pattern of alternating extinctions and radiations Name Institution Professor Course Date Introduction Since the evolution of humankind the earth is now on its sixth mass extinction. According to Edward Wilson (1992) about 30000 world species in each year are driven by extinction. When comparing Wilson’s estimates to the natural background of extinction per million species annually it easier to understand why Wilson refers it as an underlying crisis unparalleled in the history of humankind. The current sixth extinction differs from all other extinctions because the process is driven by a galactic process. The extinction is exhibited when the human race migrated out of the horn of Africa to the Middle East 100 000 years ago to Australia and Europe 40 000 years ago to the Caribbean 7800 years ago and to North America 12000 years ago (Kolbert 2014). What followed was mass extinction; the colonization and extinction patterns was serious and irreversible effect of unsustainable human population and radiation (Kolbert 2014). But unfortunately many scholars in the field of science have only analyzed what a sustainable human population should look like presuming that their main objective is to keep the human race to an environment where they can access enough food and clean water for their own survival (Kolbert 2014). Human notion of ecological footprint and sustainability justifies people’s notion of the world worth living (Kolbert 2014). The notion presumes that the human population allow themselves to enjoy themselves with enough space and resources for all world species to comfortably. References Archibald J. D. (2011). Extinction and radiation: How the fall of dinosaurs led to the rise of mammals. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Kolbert E. (2014). The sixth extinction: An unnatural history. A&C Black. Wilson E. O. (1992). The diversity of life. Cambridge Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press. [...]
In our online lecture we include a quote by E. O. Wilson, “The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.” Throughout Earth’s history, we have had long periods of innovation and radiation of new species which have been interrupted periodically by five major extinction events that eliminated large percentages of the life on Earth. The last of these appears to have involved a collision with a large asteroid resulting in the loss of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous. Each of these events has been followed by a new period of radiation of new species and innovation. As Wilson states, we are now in the midst of a sixth major extinction event that has been brought on by the actions of humans. Describe the common pattern of alternating extinctions and radiations. Consider Wilson’s statement. What evidence can you find to support or refute that statement? Do you agree with Wilson? Explain why you do or don’t agree and present the evidence supporting your opinion.