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Invasive species. Biodiversity. World's Sixth Mass Extinction May Be Underway. - Over the past 540 million years, there have been five mega extinction events. - Mankind may be causing a sixth due to habitat loss, over-hunting, over-fishing and the spread of germs. - Until human populations expanded, mammal extinctions were very rare.
Mankind may have unleashed the sixth known mass extinction in Earth's history, according to a paper released on Wednesday by the science journal Nature. Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species, and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases, says the study. 8 Animal Myths Dispelled.