Biologists assess `sixth extinction': The Toronto Star

In summary, the conversation discusses the alarming rate at which plants and their potential medicinal uses are disappearing, and how this is contributing to the ongoing sixth extinction on our planet. John Arnason, a biology professor, coined the term "sixth extinction" to describe this phenomenon. This issue has been explored by various experts, including Leakey, Eldredge, and National Geographic. There is hope that more biologists will take part in collecting DNA samples from these disappearing species, although funding may be an issue.
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Ivan Seeking

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The bad news is that the world's nearly countless plants — and the medicines they contain — are disappearing even more quickly than they can be located and studied. In most cases, we'll never even know that they existed or what lethal human diseases they might have cured.

Welcome to the "sixth extinction.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1066517109005&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467
 
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  • #2
Welcome to the "sixth extinction."

That's the chilling term used by John Arnason, a professor of biology at the University of Ottawa, to describe the steady decline of the planet's rich trove of biological species, both plants and animals.

Makes it sound like it's just Dr. Arnason's brainchild! More on the same topic...

Leakey wrote a whole book about it in 1995...
http://www.well.com/user/davidu/sixthextinction.html

Eldedge in 2001...
http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html [Broken]

National Geographic in 1999...
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/9902/fngm/
 
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  • #3
We can only hope that more biologists will get involved with collecting samples - DNA - from these quickly disappearing species. I doubt this effort is well funded though.
 

1. What is the sixth extinction?

The sixth extinction refers to the ongoing mass extinction of species on Earth, which is caused by human activities such as deforestation, pollution, and climate change.

2. Why is it important for biologists to assess the sixth extinction?

Biologists assess the sixth extinction to understand the extent of species loss and its impact on ecosystems, as well as to identify ways to mitigate and prevent further extinctions.

3. How do biologists assess the sixth extinction?

Biologists use various methods such as population surveys, species distribution modeling, and genetic analysis to assess the decline and extinction risk of species.

4. What is the role of humans in the sixth extinction?

Humans are the primary cause of the sixth extinction through their actions such as habitat destruction, overexploitation of resources, and introduction of invasive species.

5. What can be done to prevent the sixth extinction?

To prevent the sixth extinction, it is crucial to reduce human impacts on the environment by implementing sustainable practices, protecting habitats, and conserving threatened species.

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