Study: Species disappearing far faster than before

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Associated Press

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 1:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study by top biologists finds that species of plants and animals are becoming extinct 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene. They say the world is on the verge of a sixth great extinction.

The study looks at the past and present rates of extinction and finds a lower rate in the past than scientists had thought. Study lead author Stuart Pimm, a Duke University biologist, said that means that species are now disappearing from Earth at a rate about 10 times faster than biologists had figured before.

Pimm blamed a combination of habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change and overfishing.

The work, published Thursday by the journal Science, was hailed as a landmark study by outside experts.

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