SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 - Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     26th July 2023        
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Context: The planet’s sixth mass extinction, fuelled by human activities, may trigger a rapid biodiversity imbalance, according to scientists.

  • With biodiversity declines greatly exceeding the levels of increase, nearly 50 per cent of the animal population across all strata is being driven towards extinction - and eventually towards mass extinction.
  • Mass extinction occurs when 75 percent of the world’s species collapses in less than 2.8 million years.

Mass extinction

  • A mass extinction is a short period of geological time in which a high percentage of biodiversity, or distinct species - bacteria, fungi, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates—dies out. 
  • In this definition, it’s important to note that, in geological time, a ‘short’ period can span thousands or even millions of years. 
  • The planet has experienced five previous mass extinction events, the last one occurring 65.5 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs from existence. 
  • Experts now believe we’re in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.
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