How Current Human Activities Have Dwarfed Ammonites and Other Species Extinction

How Current Human Activities Have Dwarfed Ammonites and Other Species Extinction

In her non-fiction book, ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’ Elizabeth Kolbert chronicles previous biotic crisis by comparing them with the widespread and accelerated extinctions in the present time. For the last half-billion years, the life on the earth has been almost wiped out five times by such things as an intense ice age, climate change, volcanoes, and extraterrestrial elements. The signs indicate that we are on the precipice of the sixth life obliterating. Kolbert conjectures that the loss of flora and fauna by the end of the 21st century will be about twenty percent to fifty percent “of all living species on earth” (Kolbert 43). Among the species that have been obliterated are the Ammonites, but with an exception of past time in which the disappearance of flora and fauna was caused by natural factors, we have no one else but ourselves to blame for the mass extinction that is happening currently.

Ammonites were some of the last species that marked the boundary between human engineered extinction and natural one. Kolbert elucidates that the primary cause of the K–Pg extinction event that was attributed to the disappearance of ammonites, was not the asteroids impact itself, rather the dust and heat that was created (Kolbert 83). She explains that it is difficult to estimate the full scale of species that died from this catastrophe, but ammonites are part of groups of animals that did not die due to effects of asteroid. She notes that even though the Ammonites were ‘fit’ for their environment, one moment can change traits of living things. She asks “How could a creature be adapted, either well or ill, for conditions it has never before encountered in its entire evolutionary history? (Kolbert 90). However, even though the extinction of ammonites occurred during a short period, the rate at which human beings are currently altering the eco-balance threatens to extinct more livings things than all past events combined.

Kolbert examines human activities such as ocean acidification, fossil fluke consumption, deforestation, pollution, and forced migration that threatens all forms of life, where more than third or all living creatures “are headed toward oblivion………………………………

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