only by us. Along with the increase in the number of people on Earth, the populations of representatives of the animal world are decreasing. According to some, climate change is to blame for the extinction of species, but according to the authors of recent studies on the subject, this is nonsense – in the vast majority of cases the cause was human activity.
Scientists from the University of Gothenburg published, on the pages of the prestigious journal “Science Advances”, the results of the study, according to which humans are responsible for the extinction of mammal species in up to 96 percent of cases.
According to the researchers, over the last 126 thousand years, the rate of extinction of mammals has increased 1600 times. This means that even in prehistoric times, human activity contributed to the extinction of animal species more than, for example, the hardships of the Ice Age.
“We did not find a single case of complete extinction of a species caused solely by climatic factors,” – explains one of the scientists involved in the study, Daniele Silvestro, in the released report.
Further on, you can learn that according to the Gothenburg research team, mammals have a fairly highly developed adaptive capacity towards slow changes in the environment or weather. What cannot be said about the intense and rather dynamic human activity towards animals.
Hunting, poaching, trade in skins, bones, production of food, clothing, medicines, ornaments, overpopulation, but most of all destruction of natural habitats of animals – these are the main causes of mammalian extinction in the last hundred thousand years.
“Mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, megateriums: wherever humans appear, other species begin to die out” – comments another of the researchers, Tobias Andermann. “It’s not happening at an even pace. The biggest ‘extinction outbreaks’ occurred when humans first arrived in a place. But in recent years, the increase in the number of extinct species has been growing very fast and on a global scale.”
According to scientists’ calculations, the current extinction rate for animals, not just mammals, is the highest since the end of the dinosaur era. If we do not change anything, estimates indicate that by 2100 the number of species exterminated by humans will reach 30 thousand.
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