Talk:Holocene extinction

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Stuart Pimm plant extinction and the effect of climate change on plant biodiversity[edit]

Include: Stuart Pimm stated "the current rate of species extinction is about 100 times the natural rate".[1] relating to Effect of climate change on plant biodiversity. (talk) 18:57, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. It has been added in the section Ongoing Holocene extinction. RockMagnetist (talk) 18:10, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Human influence on extinction[edit]

The article reads:

"Extinction of animals and plants caused by human actions may go as far back as the late Pleistocene, over 12,000 years BP, but there is no direct evidence for this theory and it is more likely abrupt climate change played a much higher role in the extinction of larger mammals."

The source quoted is the text "Are we now living in the Anthropocene?". As far as I can see, the authors only state that humans didn't cause the climate changes thousands of years ago, they don't say that these climate changes caused the extinctions or that humans didn't cause them. Most of the text is about the present and near future, but here's what they say about extinctons:

"Biotic Change
Humans have caused extinctions of animal and plant species, possibly as early as the late Pleistocene, with the disappearance of a large proportion of the terrestrial megafauna (Barnosky et al., 2004). Accelerated extinctions and biotic population declines on land have spread into the shallow seas, notably on coral reefs (Bellwood et al., 2004) and the oceans (Baum et al., 2003; Myers and Worm, 2003). The rate of biotic change may produce a major extinction event (Wilson, 2002) analogous to those that took place at the K-T boundary and elsewhere in the stratigraphic column. The projected temperature rise will certainly cause changes in habitat beyond environmental tolerance for many taxa (Thomas et al., 2004). The effects will be more severe than in past glacial-interglacial transitions because, with the anthropogenic fragmentation of natural ecosystems, “escape” routes are fewer. The combination of extinctions, global species migrations (Cox, 2004), and the widespread replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures is producing a distinctive contemporary biostratigraphic signal."

I don't see support for the claim "it is more likely abrupt climate change played a much higher role in the extinction of larger mammals". Ssscienccce (talk) 19:02, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

The section, while describing events that are indeed dramatic, uses unnecessarily dramatic language. Words like 'terrifying' and 'ruining' are not appropriate for an encyclopedic article, i.e. it's POV.1812ahill (talk) 14:38, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Anthropomorphic Change[edit]

The article states: "The ecosystems encountered by the first Americans had not been exposed to human interaction and were far less resilient to man made changes than the ecosystems encountered by industrial era humans, those environments seasoned as they were, having been exposed to over 10,000 years of human interaction." The scientific literature may not support this claim so it needs to have a reliable source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

The article says "North and South America[edit source | editbeta] There was a debate as to the extent to which the disappearance of megafauna at the end of the last glacial period can be attributed to human activities, directly, by hunting, or indirectly, by decimation of prey populations. Recent discoveries at Monte Verde in South America, and at Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania have effectively ended the "clovis first" position of American Archaeology and pushed the arrival of humans in the Americas back many thousands of years. This coupled with a more complete fossil record of the extinct animals has weakened the correlation between human occupation and mega-fauna extinction in the Americas. However around the world there is often a very strong correlation between human arrival and megafauna extinction, an example being Wrangel Island in Siberia, where the extinction of Mammoths (approximately 2000 BC) coincided directly with the arrival of humans. Furthermore, the success of mega-fauna in surviving previous more severe periods of climate change suggest natural events were not entirely to blame."

This may be original research and so it requires support. Please add this support.

The article reads: "Other, related human causes of the extinction event include deforestation, hunting, pollution,[28] the introduction in various regions of non-native species, and the widespread transmission of infectious diseases."

There is little doubt that some of this commentary is considerably more appropriate to the modern era, but how is this relevant to the Holocene extinction? There is increasing evidence that the Holocene Extinction event was caused by a cosmic/comet impact. The black matte layer, the "nuclear glass", the Greenland ice cores all point to massive natural calamity. The entire section regarding human causes seems like it is the present day being pressed onto 12,000 years ago. Human populations, at that time, were less than wolly mammoths. Any of these comments about impact on environment for the Holocene Extinction would be better appropriated to many different mammals then homo sapien.

