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Friday, March 4, 2011

Put your head between your legs, and...

Pray, everyone, for our collective salvation.
The science journal Nature reports that "The Sixth Mass Extinction May Be Underway."
It does say "May," not "Is," so we can all hope for the best.
Quote: "The sixth mass extinction could arrive within as little as three to 22 centuries."
To translate for the innumerate, that's between 300 and 2200 years.
The article says that "until mankind's big expansion some 500 years ago, mammal extinctions were very rare: on average, just two species died out every million years." The article does not say how many mammal extinctions science has yet to discover, the assumption being that we know for certain each and every extinction. The article continues: "In the last five centuries, at least 80 out of 5,570 mammal species have [gone extinct]."
My own conclusion is that humans have crowded out of existence 80 out of 5,570 mammal species. What the article does not mention is that humans are capable of restoring endangered species and whether or not the planet required those 80 to survive in order for the planet itself to survive.
It does, however, give us pause.
I have a defined-benefit pension; I'm OK for the next 2200 years.

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