Humanity is ‘cutting down the tree of life’, warn scientists

The Extinction Chronicles

More than 300 mammal species have been eradicated by human activities, say researchers

The secretive indri of Madagascar, the largest living lemur.
 The secretive indri (Indri indri) of Madagascar, the largest living lemur. It is also critically endangered and highly evolutionarily distinct with no close relatives, which makes its branch one of most precarious on the mammal evolutionary tree. In the likely event that the indri goes extinct, we will lose 19m years of unique evolutionary history from the mammal tree of life. Photograph: Pierre-Yves Babelon/Aarhus University

Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, including the branch we are sitting on, according to a stark new analysis.

More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5bn years.

Furthermore, even if the destruction…

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