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Tag: extinctions

Should cats be culled to stop extinctions?

Should cats be culled to stop extinctions?

Science
Scientists are calling for a widespread cull of feral cats and dogs, pigs, goats, and rats and mice to save the endangered species they prey upon.Their eradication on more than 100 islands could save some of the rarest animals on Earth, says an international team.Islands have seen 75% of known bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile extinctions over the past 500 years.Many of the losses are caused by animals introduced by humans.Not naturally present on islands, they can threaten native wildlife. "Eradicating invasive mammals from islands is a powerful way to remove a key threat to island species and prevent extinctions and conserve biodiversity," said Dr Nick Holmes, from the group Island Conservation. More stories like this:Loss of...
Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Science
March 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have uncovered new evidence that a cosmic impact sparked wildfires and triggered a period of global climate change at the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 13,000 years ago. Previously, researchers had only found evidence of the period of climatic change known as the Younger Dryas, or YDB, in the Northern Hemisphere. New findings, however, suggest the Southern Hemisphere also experienced a sudden climatic shift -- and much more. "We have identified the YDB layer at high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere at near 41 degrees south, close to the tip of South America," James Kennett, geology professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a news release. Kennett is a proponent of the Younger Dryas Boundary Impact Hypothesis, which pos...
Bird extinctions 'driven' by global food trade

Bird extinctions 'driven' by global food trade

Science
About 100 bird species are predicted to go extinct based on current farming and forestry practices, according to a new global analysis. This number has increased by 7% over the first ten years of this century alone, say scientists.They say the biggest factor is cattle farming, but the impact of oil seed crops like palm and soy is growing fast. By comparison, an estimated 140 birds have been lost over the past 400 years.International researchers used bird extinction as a measure of the loss of biodiversity - the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat - linked with international trade in food and timber.Five key things about the extinction crisisWhy we may soon have no bananas (again)Mass extinctio...
Bacteria extinctions are quite common, study shows

Bacteria extinctions are quite common, study shows

Science
July 30 (UPI) -- Until now, many scientists thought microbes rarely go extinct. But new research suggests bacteria species disappear at surprisingly high rates. According to the latest analysis, when bacteria do go extinct, they fade away. The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, showed bacteria are rarely snuffed out by mass extinction events. Scientists used advanced computer models to simulate microbial evolution over the last few billion years. "Bacteria rarely fossilize, so we know very little about how the microbial landscape has evolved over time," Stilianos Louca, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, said in a news release. "Sequencing and math helped us fill in the bacterial family tree, map how they've diversified over time, and unc...