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Old 4th September 2019, 11:48 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Everybody talks about extinction events like they're a bad thing. But they provide room for explosive evolution. We wouldn't exist without them.
We're going to have some interesting and different creatures in the ocean eventually:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ns-study-says/
Quote:
If we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, the nonprofit foundation said in a report Tuesday.
Hard to say at this stage what the selective pressures will be on our own species after we've overwhelmingly run out of oil, and how we'll change over time as a result.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:15 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Quote:
plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound
I know this isn't your fault, but... that's not what "pound for pound" means. Pound for pound, everything weighs the same. Because it's pounds.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:28 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
That was the only citation given for that particular claim.
No it wasn't. I'm having a hard time taking your objections as honest.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:36 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Everybody talks about extinction events like they're a bad thing. But they provide room for explosive evolution. We wouldn't exist without them.
I wouldn't argue that the prior ones were bad since I don't think any then existent species were capable of appreciating the diversity that was lost. Possibly very few were even capable of appreciating beauty in any species other than their own or their immediate food sources, if even that. But this time is different. It's certainly making the world less interesting and attractive to me. And there is a real risk we're endangering our own existence.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:43 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
No it wasn't. I'm having a hard time taking your objections as honest.
Here's the full paragraph from wiki:

Quote:
In The Future of Life (2002), Edward Osborne Wilson of Harvard calculated that, if the current rate of human disruption of the biosphere continues, one-half of Earth's higher lifeforms will be extinct by 2100. A 1998 poll conducted by the American Museum of Natural History found that 70% of biologists acknowledge an ongoing anthropogenic extinction event.[25] At present, the rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the background extinction rate, the historically typical rate of extinction (in terms of the natural evolution of the planet)[4][5][26]; also, the current rate of extinction is 10 to 100 times higher than in any of the previous mass extinctions in the history of Earth. One scientist estimates the current extinction rate may be 10,000 times the background extinction rate, although most scientists predict a much lower extinction rate than this outlying estimate.[27] Theoretical ecologist Stuart Pimm stated that the extinction rate for plants is 100 times higher than normal.[28]
Citations always come after the claim being cited, right?

In academic literature, they do.

eta:
And I don't really have an objections other than wondering where the claim is actually at, and noting that it's an unusual case of it not being in the listed citation.
I've looked all over for something to back the claim "the current rate of extinction is 10 to 100 times higher than in any of the previous mass extinctions in the history of Earth" and I can't locate it. I assume it's probably correct - I just can't find it.
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Last edited by kellyb; 4th September 2019 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:47 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Here's the full paragraph from wiki:

Citations always come after the claim being cited, right?

In academic literature, they do.

FFS. Seriously?
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:53 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
FFS. Seriously?
Yes, seriously.
That's how citations actually work in scientific papers, and at least a vast majority of the time in wikipedia.
[eta: there are exceptions sometimes, but they're written in an obvious way, such as writing something like "The mechanism underlying the effectiveness of insulin for type one diabetes has been well-understood for decades" (insert citations 1-35)." ...and then in the rest of the paragraph the writers explain what all is known.]

The whole reason I'm looking at this was to argue with this.

Any sort of backing of the wiki claim about "the current rate of extinction is 10 to 100 times higher than in any of the previous mass extinctions" would suffice as the "figures" he sought, and more.
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Last edited by kellyb; 4th September 2019 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 4th September 2019, 12:58 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
It's certainly making the world less interesting and attractive to me.
That's selfish and likely not even true. How much species loss can you personally even notice?

Quote:
And there is a real risk we're endangering our own existence.
I doubt it, but that's a very different problem.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:00 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ns-study-says/

Originally Posted by Washington Post
If we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, the nonprofit foundation said in a report Tuesday.
Hmmm.... I have some questions and I need help from other forum members.

The Washington Post is citing a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF gives a figure for the estimated weight of all the fish in the ocean in 2015. They suggest (or are figuring) that the estimated weight will be the same in 2050. The do mention that the weight could change over time due to overfishing but they do not use a reduced figure and stay with the estimate from 2015. The WEF says that the weight of all the fish is estimated at 812 million tonnes. That number is 812,000,000 tonnes.

The WEF didn't do the actual weight estimate. For that figure they reference the original scientific paper presented by numerous scientists and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences (PRSB). I looked at that original scientific paper and could not find the figure of 812 million tonnes anywhere. The estimate of total fish weight that they give is this...

Originally Posted by PRSB
Global fish biomass was approximated as 8.99◊108 t (2.80 g m−2)
That number is 899,000,000t.

So, I have two questions...

Does the "t" in the PRSB number represent tonnes or tons?

Where did the WEF get the figure of 812 million tonnes?

