Mammals can not evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis

The endangered red panda threatened by climate change and habitat destruction has been identified by researchers as a creat

A new study has shown that many species of mammals will disappear in the next 50 years due to human activities. Succeeding each mass extinction evolution has developed anew to diffuse the gap created.

The study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the sixth mass extinction was happening now, not caused by natural disasters but by humans.

The reason for this is human activity, which has always been detrimental in nature that changed it and made it uninhabitable, reports the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, even with this overly optimistic scenario, it will take mammals 3-5 million years just to diversify enough to regenerate the branches of the evolutionary tree that they are expected to lose over the next 50 years. They believe that people are responsible for eliminating the evolutionary diversity that is on the planet.

Rebecca Naden/Reuters The endangered red panda, threatened by climate change and habitat destruction, has been identified by researchers as a creature with an especially rich and unique evolutionary history.

The analysis, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, specifically focused on mammals that now exist as well as those which went extinct as humans spread across the globe, but it provides insight on the broader biodiversity crisis.

Using powerful computers, advanced evolutionary simulations and comprehensive data about evolutionary relationships and body sizes of existing and extinct mammals, the researchers were able to quantify how much evolutionary time would be lost from past and potential future extinctions as well as how long recovery would take. If the extinction rate doesn't begin to fall in the next 20 to 100 years, the scientists say extinction on Earth will likely occur faster than evolution and more species will disappear, causing a much greater loss in biodiversity.

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Litopterns, like this one discovered by Charles Darwin, were a strange-looking group of prehistoric South American mammals that were not closely related to any species alive today. The five million will go on restoration of the ice age megafauna. "There are hundreds of types of shrimp, and one more extinction, they will survive, adds Matt Davis".

"Large mammals, or megafauna, such as giant sloths and sabre-toothed tigers, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago, were highly evolutionarily distinct", Davis said in a press release.

The elimination of some species meant the entire disappearance of their evolutionary branches; others lived on through their close relatives. There were only four species of saber-toothed tiger; they all went extinct'. "Since they had few close relatives, their extinctions meant that entire branches of Earth's evolutionary tree were chopped off" said paleontologist Matt Davis from Aarhus University, who led the study. The upcoming sixth mass extinction, however, is largely the work of humans. Asian elephants' chance of making it to the 22nd century is less than 33%, the study found.

Large mammal species, the researchers warn, are disproportionately at risk of dying out altogether.

"The few remaining giants, such as rhinos and elephants, are in danger of being wiped out very rapidly".

He noted that the planet no longer boasts giant beavers, giant deer, or giant armadillos. Although the findings are disappointing, the researchers note that their work may be used in order to prevent the extinction of unique species.

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