Redwoods on Brink of Extinction

By Matt Baume
|  Sunday, Mar 6, 2011  |  Updated 8:16 AM PDT
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Redwoods on Brink of Extinction

Say your goodbyes to bees, sea gulls, and redwood trees. UC Berkeley scientists announced this week that at the current rate of extinction, we'll lose 75% of the species on earth within the next 300 years.

According to the Mercury News, the irreversible extinctions have already been set in motion, with losses that include various bird, tiger, amphibian, and plant species.

They're calling it a mass extinction, an event that's only happened a few times in the history of the Earth. One such extinction was caused by an asteroid impact, but the latest trend seems to be caused by humans and climate change.

The findings are based on an analysis of fossils, showing that extinctions were far less common in ancient times. The research confirms biologists' anecdotal findings of shrinking habitats and dwindling areas in which to study what few species are left.

There's reason for hope, though not much: because humans are likely to blame for the die-off, we may be able to stop it. The key, one biologist said, was to slow the planet's human population growth and to consume fewer natural resources, two suggestions that are likely to sound completely unpalatable to greedy humans.

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