I thought that it might be a conversion factor - but I cannot arrive at 812 from 899 by converting tonnes to tons or by converting tons to tonnes.


Links to these things (you already have the Washington Post link)...

WEF (a PDF file): http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The...cs_Economy.pdf

PRSB: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2602712
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:08 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
It's certainly making the world less interesting and attractive to me.
Is it? How much species loss can you personally even notice?

Quote:
And there is a real risk we're endangering our own existence.
I doubt it. Mass extinctions are hardest on niche species. Generalists tend to do well, and we're generalists.
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Old 4th September 2019, 01:45 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
How much species loss can you personally even notice?
I personally noticed one extinction. It's the Golden toad (Incilius periglenes) which was formerly named Bufo periglenes.

It only lived in a very small area in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica. I was at the reserve in 1983 for two weeks. Although I walked through their specific location within the reserve nearly every day it was only on my very last day that they emerged from underground to begin mating. The experience of seeing hundreds of them suddenly being there in a place I had walked for weeks was astonishing. I spent hours with them. They were so numerous in that little area that you really had to watch where you stepped. I took many slide photographs.

The Golden toad became extinct in 1989, so I saw it 6 years before they vanished forever.

The personal effect of that extinction on me is purely emotional and involves sorrow and abstract anger. I have not returned to Monteverde but I know that the chance to see them no longer exists. That event was one of the most extraordinary experiences in my life and it is impossible to repeat it for myself or anyone.

On the other hand, my photographs of the toads and their mating and their egg spawn masses have probably become somewhat valuable.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Iperiglenes.jpg (98.4 KB, 3 views)
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:31 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post

The WEF didn't do the actual weight estimate. For that figure they reference the original scientific paper presented by numerous scientists and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences (PRSB). I looked at that original scientific paper and could not find the figure of 812 million tonnes anywhere. The estimate of total fish weight that they give is this...



That number is 899,000,000t.
The BBC says:
https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35562253

Quote:
The new numbers for fish tonnage that the Ellen MacArthur foundation has cited are based on a 2008 study led by Simon Jennings from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science. His team used satellite imagery to measure the extent of microscopic plants known as phytoplankton in all the world's oceans. Because these tiny plants are so abundant, they alter the surface colour of the ocean over large areas, and these changes can be viewed from space.

And because almost the entire marine food web is ultimately dependent on phytoplankton, this data can be used to create an estimate for the total tonnage of fish living in the ocean. It is this work that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's figure of 899 million tonnes of fish comes from.
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:43 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
So, it looks like t = tonnes.

I still don't know why WEF uses 812 instead of 899.
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:46 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Everybody talks about extinction events like they're a bad thing. But they provide room for explosive evolution. We wouldn't exist without them.
Seriously?
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Old 4th September 2019, 02:48 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Is it? How much species loss can you personally even notice?







I doubt it. Mass extinctions are hardest on niche species. Generalists tend to do well, and we're generalists.
I can't believe I am reading this.
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Old 4th September 2019, 03:04 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Is it? How much species loss can you personally even notice?

I don't know how are lives might differ in that you can ask such a question. I am reminded of it daily.
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Old 4th September 2019, 03:14 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
Seriously?
It's a common expression in evolutionary science. It goes something like this...

If the dinosaurs, which populated all of the ecological niches, had not gone extinct, then the mammals would not have been able to evolve beyond being delicious little furballs scurrying among the shadows and hidey-holes.
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Old 4th September 2019, 04:35 PM   #98
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I discovered a long time ago that I can't even keep plants alive, but at least I don't feel terrible guilt over killing them the way I would with an animal. Hence no pets (and only silk plants).
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Old 4th September 2019, 04:59 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It's a common expression in evolutionary science. It goes something like this...