This whole section needs to have the socio-political commentary removed. There is *no* citations that support any of these statements to be included and/or attributed to the Holocene Extinction event. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:587:101:1205:397B:DE92:A14D:A9BD (talk) 03:12, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Extinction rates "__x__ % of *all* species[edit]

A small handful of microbiologists in my social circle cringe whenever they hear these sorts of statements, because - according to my friends - they almost never include microbial species, and in terms of sheer number they say microbial species are more than half the total. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:42, 11 April 2013 (UTC)

Merge with Quaternary extinction event[edit]

There are two articlles on the same topic. Quaternary extinction event — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 27 August 2013 (UTC) Actually, these are not the same event. The quaternary was earlier, before the beginning of human-created climate change, and may be related to the end of the last ice age.[1] 2601:640:4001:266C:B482:6BB5:EE4B:F86F (talk) 16:02, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Confusions within the article[edit]

This is an incredibly confused and confusing article in need of a drastic rewrite. It presents rival arguments claiming anthropogenic extinctions at different rates at different places. It does not present the recent findings of the disappearance of large predators in Africa over the last 2 million years, not the disappearance of megafauna in Australia, or the North American findings of the association between Clovis assemblage and US Megafaunal disappearance. It makes no reference to the Richard Leakey Book "The Sixth Extinction" nor the work of Tim Flannery. I suggest a complete re-write. (talk) 06:40, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

McCallum (2015) and Mongabay as a source[edit]

Regarding these diffs [1], [2] I think that the paper is too primary and doesn't carry much weight as it's currently presented. It certainly does not justify removing apparently contradictory information that is sourced to Cambridge University Press and the New York Times. is a blog owned by Rhett Butler, as mentioned here [3] which I don't believe meets reliable source standards at all because it's selfpub. Hit counts have nothing to do with reliability. Geogene (talk) 16:47, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Ok, Time Magazine listed Mongabay as one of the top 15 websites in 2008. Per Wikipedia page that covers it the site has been used as an information source by CNN, CBS, the Discovery Channel, NBC, UPI, Yahoo News, among others. If the source is good enough for CNN, I thought it would good enough for Wikipedia as a secondary source. Further, it publishes two different scientific journals that have pretty decent reputations. Further, I know for a fact Mongabay has been cited on Wikipedia in other places. So it has precidence. However, Birdwatch Magazine has been a mainstay in teh UK for a LONG time.
Then, as for merit on the issue. Science Advances is a rapid publish platform that currently does not even have an impact factor rating, Versus Biodiversity and Conservation which has a fairly decent one in the twos. Whether one or the other will be ranked hire in the future is conjecture, but right now, B&C is a higher ranked journal as SA has NO RANK! anonymous — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:25, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
Mongabay's Wikipedia page doesn't have a reference for the assertion that anyone uses Mongabay as a source. There are other aspects of the Mongabay Wikipedia article that I find questionable, namely that it reads like an advertisement (but I can't re-write every article that has that problem). Also, other organizations may not limit WP:SELFPUB to the extent Wikipedia does. I'm not sure why you have pre-emptively attacked Science Advances, which gets much more prominent coverage in the Mongabay article. If it is an inferior journal, then why does Mongabay give it superior coverage? I hadn't (yet) pointed that out, but there it is. Precedence means very little here, there are hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles out there with sources that may not meet the reliability standards. That is not a justification to allow additional instances of a selfpublished source. I may see what I can do about sources to Mongabay in the future, but I can't fix them all... Geogene (talk) 23:54, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
I think you have misinterpreted something, first, no one is comparing Mongabay article to Science Advances, and no one is attacking Science Advances. i am stating a matter of fact. Current accepted dogma is that journals with impact ratings are superior to ones that do not have impact ratings. There is currently debate regarding this, but nothing has changed in the greater scheme. BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION, the paper in which McCallum's paper was published has an impact rating of over 2. Science Advances has NO impact rating. Therefore, at this point in time, Science Advances IS an inferior journal until it is provided an impact rating, which it almost certainly will get.

