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Interesting CNN article on mass extinctions 
19th-Mar-2004 09:19 am
Me: on Ferris wheel 2012-09-09
Here’s an interesting CNN article on British data suggesting that the mass-extinction event that humans started about 50,000 years ago (which wiped out lots of large mammals, for instance) is continuing. Unsurprising, but it's neat to see actual data about current effects. Thanks to my mother for forwarding the link.
19th-Mar-2004 07:21 am (UTC)
neat! thank you!

totally works in with my studio project this semester :D

in a sorta tangental way.

19th-Mar-2004 07:47 am (UTC)
hmm. interesting. so if it started 50,000 years ago then it's not really all about our technology and our pollution and returning to a 'simpler way of life' is unlikely to do more than slow the process - it won't reverse it. We really are, like Agent Smith said, a disease!
19th-Mar-2004 08:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, the extinction of the large land animals was due to overhunting.

(And the reason there are still so many in Africa is presumed to be that that's where humans evolved, so the land animals had a chance to evolve alongside them to avoid being slaughtered. By the time humans spread onto other continents, they were already good hunters, and the land animals there had no chance to adapt before they were extinct.)
19th-Mar-2004 09:42 am (UTC)
He said the data supports the idea that the rise of humans over the tens of thousands of years along with climate changes are bringing on an extinction of many species and reshaping the natural world in ways that aren't thoroughly understood.

Don't blame it all on the humans, the article didn't.

19th-Mar-2004 09:55 am (UTC)
What I know about the extinction of large land animals isn't from the linked article. That part of it is pretty clearly due to human hunting. Not unequivocally so, but archaeologists find that in lots and lots of places around the world, large land animals start declining upon the arrival of humans, and there is evidence of human hunting of those animals. (Of course, dates in this sort of thing are not uncontroversial.)

And humans have had a hand in climate change -- notably since the Industrial Revolution (which changed insolation levels by spreading soot around the world, for instance), but also for much longer through deforestation.

I posted this, by the way, not in a spirit of "Humans cause extinction! Let's wipe out all the icky humans!", but because it seemed like an interesting piece of science. Yes, it might have some political implications, too (if we make the planet a poorer habitat for ourselves, we might be in trouble), but that's not so much what I found interesting about it.

Out of curiosity, who am I talking to? (Just curious whether I know you or not.)
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