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Press Release 11-046

Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction: Is It Almost Here?

Steep decline of many animal species warns that Earth is on the brink

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Forg and forest in a sphere with a fungus, spores and thermometer with rising temperature outside.

Earth's warming climate is contributing to an infection responsible for tropical frog extinctions.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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Photo of a female polar bear walking along the shore of Canada's Hudson Bay.

A female polar bear walks along the shore of Canada's Hudson Bay, waiting for ice to form.

Credit: Steven Amstrup, Polar Bears International


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Image of Earth with a purple border and red area extending across equatorial region.

A burst of gamma rays reaching Earth may have caused an extinction 440 million years ago.

Credit: NASA


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Illustration of life in the Devonian ocean.

The ocean in Devonian times: is past prologue in biodiversity collapse?

Credit: University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology


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Photo of ancient fossil leaves.

Ancient fossil leaves tell a story of sudden loss of biodiversity that may have future parallels.

Credit: John Weinstein, The Field Museum


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Illustration showing life in a pond.

The future in a drop of water? Ponds bear lasting imprints of events in their pasts.

Credit: State of Texas


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