A group of researchers agrees that Earth is facing a mass extinction event, but they are daring to overturn dogma on how fast species are disappearing.
The researchers say they have discovered why current estimates are overblown, and they recommend a different way to calculate the rates.
"We need to go back to revisit ... how those numbers are derived," Fangliang He, of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]China[/COLOR][/COLOR]
, said in a press briefing with fellow study researcher Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles.
We don't even know how many species actually exist, though it is known that biodiversity is declining
drastically. But previously estimated extinction rates — some experts thought half the world's [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]plant[/COLOR][/COLOR]
and animal species would be gone by 2000 — haven't matched what's actually been observed. Other researchers have claimed the difference originates from the lag time between when a species' habitat becomes unsustainable and when the species begins to disappear.
The researchers believe that the overestimation is actually due to how we derive these estimates in the first place.