World’s sixth mass extinction may be underway: study

Richard Ingham and Laurent Banguet
March 6, 2011

Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth’s history, according to a paper released by the science journal Nature.

Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events.

But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species, and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases, says the study.

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