The Justification of the Anthropogenic 6th Mass Extinction


The Justification of the Anthropogenic 6th Mass Extinction

During these last few weeks, we have focused on the diversity of multiple types of organisms. We also learned that there are three particular periods in which we see above-average speciation, also referred to as adaptive radiation. One of these three events is mass extinction, conservatively defined as the extermination of at least 50% of all species on Earth. The diversification that follows is explained by all the unclaimed resources originally used by the recently extinct species. Scientists now agree that we are entering the 6th mass extinction, an event that we should witness firsthand, in our lifetime. Rates of extinction have increased significantly since the 15th century and sky-rocketed following the Industrial Revolution. For this week’s discussion, I would like to ask you: knowing that new species will arise hundreds of thousands to millions of years from now through adaptive radiation, can we then say that the anthropogenic (man-caused) 6th extinction is somehow ok, or justified? Explain your answer in 5 – 8 sentences.



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