Extinction event/Talk

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Some people claim that we are living in the middle of another, man-made extinction event right now. However, humanity's effects are trivia compared with the extinction events shown in the fossil record.

Is that a fact? I've seen estimates on damage that are comparable to the smaller or intermediate sized mass extinctions, if nothing like the boundaries that end the Mesozoic and Palaeozoic eras.

If those are the same estimates that I've seen -- that something like 50,000 species a year are dying out -- they are not particularly reliable. The ones I've seen have all been created by organizations like the Sierra Club and people like Al Gore and Paul Ehrlich who have large, flaming political agenda that such figures are constructed to support. Over the past 500 years, almost 90 per cent of the forest along the Atlantic coast of Brazil has been cleared. However, no one has found a single known species that could be declared extinct. According to the "mass extinction" figures, about half the known species in that Brazilian forest should have been lost.
But if you can cite figures commonly accepted by paleontologists -- figures that, say, appeared in a peer-reviewed journal -- feel free to enter them! --The Epopt

Do a search for something like "current mass extinction" in google, and you will find a great number of hits, including articles in Nature and Science. It looks to me like the mass extinction view is closer to a consensus than to a minority of politically motivated views. At the very least there is enough here to remove the sentence from the article, which I'm doing.

We should move this discussion to Holocene extinction event anyway.