Humans are solely responsible for increasing mammal extinction rates over the past 1.26 lakh years, according to a new study.
The study published in Science Advances said that human interference had led to 96 percent of past extinctions and it was more significant factor than climate breakdown. The study also predicted that 558 mammal species could be extinct by the end of the century.
The researchers also predicted that all areas of the world would have entered a second wave of extinctions by 2100. They noted that the additional wave of extinctions may be much greater than the present rates. The study also differed from the earlier views of other scientists, who believed major climatic changes associated with Ice Age was the main driving force behind most prehistoric mammal extinctions.
The said that they did not come across any evidence for climate driven extinctions during the past 126,000 years but found that human intervention resulted in 96 percent of all mammal extinctions during that time.
The researchers analysed 351 mammals that became extinct since the beginning of the late Pleistocene epoch. It included mammoths, sabre toothed cats, and giant ground sloths. They also say that the rates of extinction in North America, Australia and Madagascar increased drastically after human arrival in these places.
Lead author Tobias Andermann of the University of Gothenburg was quoted as saying that conservation strategies should have to be evolved for saving thousands of species from extinction.