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Study: Plants, Animals Becoming Extinct Faster Than Ever

After 160 million years as an integral part of the Beech and Magnolia forests in the southeastern US, the Stinking Cedar now faces extinction due to habitat destruction and a widespread fungal disease. (Atlanta Botanical Garden)
A new study says plant and animal species are becoming extinct 1,000 times faster than they did before humans emerged on the planet.

The study was carried out by biologists from Duke University in the southern United States and the Institute of Ecological Research in Brazil.

The researchers say habitat destruction is the primary cause of extinction. They also say invasive species are crowding out native species as habitats disappear and changing climate is affecting where species can survive.

But the scientists do have some hopeful news. They say people are increasingly using smartphones and other technology to photograph dwindling species and their habitats to make others aware of the dangers these plants and animals face.

The study appears in the journal Science


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