Human-caused biodiversity decline started millions of years ago

phys.org | 8/12/2015 | Staff
n.kingn.king (Posted by) Level 3
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The human-caused biodiversity decline started much earlier than researchers used to believe. According to a new study published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters the process was not started by our own species but by some of our ancestors.

The work was done by an international team of scientists from Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Researchers - Study - Diversity - Crisis - Phenomenon

The researchers point out in the study that the ongoing biological diversity crisis is not a new phenomenon, but represents an acceleration of a process that human ancestors began millions of years ago.

"The extinctions that we see in the fossils are often explained as the results of climatic changes but the changes in Africa within the last few million years were relative minor and our analyses show that climatic changes were not the main cause of the observed extinctions," explains Søren Faurby, researcher at Gothenburg University and the main author of the study.

Analyses - Explanation - Extinction - Carnivores - East

"Our analyses show that the best explanation for the extinction of carnivores in East Africa is instead that they are caused by direct competition for food with our extinct ancestors," adds Daniele Silvestro, computational biologist and co-author of the study.

Our ancestors have been common throughout eastern Africa for several million years and during this time there were multiple extinctions according to Lars Werdelin, co-author and expert on African fossils.

€? - African - Fossils - Reduction - Number

– By investigating the African fossils, we can see a drastic reduction in the number of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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