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Posted Sat Aug 15 2009: from
Species Discoved, Species Extinguished
We are in the middle of a golden age for discovering new wildlife around the globe. And, at the same time, we are bringing about the greatest toll of extinctions in some 65 million years. Not since the death of the dinosaurs have so many species been dying out so fast. Scientists increasingly believe as Lord May, the former president of the Royal Society, has put it -- that "we are on the breaking tip of a sixth great wave of extinction in the history of life on Earth". And yet scientific collections and reference volumes are bulging as never before, as more and more species are found, described and named.... And just this week, WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) announced that 100 new animal and 250 plant species had been identified over the last decade in the eastern Himalayas alone. Yet the scientists excitedly adding to our knowledge are merely trying to hobble up a downward escalator that is rapidly accelerating: we are losing species infinitely faster than we are finding them.... And for every new discovery ... hundreds of species perish before they are ever found. Like the death toll, the consequences are incalculable.
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