Earth’s history is long. Within the chronology of our planet there have undoubtedly been dramatic events that have rewritten its pages, such as the five events of mass destruction. If these were caused by nature, today we can say that humans are causing the sixth mass extinction.
In a new study published in the journal Biological Reviews, researchers estimate that up to 13% of all invertebrates species may have been extinct in the last 500 years. According to the authors, the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) gives the impression that the current rate of loss of species remains in line with the underlying rate, but in reality this figure is distorted.
According to the authors of the study, in fact, we could really be witnesses of the beginning of the sixth mass extinction. To demonstrate their theories, experts used a 2015 study as a reference that concluded that about 7% of the species of earth snails have been extinct since 1500.
Assuming that this figure represents the extinction rates of all non-marine invertebrates, researchers estimate that between 7.5 and 13% of the two million known shellfish species have now disappeared. In absolute figures, this is equivalent to about 150,000 and 260,000 extinctions, which is significantly higher than 882 species of molluscs listed as extinct from the Red List.
This figure is based on a assumption and has not been definitively verified. However, researchers conclude that a sixth mass extinction event has already begun and is caused by human activities.