1400 species of birds have disappeared. Scholars, Towards Mass Extinction

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AGI – Humanity has already caused the extinction of over 1,400 species of birds, double what was thought. This follows from a new study, according to which intensive agriculture and climate change accelerate the decline of biodiversity. So much so that at these rates, as scientists warn, the scenario a the third mass extinction of birds is closer and closer. In other words, since humans began “colonizing” the planet, their invasive presence has caused the extinction of at least 1,400 bird species, the equivalent of 12% of all extant species.

To draw attention to disturbing research results (published by an authoritative journal The nature of communication) was a daily newspaper El País highlighting how scientists have given “a new dimension to both the scale of this extinction and the impact on biodiversity”. The fact that causes the most discussion in scientific circles is precisely the scale of the phenomenon that we are witnessing: 55% of these extinctions have not yet been discovered.

a thousand bird species became extinct, double the expected mass extinction

© ARNE DEDERT / DPA / DPA PICTURE-ALLIANCE VIA AFP

Extinct dodo specimen

Previous research has only been able to list well-documented and relatively recent “extinctions” (occurring over 500 years ago). However, the international team that developed this latest research (which includes experts from the UK, Spain and university scientists from Sweden, Germany and Norway) argue that previous approaches have underestimated the extent of the ongoing extinction.

Scientists point the finger at factors accelerating extinction that are well known today: including intensive agriculture, climate change, deforestation, the advent of new technologies, but above all the use of plastics.

The research also focused on known and well-documented bird extinctions that have occurred on the islands – just to mention a few iconic “island” species including the Mauritian dodo, the northern curlew, the wood snipe – and carried out in-depth analyzes that were based on available fossil finds to estimate approximately how many species became extinct in much more distant territories, without leaving any trace.

So they could deduce that 1,430 species of birds have disappeared worldwide beginning in the late Pleistocene (beginning 126,000 years ago), and most of these extinctions have occurred in the last 11,700 years in lands far from us (such as the atolls of the western Pacific islands).

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