University of California, Berkeley scientists have said that a devastating decline of amphibian species around the world is a sign of a biodiversity disaster, larger than just the deaths of frogs and salamanders.
Researchers said that the massive die-offs of amphibians and other plant and animal species look to be mounting up to a new mass extinction.
David Wake, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley said:
“There’s no question that we are in a mass extinction spasm right now, Amphibians have been around for about 250 million years. They made it through when the dinosaurs didn’t. The fact that they’re cutting out now should be a lesson for us
Scientist noted that old species die off and new ones replace them all the time. But the rate of species disappearing overwhelmingly out number the emergence of new species. Extreme cases of this are called mass extinction events. Of which the Earth has only experienced 5 of these events. That is until now.
David Wake and other scientist argue that this sixth extinction is different than the previous five.
Mr. Wake further commented:
“My feeling is that behind all this lies the heavy hand of Homo sapiens
He also said that there wasn't any consensus among the scientific community of when all of this actually started to happen but he did say this about it:
" It may have been 10,000 years ago, when humans first came from Asia to the Americas and hunted many of the large mammals to extinction.
It may have started after the Industrial Revolution, when the human population exploded. Or, we might be seeing the start of it right now
He also went on to state that no matter when it started. The data shows that the extinction rates have dramatically increase and it reveals a bleak example of global amphibian extinction.
In 2004, researchers found that nearly one-third of amphibian species are threatened, and many of the non-threatened species are on in decline.
In closing, No matter whether you believe that we are the cause of this new found extinction or only a catalyst aiding it or if this is just another example of the cycle of life here on Earth, it doesn't bode well for amphibians and aquatic plant life.
The study was co-authored by Wake and Vance Vredenburg, research associate at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley and assistant professor of biology at San Francisco State University.