second, if MOngabay is not acceptable, fine, but Birdwatch UK is certainly acceptable. So, the issue is mute. third, Why does Mongabay spend more time on the article from Science Advances? Its simple. Stanford university, where Erlich works, wrote a professional press release in their promotions department. They are promoting STANFORD FACULTY. Then, they tossed the news release on a system like PRWeb with instructions to writers that they could use the press release as written and stick their name on it. In fact, if you do a cursory search of the news articles on this topic, you will see that 90% of them, including one on cnn's website are not even edited. They just post the same press release. In the case of Mongabay, the news release was rewritten to a large degree, but includes most of the same material. then, the the Mongabay author must have known about Mccallum's paper, which was all over twitter per Altmetrics, and added taht information in. However, there was no press release from McCallum of which I am aware because he is not at Stanford. This is easily observed if you just coast the web, not that I was expecting you to do this. BirdWatch UK covered McCallum's paper before the Stanford press release happened, and had already released it, as can be seen on the link I provided to you. They did not cover teh Science Advances article, as they did not yet receive the news release. Did you see the CNN tweet from Azeda Ansari in regard to the his article? While at it, do Tweets count as citations? The reason I ask is taht each one is logged into the Library of Congress, or at least they were if that has not changed. I would not think that is a legit citation though! BTW, I saw a comment about promotions and links. I don't know what link you are referring too. First, I have not had a conversation with you about promotions as far as I am aware. Second, I don't even know what link you are referring too. The only links I had were links to the news articles in the references or similar kinds of things, at least I don't recall anything else. Finally, I just looked at the Mongabay Wikipedia page again, it is under "BUSINESS MODEL." Where, this is written, " is independent and unaffiliated with any organization. The site has been used as an information source by CNN, CBS, the Discovery Channel, NBC, UPI, Yahoo!, and other such outlets." I know I have seen Mongabay quoted in National papers and such, but as you say, Wikipedia has their own standards. They are odd, sure don't follow the standards I worked under while writing for Encyclopedia Britanica, but hey, its the rules. So, can I put the citation back up then? It is not contrary to what is written, is in fact accurate, and was even recognized by David Wake (of the National Academy of Sciences) on his website Amphibiaweb, where they did a short blurb about it. I don't think they did a blurb about the Science Advances article, even though one of the authors was from his own department! I found thought the paper should be mentioned because it is important in this regard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:05, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

I oppose it. It doesn't carry the necessary weight. I'm looking for something with a writeup in the NYT or Economist, or maybe something that had been written up prominently in a literature review published by, say, Oxford University Press. Those are the kinds of citations already prevalent in the article. Geogene (talk) 19:31, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

@Indricotherium: You have tagged the article for merging with the Quaternary extinction event. That would make for a very large article. However, you have offered no rationale for your proposal. Can you please explain why you think Holocene (or Anthropocene) extinctions should be viewed as a seamless continuation of the earlier Quaternary (or Pleistocene) extinctions, rather than as the rise of a separate wave of extinctions driven by different causes? I would have thought a better case exists for renaming the article "Anthropocene extinction". --Epipelagic (talk) 01:23, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

