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17 signs we're in the middle of a 6th mass extinction

Business Insider Logo By Aylin Woodward of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 22: 
  The planet appears to be undergoing 
    a sixth mass extinction: the sixth time in the history of
    life on Earth that global fauna has experienced a major
    collapse in numbers.
  
  Historically, mass extinctions have been caused by
  catastrophic events like asteroid collisions. This time, human
  activities are to blame.
  
  
    
    A new report from the United Nations found that up to 1
    million species are threatened with extinction.
  
  The primary culprits are deforestation, mining, and carbon
  dioxide-emissions, which cause the planet to heat up.
  
  As a result, frogs and 
    insects are dying off at record rates, animal species are
    experiencing "biological
    annihilation," and invasive aliens are driving native
    species to extinction.
  

  The phrase "mass extinction" typically conjures images of the
  asteroid crash that led to the twilight of the dinosaurs.

  Upon impact, that 6-mile-wide space rock caused a tsunami in the
  Atlantic Ocean, along with earthquakes and landslides up and down
  what is now the Americas. A heat pulse baked the Earth, and the
  
  Tyrannosaurus rex and its compatriots died out, 
  along with 75% of the planet's species.

  Although it may not be obvious, another devastating mass
  extinction event is taking place today - the sixth of its kind in
  Earth's history. The trend is hitting global fauna on multiple
  fronts, as 
  hotter oceans, deforestation, and 
  climate change drive animal populations to drop in
  unprecedented numbers.

  These alarming extinction trends are driven by one key factor:
  humans. According to a 2014
  study, current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than
  they would be if humans weren't around. A summary of a United Nations report
  released Monday put it another way: "Human actions threaten more
  species with global extinction now than ever before," the authors
  wrote.

  That report, which assesses the state of our planet's
  biodiversity, found that up to 1 million plant and
  animals species face extinction, many within decades, due
  to human activity.

  
    Read more:
    
  Insects are dying off at record rates - an ominous sign we're in
  the middle of a 6th mass extinction
  

  Other recent research has led to similar conclusions: A 2017 study
  found that animal species around the world are experiencing a
  "biological annihilation" and that our current "mass extinction
  episode has proceeded further than most assume."

  Here are 17 signs that the planet is in the midst of 
  a sixth mass extinction, and why people are primarily to
  blame.

  • The planet appears to be undergoing a sixth mass extinction: the sixth time in the history of life on Earth that global fauna has experienced a major collapse in numbers.
  • Historically, mass extinctions have been caused by catastrophic events like asteroid collisions. This time, human activities are to blame.
  • A new report from the United Nations found that up to 1 million species are threatened with extinction.
  • The primary culprits are deforestation, mining, and carbon dioxide-emissions, which cause the planet to heat up.
  • As a result, frogs and insects are dying off at record rates, animal species are experiencing "biological annihilation," and invasive aliens are driving native species to extinction.

The phrase "mass extinction" typically conjures images of the asteroid crash that led to the twilight of the dinosaurs.

Upon impact, that 6-mile-wide space rock caused a tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean, along with earthquakes and landslides up and down what is now the Americas. A heat pulse baked the Earth, and the Tyrannosaurus rex and its compatriots died out, along with 75% of the planet's species.

Although it may not be obvious, another devastating mass extinction event is taking place today - the sixth of its kind in Earth's history. The trend is hitting global fauna on multiple fronts, as hotter oceans, deforestation, and climate change drive animal populations to drop in unprecedented numbers.

These alarming extinction trends are driven by one key factor: humans. According to a 2014 study, current extinction rates are 1,000 times higher than they would be if humans weren't around. A summary of a United Nations report released Monday put it another way: "Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before," the authors wrote.

That report, which assesses the state of our planet's biodiversity, found that up to 1 million plant and animals species face extinction, many within decades, due to human activity.

Other recent research has led to similar conclusions: A 2017 study found that animal species around the world are experiencing a "biological annihilation" and that our current "mass extinction episode has proceeded further than most assume." 

Here are 17 signs that the planet is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, and why people are primarily to blame.

© Eliseo Fernandez/Reuters

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