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An incredible variety of different organisms lives on our planet – all kinds of insects, animals, birds, fish, amphibians, etc. However, they all make up only 1% of the number of species that have ever lived on Earth. Yes, it’s hard to believe, but 99% of organisms are extinct. It happened during five mass extinctions. Currently, according to many experts, the sixth mass extinction is happening. Moreover, many species may disappear not sometime in the future, not in hundreds of years, but already now, by 2050. How likely is this turn of events and what animals could become extinct within the next 20 years?
The sixth mass extinction and its causes
The sixth extinction is completely different from the previous five. All the extinctions that have happened before have been due to various natural causes – volcanic activity, meteorite impacts, and so on. The sixth extinction is caused by human activities.
As it turned out recently, as a result of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, the planet has already gotten to some points of no return, as a result of which a catastrophe is already inevitable. Of course, this could not but affect the flora and fauna. Scientists estimate that by 2050, almost 40% of all living animal species may die.
The figure is simply amazing, but is it really not a mistake? Our world has changed rapidly in recent years. According to Nick Rawlens, a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, those species that cannot adapt to new conditions will face a reduction in ranges. First, there will be a local extinction, and then a complete one.
However, the current crisis has not yet become as global as the five previous ones. But, if no measures are taken, sooner or later it will reach the same proportions.
Which species will disappear in the near future
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, about 41,000 species (about a third of the total number of species) are currently threatened with extinction. These species include the Sumatran orangutan, the Amur leopard, the Sumatran elephant, the black rhinoceros, the Cross River gorilla, and many others. Over the past ten years, the population of these animals has decreased by 89-90%.
For example, only 70 Amur leopards remain in the wild, and the number of vaquita, porpoises, considered the rarest marine mammal in the world, is 10 individuals. More than 40% of insect species are also endangered , according to data published in the journal Biological Conservation. These include the white-finned grasshopper, southern alpine bush cricket, Swanepoel’s blue butterfly, Franklin’s bumblebee, Seychellois wingless leafhopper, etc.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, more than 90% of the world’s coral reefs could die by 2050, even if global warming can be kept at 1.5 degrees Celsius. The cause of the death of coral reefs is mainly marine heat waves, which we talked about earlier.
However, exact data on the number of species that are threatened and may disappear by 2050, according to scientists, is not yet available. Therefore, the extent of the extinction has yet to be ascertained.
Can Animals Survive Global Warming?
According to some experts, many species are able to adapt, but it takes time for them to do so. As reported in a study published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Some animals and birds may easily adapt to changing conditions. For example, several species of Australian parrots have evolved over the past 150 years. The increased beak size allowed them to better regulate their internal temperature.
It follows that humanity can reduce the effects of global warming on animals by at least slowing down this process. But, in any case, some species will not be able to adapt. It remains to be hoped that scientists will someday be able to bring extinct animals back to life with the help of genetic engineering. Recall that work is already underway on the “resurrection” of the Tasmanian tiger.To Read Great Articles, Click Here Follow Us On Facebook Twitter Telegram