It seems that human activity will be the reason behind the extension of billions of years of evolutionary history. We got these amazing creatures, such as the punk-haired Mary River turtle and the Chinese crocodile, and we might ruin it all.
According to a new study, researchers showed how some places that represent the home of the world’s most threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles are affected by our human footprint. This can lead to the loss of these amazing creatures.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London have learned that these regions are full of unique evolutionary history – the Western Ghats of India, the Caribbean – they are all slowly ruined by the unprecedented levels of human pressure, such as agricultural expansion, meat consumption, and habitat loss.
And, of course, as a result, amazing species, such as the Chinese crocodile lizard, the Aye-Aye lemur, or the Shoebill could get extinct sooner than we thought they would. Pangolins and tapirs and entire groups of related species could also be lost, which means that we would lose billions of years of evolutionary heritage.
Researchers started studying vertebrates, mammals, and reptiles, which are known to be endangered and vulnerable. They are using the tree of life method. It is basically a model that shows the relationship between those organisms there are alive, and those are extinct.
Rikki Gumbs, who is the lead author of the study, stated: “We calculated how much evolutionary history we would lose. And that number came out cosmically large, and even I didn’t expect that myself. Around 50 billion years of evolutionary history is under threat”.