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Humans Driving the Next Mass Extinction August 1, 2014
African elephants
If elephants and other large endangered mammals disappear, smaller species will sufferer from the loss, including humans.
Earth may be on the verge of the planet’s sixth mass extinction, which scientists say would be caused this time by human activities rather than geological transformations or catastrophic asteroid strikes.

Researchers say that despite biodiversity being the highest in Earth’s 3.5 billion years of evolutional trial and error, more than 320 land animals have become extinct since 1500.

Whether wiped out by hunting, loss of habitat or pollution, the unprecedented loss of animal species is the highest since humans emerged and grew to dominate the planet.

Writing in the journal Science, lead author and Stanford biologist Rodolfo Dirzo estimates that between 16 and 33 percent of all species are now globally threatened or endangered.

The report said that large animals, like elephants, rhinos and polar bears, are in the greatest danger.

But once they are gone, trickle-down effects from their losses would shake the stability of other species, including humans.

Photo: Pixabay