Don't wait for science, says the scientist - VPRO Backlight

Don’t wait for science, says the scientist – VPRO Backlight

Lars van den Hoek Ostend

“If you look at the current loss of biodiversity, you’ll see alarming proportions,” says Lars van den Hoek Oostende, a paleontologist and researcher at Naturalis. Species extinction is in principle part of nature, but it is continuing now a hundred times faster than usual. Some Studies consider this an optimistic estimate. According to Van den Hoek Ostende, every scientist knows that what is happening now has a huge impact. But what is its size? “Look, we as scholars are going to argue a little bit about that.”

Because it is scientifically difficult to prove whether this crisis will lead to a sixth mass extinction. The five extinctions were categorized by scientists who only looked at aquatic species. There were several reasons for this, including the possibility of comparing fossil data over time.

Now we see that many species have disappeared on the islands, for example. These are not aquatic animals. So you’re working with different species than was seen in previous waves of extinction. As an academic, I say very sternly: You are comparing apples to oranges. He adds that there are no fossils for so many species from the past that you can’t make good comparisons with past mass extinctions. The manual simply is not there.

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