50 Billion Years of Evolution Leading to No Result – How Are Human Activities Affecting the Evolutionary History?

The human footprint on the ecosystem seems to be higher than ever. Whether we are talking about certain areas or different animal species, the magnitude of our actions is slowly but steadily killing the world we live in.

According to a study published on the 26th of May in the Nature Communications journal, 50 billion years of evolution is now at risk. The team composed of researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the Imperial College London began analyzing how unique species are threatened by extinction.

They first began by studying the reptiles, as well as the terrestrial vertebrates and looking at certain areas that present signs of extensive industrial activities, such as increased population density and deforestation. The most dangerous areas were soon discovered to be the Caribbean region, Southeast Asia, and Western Ghats of India, which present not only social pressure, but also unique biodiversity.

The danger is affecting closely-related species that are mostly living in trees (tapirs and pangolins), but also single-living species such as the Chinese crocodile lizard and the Aye-aye (the nocturnal lemur with enormous yellowish eyes ad long fingers). What is even more alarming is the fact that each animal presents its unique footprint on the ecosystem it is living in. For example, pangolins play an important role when it comes to balancing the food web, while tapirs can regenerate the rainforest since they disperse the seeds.

The findings of this research underline the importance of taking immediate action towards limiting the human pressure on the environment. Even if researchers are still assessing the way in which humans impact the natural habitats, one thing is clear. The impact of the industrial activities on certain areas is incomprehensibly large. Working together is the key to achieve proper cooperation that would automatically reduce the damage to irreplaceable biodiversity.

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