Scientists have calculated that nature needs three to five million years to restore biodiversity of large mammals that will disappear in the coming decades.
What is happening today with the biosphere of the Earth, scientists have boldly called the “sixth mass extinction”. Influenced by human activities changes in the environment occur so rapidly that natural mechanisms of evolution can’t keep up. And if humanity does not take radical measures, in a century of change becomes critical, and the renewal of nature will need at least three to five million years is not too long for the planet, but for us, in alarmingly distant. These figures are called scientists from Sweden and Denmark, article which was published in the journal PNAS, writes naked-science.
Matt Davis (Matt Davis) from Aarhus University and his colleagues used information from a database about modern and extinct during the existence of our species of mammals. The authors note that the disappearance of different species may have different consequences from the point of view of biodiversity: for example, the death of one dog is not much affected even in this family, but the death of the South American macrauchenia, exotic ungulates, closes the whole window of opportunities for further evolution and a potential branch in a “tree” of mammals.
So, the representatives of extinct Paleolithic megafauna – mammoths, giant sloths, and so forth – until recently, played a huge role in various biocenoses. Today they have disappeared, their relatives are not numerous, and are available for future research to take their place simply no.
“There are hundreds of types of shrimp, and one more extinction, they will survive. But saber-toothed tigers were only four kinds, and they all disappeared,” adds Matt Davis.
The position of modern large mammals, especially dangerous. Many species are at risk to disappear in the next 50 years. The probability of extinction of the Asian elephant (one of only two species extant) to the end of the XXI century is estimated at 33%. According to the calculations of Davis and his co-authors, to recover all branches of mammals disappear in the next 50 years, will need not less than three million and five million will need to restore megafauna ice age.
“It is much easier to protect biodiversity than to repair it later,” adds Matt Davis.