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Forum » SpaceEngine » Science and Astronomy Discussions » Holocene Mass Extinction
Holocene Mass Extinction
HandbananaDate: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 07:56 | Message # 1
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http://www.discovery.com/dscovrd....Channel

Now, I know that this is a real issue, but are the claims that this will result in the end of humanity really legit? I'm not an expert, but the idea that we post-industrial age humans will simply vanish because of the way we're changing our ecosystem doesn't make sense to me.





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WatsisnameDate: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 09:40 | Message # 2
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Quote Handbanana ()
but are the claims that this will result in the end of humanity really legit?


No, they're completely ridiculous. But where did you see this claimed?

We are almost undoubtedly in a period now where extinction rate is comparable to previous mass extinctions, but then it is a different question of extrapolating that rate over the centuries and millennia to come. Much of the present extinction rate is due to such factors as land usage change, over-hunting, rising temperatures and climate changes. I think it's pretty safe to expect this to continue or even worsen through this century, but beyond that? Who knows. I would be somewhat surprised if the total amount of biodiversity loss is comparable to previous mass extinctions at the end.





 
HandbananaDate: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 11:27 | Message # 3
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Not to mention that humans are not small-brained dinosaurs, we are sentient beings who have already shown to be near-masters at manipulating countless conditions to make them work to our own advantage.




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Destructor1701Date: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 18:37 | Message # 4
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Quote Handbanana ()
Not to mention that humans are not small-brained dinosaurs, we are sentient beings who have already shown to be near-masters at manipulating countless conditions to make them work to our own advantage.


Indeed, but the current extinction rate is a testament to our narrow-mindedness in that regard - the real test for us is if we can apply that same skill to benefiting all life.

I think things like lab-grown organics (hamburgers and hopefully vegetation) and 3D printing point towards a future where we don't waste so much of what we consume - and hopefully consume less, with less environmental impact.

I do wonder what will happen to all the cows when we stop eating them... (Yes, Doctor Of Space, this is because you linked me that video yesterday!)





 
DoctorOfSpaceDate: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 18:54 | Message # 5
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Quote Destructor1701 ()
(Yes, Doctor Of Space, this is because you linked me that video yesterday!)


Video for those who are curious


BBC is also reporting on wonderful mass extinction end of the world stuff now too
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33209548

But lets not forget these things end up hitting mainstream news because they are big click items and generate lots of revenue.

In fact this extinction talk is nothing new
here is another article from 2010
http://phys.org/news....st.html

And Reuters article which seems to have set off this influx of recent articles
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-d....-unless

Personally I am not concerned.





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apenpaapDate: Saturday, 20.06.2015, 19:25 | Message # 6
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Quote Handbanana ()
Now, I know that this is a real issue, but are the claims that this will result in the end of humanity really legit?


Unlikely to wipe out humanity entirely, but there's definitely a chance it'll add to world food shortages and other major problems. Ecological collapse can happen quite suddenly and have surprising consequences that can easily mess with the ecosystem services we need.





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parameciumkidDate: Tuesday, 23.06.2015, 19:31 | Message # 7
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Oh look, more old science news.
Media are simply recirculating this again. Findings suggesting that we're in a sixth mass extinction have been made for several years now. In other news, global warming is tied to greenhouse gases and drinking alcohol impairs your ability to drive ;P





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midtskogenDate: Thursday, 25.06.2015, 12:44 | Message # 8
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Quote Watsisname ()
No, they're completely ridiculous. But where did you see this claimed?


The article:
Quote
"If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on," warns lead author Gerardo Ceballos.

We're certainly entering an event which will be detectable in the geological record, but there is hardly no better prepared species on Earth to deal with such changes than humans. It looks like the authors use the media to get attention by feeding them with highly speculative comments.





NIL DIFFICILE VOLENTI


Edited by midtskogen - Thursday, 25.06.2015, 12:45
 
WatsisnameDate: Thursday, 25.06.2015, 13:23 | Message # 9
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Lol. I'd opened the article, read the headline, then saw the link to the freetext paper which I then read instead of the article.

This is what the paper says:
Quote
The evidence is incontrovertible that recent extinction rates are unprecedented in human history and highly unusual in Earth’s history. Our analysis emphasizes that our global society has started to destroy species of other organisms at an accelerating rate, initiating a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years. If the currently elevated extinction pace is allowed to continue, humans will soon (in as little as three human lifetimes) be deprived of many biodiversity benefits. On human time scales, this loss would be effectively permanent because in the aftermath of past mass extinctions, the living world took hundreds of thousands to millions of years to rediversify.


Then Discovery puts this as
Quote
"If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on."


Did Discovery just slant the above text to increase its impact, or is it actually an unedited quote provided for the article by the scientist? Either way, it's pretty stupid and unfortunately both practices are common in science reporting. dry That's why I prefer reading the original papers...





 
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