@Epipelagic:, my rationale was that there is very poor differentiation between the two pages.
* If the extinction in the Pleistocene is differentiated from the Holocene by time alone (making the cutoff about 10,000 years ago), it becomes debatable as to where to put the 'end' of the Pleistocene extinction, because it pretty much continued from then. There is a great deal of debate as to how much humans contributed to ice age extinctions, but more recent consensus suggests they can be attributable to the spread of Homo sapiens out of Africa (even with minimal hunting pressure), especially in light of more concrete evidence demonstrating mass extinctions following colonisation of NZ, Australia and Madagascar.
* Also, mass extinctions tend to occur over the space of a few million years, and geologically speaking, it would be ridiculous to consider two separate mass extinctions within the space of 1 million years.
* Alternately, you could try splitting them up based on which were caused by humans and which were climactic - but recent consensus suggests in many places they both interacted with each other to cause mass extinctions, with ecosystem modification following megafaunal extinction potentially affecting climate on the other side of the world, causing more extinction. Also, the Australian mass extinction was definitely caused by humans - so it would make sense to put it under 'Holocene' - but it occurred 50,000 years ago, which would timeline wise put it as part of the Quaternary.
I think either more clear separation between the two articles would need to be made, or both should be combined to be a comprehensive article describing the Sixth mass extinction, including extinctions lasting from the end of the ice age up until today. Alternatively, a more general page like Anthropogenic extinction would remove the timeline ambiguity and would allow discussion of both prehistoric and modern mass extinction attributable to humans. Let me know what you think. --Indricotherium (talk) 15:29, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
@Indricotherium: I've reconsidered my suggestion of having an article on "anthropocene extinctions". The anthropocene has not been officially defined as a formal geological epoch. Even if it is officially defined, it may be defined starting as late as 1945, which would further aggravate the problem with the term "holocene extinction", in that the era begins after significant anthropogenic extinctions have already occurred.
While there may be some overlap and linkage between Quaternary extinctions and anthropogenic extinctions, it seems clear that anthropogenic extinctions are entirely overtaking the continued significance of Quaternary style extinctions, and should be considered as a separate event in their own right. I like your suggestion of having a separate article on "anthropogenic extinction". Let's get comments from more editors. --Epipelagic (talk) 03:30, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
They should be merged since the Quaternary extinction event article is quite literally a really long list   User:Dunkleosteus77 |push to talk  15:30, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

RFC: Article name[edit]

The result is to maintain the status quo on this topic, at least for the present.

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should the title of this article be "Anthropogenic extinction"? See preceding discussion. --Epipelagic (talk) 03:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

