Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions of life on earth.Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.Elizabeth Kolbert combines brilliant field reporting, the history of ideas and the work of geologists, botanists and marine biologists to tell the gripping stories of a dozen species - including the Panamanian golden frog and the Sumatran rhino - some already gone, others at the point of vanishing.The sixth extinction is likely to be mankinds most lasting legacy and Elizabeth Kolberts book urgently compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
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Mass extinction is when more than 50% of the world’s species die in a geologically short period. A species is a group of organisms that have similar appearance, anatomy, physiology, and genetics. The environment changes so fast that most species can’t adapt or evolve, so they go extinct. It occurs over 150 years to 200,000 years.