Thursday, October 11, 2007
Mass Extinction Underway Biodiversity Crisis Global Species Loss: "The rapid disappearance of species was ranked as one of the planet's gravest environmental worries, surpassing pollution, global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer, according to the survey of 400 scientists commissioned by New York's American Museum of Natural History. The poll's release yesterday comes on the heels of a groundbreaking study of plant diversity that concluded than at least one in eight known plant species is threatened with extinction. Although scientists are divided over the specific numbers, many believe that the rate of loss is greater now than at any time in history. 'The speed at which species are being lost is much faster than any we've seen in the past -- including those [extinctions] related to meteor collisions,' said Daniel Simberloff, a University of Tennessee ecologist and prominent expert in biological diversity who participated in the museum's survey. [Note: the last mass extinction caused by a meteor collision was that of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.]"