The current name is what I've stumbled upon most frequently in the literature about the actual extictions. The other name seems to be pushed more by environtmentalist types, therefore more hyperbolic. Also, it is by no means settled that the Holocene extinction event as a whole was human induced (climate change vs. over-hunting debate), unlike what is claimed above. It also seems like this article is a bit biased in that respect in the prehistoric extinctions section. There is still considerable debate among researchers, with many claiming the animals were already in serious decline due to the results of natural climate change, and that humans were simply a contributing factor to their extinction (but not necessarily all of the extincions). FunkMonk (talk) 07:08, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The article currently appears to basically equate the terms 'holocene extinction' and 'anthropogenic extinction' (to the extent of stating "{...}where the Holocene, or anthropogenic, extinction begins{...}"). While this is probably a stronger equivalence than is strictly warranted, I think it's fine for the article's purposes; the material discussed is mostly clear anthropogenic impacts leavened by some reservations about the megafauna blitzkrieg. However, changing the title to "Anthropogenic extinction" might shift the focus too far. I think it's better to have an article on "Holocene extinction", where that is explained to be mostly anthropogenic, than one on "Anthropogenic extinction", which then has to be qualified / shown to be not strictly applicable.-- Elmidae (talk) 07:58, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Here are some comparative Google page counts...
search term scholar books news
Holocene extinction 833 1300 490
Anthropocene extinction 63 445 333
Anthropogenic extinction 628 905 11
Sixth extinction 2380 8830 3040
From that perspective, perhaps we should go for "Sixth extinction" or "Sixth extinction event". But the more I think about it, the more undecided I become. I doubt it matters that much. The different options each have somewhat different implications, and the focus of the article will need to shift slightly according to which title is used. One problem with the use of Holocene or Anthropocene is that both these terms are controversial, and the term Holocene might give way in the future to Anthropocene. Then again future shifts don't really matter, since the article can be adjusted again at an appropriate time. --Epipelagic (talk) 09:46, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Note that many Google scholar results for "sixth extinction" seem to refer to specific books, not the subject itself. The Sixth Extinction (book) (2014), and The Sixth Extinction[4] (1996), perhaps others. The term also seems to be mainly used for human-induced extinction, and is therefore more a pop science synonym of Anthropogenic extinction than of Holocene extinction. In this light, it would make more sense to have a separate article about the Anthropogenic extinction (specifically about human-induced extinctions), since Holocene extinction is a wider subject (includes extinctions that may not have had human influence). Regular Google research also include many references to an X-Files episode, The Sixth Extinction, so such results should be taken with a grain of salt. Anyhow, what makes you state the term Holocene is controversial? It is a commonly accepted stratigraphic unit. From reading the Anthropocene article, it appears this has been proposed in addition to Holocene, not as a replacement. FunkMonk (talk) 09:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Well Holocene is controversial because Anthropocene is controversial. The International Commission on Stratigraphy is set to consider formalising a definition of Anthropocene sometime this year. If that happens then the use of the term Holocene might well be modified by the formalisation of the Anthropocene (I said "give way" – as in "make room for" – not "replace" :) --Epipelagic (talk) 10:30, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No The time may come (possibly soon) when there is a definitive reason to choose one name or another, but as long as it is worth arguing about it is too soon to mess about with troublesome and tendentious activities like juggling and swapping (or, IMO even debating) titles. Of the alternatives, "Holocene" is the least evaluative, most general, least POV, and already in place, so it is the natural choice for now. To change the title while there still is room for argument is not sensible. It is not as though the sense of the article and the nomenclature need be affected; as long as we can have redirs or minor associated articles with links under Anthropocene extinction, Anthropogenic extinction, Sixth extinction and so on, the value to the reader is not reduced, whereas arguments and name changes penalise all parties apart from the wikiwarriors. Until the finer points become sufficiently well established to justify separate articles (and links) unambiguously, discussion of the distinctions can be dealt with in this article, possibly just in the lede, but if desired, in sections. JonRichfield (talk) 07:04, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
We seem to have a consensus, at least for now, to leave things as they are. --Epipelagic (talk) 11:21, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No per JonRichfield's reasoning. 8bitW (talk) 04:44, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose The public, such public as there is, which has heard of this kind of extinction and which understands (at whatever level) the difference between "holo-" and "anthropo-", will be expecting "holo-". It's not that "anthropo-" isn't in some sense correct, it's that (whatever Google may say) "holo-" isn't... "anthropocentric". Which makes it inherently the better choice, I think. (BTW, has anyone else heard about the exploding methane plumes in the arctic? Man, we are so screwed...) KDS4444Talk 12:38, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Why nothing about extinction in Europe and Asia?[edit]

There seems to be a glaring omission in this article as it lacks any discussion of megafauna extinction in Europe and Asia. True, the extinction of species in the Americas and Australia was more dramatic and, true, mankind coexisted with megafauna in Eurasia for thousands of years as they did in Africa. But it is also certainly true that many species -- mammoth, etc.-- became extinct in Eurasia early in the Holocene -- and that humans probably contributed to that. It seems unbalanced not to include a discussion about Eurasia in the article. Smallchief (talk 20:55, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Dating for extinction lists[edit]

I have a suggestion to differentiate Quaternary extinction event and Holocene Extinction- namely, the fact that the anthropogenic extinctions ≠ holocene extinctions. At least in the listing of extinctions, we should only include extinctions after 8,000 BCE, at the end of the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary, to properly account for the fact that this extinction is divergent from the Quaternary extinction event, with the end of the Late Glacial Maximum. The Quaternary extinction event, although also enveloping the Holocene as well as the Pleistocene, refers to the rather nebulous confluence of climate, human impact and various other stimuli, which although culminated in the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary circa 11,000 BCE-9,000 BCE, was also spread throughout a 60,000 year period, of which climate changes made extinct many of the species on those lists. However, the Holocene extinction covers mostly the stragglers of the last extinction and the nouvelle extinctions taken by the Neolithic revolution, human expansion and climate moderation typical of the Holocene BCE, after which further human colonisation, population growth and ecological modification lead to the extinctions from 3500 BCE (start of recorded history, the Bronze Age) to today.