If the dinosaurs, which populated all of the ecological niches, had not gone extinct, then the mammals would not have been able to evolve beyond being delicious little furballs scurrying among the shadows and hidey-holes.
And not just that extinction. After every major extinction, many new species evolve to fill the ecological niches that extinct species vacate. The dinosaurs themselves are the beneficiaries of previous extinctions.
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Old 4th September 2019, 05:00 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I don't know how are lives might differ in that you can ask such a question. I am reminded of it daily.
You are reminded of it daily, or you notice it yourself daily? Because there's a rather big difference.
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Old 4th September 2019, 06:06 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And not just that extinction. After every major extinction, many new species evolve to fill the ecological niches that extinct species vacate. The dinosaurs themselves are the beneficiaries of previous extinctions.
And most of us reading this wouldn't exist if the Black Death hadn't killed off a bunch of people competing with our ancestors. That doesn't mean plagues are good things, or desirable. That some good results in spite of a bad event doesn't mean it's welcome.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:04 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And not just that extinction. After every major extinction, many new species evolve to fill the ecological niches that extinct species vacate. The dinosaurs themselves are the beneficiaries of previous extinctions.
Sure, but the timescales of the renewal of biological diversity are so far beyond human timescales as to be pretty meaningless to us now.
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Old 4th September 2019, 07:19 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sure, but the timescales of the renewal of biological diversity are so far beyond human timescales as to be pretty meaningless to us now.
I think that it requires discarding anthropocentrism for it to be meaningful. This is not an easy mindset to fall into. Evolutionary scientists are able to do it well and it may be necessary for fully understanding evolution and the history and future of life here and possibly elsewhere.
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Old 4th September 2019, 11:00 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I think that it requires discarding anthropocentrism for it to be meaningful. This is not an easy mindset to fall into. Evolutionary scientists are able to do it well and it may be necessary for fully understanding evolution and the history and future of life here and possibly elsewhere.
Personally I think that the future of life on this planet, and elsewhere in our solar system at least, will be so heavily influenced by that activity of humans (and our descendants), that making projections based on the past is unlikely to be particularly useful.

When we drive species to extinction a lot of that is due to our taking over of their habitats and resources. In past extinction events the pressures that caused the extinctions were alleviated, allowing other species to diversify to fill those now empty niches. But how likely are we to stop relieve those resources pressures in such a way as to allow those niches to open up again?
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Old 5th September 2019, 12:42 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
They only cancel out if your corgi has a fatal crash.
In a tunnel.

In Paris.
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Old 5th September 2019, 05:26 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Personally I think that the future of life on this planet, and elsewhere in our solar system at least, will be so heavily influenced by that activity of humans (and our descendants), that making projections based on the past is unlikely to be particularly useful.

When we drive species to extinction a lot of that is due to our taking over of their habitats and resources. In past extinction events the pressures that caused the extinctions were alleviated, allowing other species to diversify to fill those now empty niches. But how likely are we to stop relieve those resources pressures in such a way as to allow those niches to open up again?
Good point.
The only evolutionary niches we seem to be promoting are those of exotic virus' and bacteria.
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Old 5th September 2019, 05:31 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Distracted1 View Post
Good point.
The only evolutionary niches we seem to be promoting are those of exotic virus' and bacteria.
We're also promoting animals that are delicious to eat, useful for work, or merely cute as pets. Ditto for plants for eating and ornament. And our gut bacteria have flourished for millions of generations on our increasingly bizarre diets; probably we have had the largest impact on those species.
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Old 5th September 2019, 07:58 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Yes, seriously.
That's how citations actually work in scientific papers, and at least a vast majority of the time in wikipedia. ... blah blah blah

I'm really not taking you seriously now. You seem to be going out of your way to reject that conclusion. You first went to a citation for a different sentence. When you quoted the sentence that actually contains what you claim to be wanting confirmation of you cut it in half completely eliminating the citations that were embedded in the sentence you are asking about.


I'm sorry that the precise magic wording and numerologically correct citations aren't to your liking.
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Old 5th September 2019, 09:31 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I'm really not taking you seriously now. You seem to be going out of your way to reject that conclusion. You first went to a citation for a different sentence. When you quoted the sentence that actually contains what you claim to be wanting confirmation of you cut it in half completely eliminating the citations that were embedded in the sentence you are asking about.


I'm sorry that the precise magic wording and numerologically correct citations aren't to your liking.
I honestly think this whole discussion about the extinction rate as compared to past mass extinction rates is a bit of a red herring: whatever it is, it's bad.

But I don't really understand how we can estimate prior mass extinction rates to the level of precision necessary to compare them with the current one. Isn't our knowledge of the K/T event only to within a million years or so? It could be that a million species went extinct within hours of the impact, or it could be that the impact set off destruction of ecosystems that continued to lead to further extinctions for tens of thousands of years (or more?). I may not be up to date on this but I had thought that we don't have that information.

Anyway, which of the cites gives the info about comparing the current extinction rate to past mass extinctions?
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Old 5th September 2019, 09:48 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
You first went to a citation for a different sentence.
No, I didn't. Or if I did, where?
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:01 AM   #111
RecoveringYuppy
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I honestly think this whole discussion about the extinction rate as compared to past mass extinction rates is a bit of a red herring: whatever it is, it's bad.

