A new study has recently predicted that by 2100 the world would see the extinction of around 558 species of mammals by 2100.
The study, moreover, revealed that Australia and the Caribbean are already in the middle of a ‘second wave’ of mammalian extinctions.
“By the year 2100, we predict all areas of the world to have entered the second wave of extinctions,” the researchers said.
They further claimed that their simulation results indicate that this additional wave of anthropogenic extinctions may be much greater than the currently increased rates.
“This additional wave of anthropogenic extinctions may be much greater by several orders of magnitude,” the researchers said.
The study results were published in the September 4, 2020 issue of Science Advances.
“When accounting for the current threat level of species, we predict 558 extinctions,” the researchers said.
“This pattern is reflected in all analysed subsets of the data and is particularly large for Africa, the Americas and Eurasia since current extinction rates for these continents are still at a comparatively moderate level, yet many species are severely endangered,” they further said.
The study further stated that human intervention is large to be blamed for this extinction of mammals.
The team of researchers further informed that there are approximately 5,700 existing mammal species in the world.
“At least 351 mammal species had gone extinct since the beginning of the Late Pleistocene 126,000 years ago,” the researchers said.
“80 of these 351 species were known from historical reports since the year 1500 CE, while all others are only known from fossil or zooarcheological records,” they added.
“Extinctions of mammals coincided sharply with the timing of human arrival in continents like the Americas and Australia as well as island systems like Madagascar and the Caribbean,” the researchers said.
The researchers further informed that humans first arrived in Australia between 65,000 and 44,000 years ago.
In North America, humans (‘Paleo Indians’) first came between 21,000 and 11,000 years ago, they said.
For South America, the timing was between 35,000 and 8,000 years ago and in Madagascar, they came between 10,000 and 4,000 years ago and between 7,000 and 4,000 years in the Caribbean.
“Human population density, as a single predictor, explained mammalian extinction patterns with 96 per cent accuracy,” the study stated.
Similarly, human land occupation predicted past extinctions with 97.1 per cent accuracy.
“Our results show that human population density has substantial predictive power over the process, probably because it is correlated with other anthropogenic factors such as more intensive hunting pressure, land use, ecosystem modifications, for example, through the use of fire and several cascading effects that result from human impact on the natural world,” they noted.