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Study: Sixth Mass Extinction Period On Earth Has Begun

Pollution from coal-burning power plants like these and other sources is among the reasons cited for the onset of a sixth mass extinction period on Earth, according to a new study.

The sixth mass extinction period on Earth is underway, suggests a new study from three leading U.S. universities, warning humans could be among the first affected.

The study from researchers at Stanford and Princeton universities and the University of California-Berkeley say that during the last century, when more than 400 vertebrates disappeared, the rate of extinction was at least 114 times higher than normal.

The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, are similar to those in a report from Duke University researchers last year.

The recent study cites climate change, pollution and deforestation as among the reasons for the current mass extinction.

The last mass extinction killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, when it is generally agreed that a large meteor hit the Earth.