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10 Signs of a Modern Mass Extinction

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The Biologists Agree

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there were just a few thousand humans on Earth 200,000 years ago. Around 1800, right about the time of the industrial revolution, the Earth's population was 1 billion. The human population reached 6 billion in 1999.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there were just a few thousand humans on Earth 200,000 years ago. Around 1800, right about the time of the industrial revolution, the Earth's population was 1 billion. The human population reached 6 billion in 1999.
Robert Churchill/iStockphoto

To some minds, the question isn't whether we're in a mass extinction but how big it is. According to the American Museum of Natural History, seven out of 10 biologists surveyed believe the Earth is undergoing a mass extinction.

Researchers on the other side of the fence point out that mass extinctions take time to develop and progress, making it too soon to determine exactly what's happening. Another argument is that a lot of research focuses on negative aspects of invasive species, environmental changes and other factors while ignoring possible benefits.

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