The Coming Sixth Extinction

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Woolly Mammoth model in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada).

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert, looks at the issue and at researchers working in the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef.