Science/Tech

Aliens, Humans Causing Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction, Study Says

The Earth today is believed to be quietly experiencing its sixth mass extinction. Several studies provided evidence that many species around the world have been facing a "biological annihilation" linked to human activity and the sudden spread of alien species. 

Hotter oceans, deforestation, mining and climate change are among the human-induced factors affecting the sudden decrease in the number of animal populations, with some already close to extinction.

Aside from human activities damaging the environment, scientists have been also witnessing an increase in invasive aliens that are driving native species to extinction, Business Insider first reported.

To date, 40 percent of the world's insect species are in decline. A recently published study showed that the total mass of all insects worldwide has been decreasing by 2.5 percent annually, a trend that may lead to the extinction of all insects by 2119.

Larger animals are also suffering from the effects of the ongoing mass extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, 40 percent of the planet's amphibians, 33 percent of coral reefs and 25 percent of mammals are approaching extinction. 

If the world fails to address the trend, the IUCN predicts that within the next 100 years, 99.9 percent of today’s critically endangered species and 67 percent of endangered species will be lost.

The growing human land use is also causing a significant drop in the number of animal habitats. Scientists expect that by 2070 about 1,700 species will lose 30  to 50 percent of their present habitat ranges.

Meanwhile, a study published earlier this month showed that alien species — animals, plants, fungi or bacteria that are not native to an ecosystem — have been causing recent animal and plant extinctions as well.

Some of these foreign species are invasive that they harm any environment. Researchers said many invasive alien species are unintentionally spread by humans from one continent, country or region to another. 

Human travel and shipments of goods and cargo are among the activities contributing to the spread of alien species. The study found that since the year 1500, one-third of the 953 global extinctions are linked to the introduction of alien species.

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