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Evidence of Sixth Great Extinction Species are vanishing quicker than at any point in the last 65 million years

The Independent UK - One more step in what scientists are increasingly referring to as the Sixth Great Extinction is announced today: the disappearance of yet another bird species. The vanishing of the Alaotra grebe of Madagascar is formally notified this morning by the global conservation partnership BirdLife International - and it marks a small but ominous step in the biological process which seems likely to dominate the 21st century.

Researchers now recognise five earlier cataclysmic events in the earth's prehistory when most species on the planet died out, the last being the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event of 65 million years ago, which may have been caused by a giant meteorite striking the earth, and which saw the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

But the rate at which species are now disappearing makes many biologists consider we are living in a sixth major extinction comparable in scale to the others - except that this one has been caused by humans. In essence, we are driving plants and animals over the abyss faster than new species can evolve. Read more.

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