Yeah. Credible experts are claiming half of species may be extinct in a century or two. How that by itself isn't enough to be alarmed is beyond me.
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:19 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Yeah. Credible experts are claiming half of species may be extinct in a century or two. How that by itself isn't enough to be alarmed is beyond me.
Exactly. Even if one isn't the least bit sentimental about animals or ecology it should be extremely sobering: that much fewer resources to exploit. We're always finding useful drugs from studying plants and animals, for starters. Anything that took four billion years of development, even if it was completely random, shouldn't be lightly discarded.
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:23 AM   #113
kellyb
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
How that by itself isn't enough to be alarmed is beyond me.
I find it extremely alarming, just so you know. I don't expect civilization to survive (not just because of the mass extinction of biodiversity, but overall resource scarcity, including oil, trees for construction and wood to burn as fuel, and clean water.)
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:29 AM   #114
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It's slower than a snap but sure sounds like Thanos. He was the only one that didn't see how removing half the lifeforms meant removing half the food and scrambling the locations of food and eaters.
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Old 5th September 2019, 10:40 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Mass extinctions are hardest on niche species. Generalists tend to do well, and we're generalists.


To survive a mass extinction you typically need to be small and be lucky enough to have your ecological niche remain viable. Generalists do fine when single or multiple niches disappear, but when almost all of them disappear generalists struggle because they usually require a variety of foods to survive as they are not well adapted to living on a single food source.

Humans are too large, too active to live in an environment where food and oxygen are scarce. We also have to many chemicals we need to get from our diets because our bodies can't synthesize them and there is no since food source that can meet all our datary needs.
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Old 5th September 2019, 11:20 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I honestly think this whole discussion about the extinction rate as compared to past mass extinction rates is a bit of a red herring: whatever it is, it's bad.

But I don't really understand how we can estimate prior mass extinction rates to the level of precision necessary to compare them with the current one. Isn't our knowledge of the K/T event only to within a million years or so? It could be that a million species went extinct within hours of the impact, or it could be that the impact set off destruction of ecosystems that continued to lead to further extinctions for tens of thousands of years (or more?). I may not be up to date on this but I had thought that we don't have that information.

Anyway, which of the cites gives the info about comparing the current extinction rate to past mass extinctions?


Iíve seen speculation that during the KT extinction heated the atmosphere so much that everything living on the surface was broiled. While the impact nominally contained enough energy to raise the temperature of the entire atmosphere by ~120 Deg C, Iím still skeptical that actually occured.

The idea is that hot debris and ash in the atmosphere carried the impact energy around the world and the heat radiation downward, but not all the impact energy would have been contained in this debris. Half the heat in the debris wouldnít have radiated away from the earth. While the debris could spread around the equator fairly quickly it would take longer to spread North/South. Finally, bodies of water would have moderated the temperature increase.

Even if it happened, it would not explain the extinction of ocean life. To explain that youíd need a similar pattern of ocean chemistry changes and reduced oxygen that accompanied other mass extinctions, so you donít really need the ďsurface temperatures broiled everything on landĒ hypothesis since the ocean changes seem to kill off land life anyway.
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Old 5th September 2019, 09:56 PM   #117
Roboramma
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Yeah. Credible experts are claiming half of species may be extinct in a century or two. How that by itself isn't enough to be alarmed is beyond me.
Agreed 100%. Extinction for me is one of the if not the most worrying environmental issue because most of the extinctions are irreversible. Most of them we won't even have known anything about these organisms before they are gone, and we won't get them back. We have inherited the wealth* of the product of millions of years of biodiversity, and much of it is being destroyed.

*That wealth can be measured in many different factors. The inherent value of those organisms themselves. The beauty we see in them. Their contribution to the ecosystems they are a part of. The unique molecules that they produce. The unique genes that have evolved in their bodies (that we might put to other uses). I'm sure there are other ways in which we and future generations might find value in them, which is lost when they are lost.
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Old 5th September 2019, 09:59 PM   #118
Roboramma
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Iíve seen speculation that during the KT extinction heated the atmosphere so much that everything living on the surface was broiled. While the impact nominally contained enough energy to raise the temperature of the entire atmosphere by ~120 Deg C, Iím still skeptical that actually occured.
There's not just the energy of the impactor itself to consider, there's also the energy of all the world's forests (and other plants) burning. Or at least some high percentage of them. That strikes me as a lot of energy as well, though I don't know how it compares to the order of magnitude of the impactor. It would certainly have huge local effects either way though.
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Old 6th September 2019, 07:02 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Iíve seen speculation that during the KT extinction heated the atmosphere so much that everything living on the surface was broiled.
Obviously not, since a fair number of surface species survived the extinction. The fact that it was smaller species which survived, not larger species, also suggests that immediate temperature effects on their bodies weren't the dominant factor.
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Old 6th September 2019, 07:43 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Obviously not, since a fair number of surface species survived the extinction. The fact that it was smaller species which survived, not larger species, also suggests that immediate temperature effects on their bodies weren't the dominant factor.

Or that the survivors were moles and groundhogs.
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