The Holocene extinctions have a far more anthropogenic focus, perpetuated by a different mode of human interaction with the environment, and although (to me) humans had a decisive impact upon the extinction of megafauna during the Late Pleistocene (200,000 BCE-9,700 BCE), this impact was both different in nature, and diluted/compounded with various other factors. This is why, although these articles are closely intertwined, there should be a separation with the overall scope of either one. Thus, I believe, in regards to the formatting of this article, we should shift 'Prehistoric extinctions' to 'Post Pleistocene/Holocene Boundary (8,000 BCE-3500 BCE)' (Preboreal, Boreal, former Atlantic, with mentions of QEE victims between 9,700 BCE-8,000 BCE and beyond during the Quaternary Extinction Event inside the introduction to each region); 'Into the Common Era (3500 BCE-1500 CE)' (Atlantic, Subboreal, Subatlantic); and 'Recent Extinctions - 1500 CE beyond' (Subatlantic). In the PP/HB (8,000 BCE-3500 BCE), we should remove Australia, and condense it to Australasia and Oceania- 60,000-40,000 BP is far beyond the scope of this article- then add Africa and Eurasia to the lists. The key is to only list extinctions after the range of the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary.

Of course, some overlap is needed with the Quaternary extinction event, with a comprehensive list inclusive of precise extinction dates, however to do so, we must ensure we do not clone the lists, as having worked extensively on them, there are an incredibly wide range of figures for extinction dates, although some species deserve to be on both lists, with the QEE having a more extensive scope into the Holocene due to extirpations and a megafaunal focus rather than one of anthropological impact. After this work, we should transplant the information blocs pertaining the late Pleistocene extinctions into QEE. To mediate the readers who are specifically looking for the full lists of extinct megafauna present in the other article, we should heavily link the QEE article. Moreover, these lists should be substantiated to the same extent as the QEE article. I am planning to commence this work myself relatively soon, though I believe some verbal acknowledgement and input from committed editors of this article is needed before I perform this overhaul. I look forward to this reformation. SuperTah (talk) 10:52, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

"10 to 1000 times higher" than other mass extinctions[edit]

@Wolfdog: Recently, someone added a clarification tag to a paragraph you added to this article. Can you add a reference that verifies this claim, specifically? Jarble (talk) 19:39, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

@Jarble: The "10 to 1000 times" statistic seems to sourced already. As for the "10 to 100 times" claim, I can't remember at the moment where I got that information. It can be removed or, better yet, replaced by newer estimates. Wolfdog (talk) 20:05, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Extinction of woolly mammoths on Wrangel island[edit]

I am wondering how the sentence "for example, in Wrangel Island in Siberia the extinction of dwarf woolly mammoths (approximately 2000 BCE)[60] did not coincide with the arrival of humans" is deduced from the article that is used as citation. In the cited article, no such claim is made. Furthermore, in the Wikipedia article on Wrangel island, it is postulated that the extinction actually does coincide with human arrival (both of them being dated around 1700BC). (talk) 20:19, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

WR 104[edit]

The Holocene extinction is probably in 300,000 years beacuse the Wolf-Rayet star WR 104 is expected to explode in a supernova. It has been suggested that it may produce a gamma ray burst that could pose a threat to life on Earth should its poles be aligned 12° or lower towards Earth. The star's axis of rotation has yet to be determined with certainty but, I don't think that the human species will extinct because it will have colonised 6 million planets. The OmegaYnoss (disscusionContribs) 21:43, 26 May 2017 (UTC)