Survival prospects appear grim for half of bird, mammal species

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Fri Jan 18 12:26:58 EST 2002

>From The Oregonian, Jan. 16, 2002 p B1 (Science)

Survival prospects appear grim for half of bird, mammal species
	Half of all living bird and mammal species will be gone within 200 or
300 years, according to a botany professor at the University of Texas
in Austin.
	Although the extinction of various species is a natural phenomenon,
the rate of extinction in today's world is exceptional - as many as
100 to 1,000 times greater than normal, says Donald A. Levin in the
January-February issue of American Scientist magazine. The co-author
is his son, Phillip S. Levin, a biologist with the National Marine
Fisheries Service.
	The Levins said that, on average, a distinct species of plant or
animal becomes extinct ever 20 minutes. Donald Levin said research
shows the rate of current loss is highly unusual, qualifying the
present period as one of the six great periods of mass extinction in
the history of Earth.
	"The numbers of grim," he said. "Some 2,000 species of Pacific Island
birds (about 15 percent of the world total) have gone extinct since
human colonization. Roughly 20 of the 297 known mussel and clam
species and 40 of about 950 fishes have perished in North America in
the last century."
-Compiled by Richard L. Hill

Comment by poster: Did you ever wonder how the world changes when just
one species is lost? How would your life change if there were no
chicken? No robins? No Douglas-fir? No rats?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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