18 May '11, 9pm

New study says species extinctions from habitat loss are always overestimated: in @dotearth

New study says species extinctions from habitat loss are always overestimated: in @dotearth

A growing group of paleontologists and ecologists are calling for a new push to improve the data behind estimates and to stop making broad statements comparing current events to past cataclysmic extinction spasms like the one that erased the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Those comparisons, they say, implied a level of clarity in the science that just does not exist. They add that scientists should emphasize that extinction itself happens over a span that is always going to be hard to measure or comprehend. ”In thinking about global extinction we’ve got to free ourselves from this human time scale,” said Dr. John Alroy, an ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis of the University of California at Santa Barbara. ”To a species, a human lifetime is a little flicker.” Human-caused extinctions are happening, Dr. Alroy said, and he is one of many ...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/extinction-a...

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