"Climate disruption" and habitat loss are causing a sixth great mass extinction of animals on earth, according to several alarming new studies published in Science.
While human numbers have doubled in the past 35 years, invertebrates like butterflies, spiders, and worms have seen their populations decline by 45%.
Scientists care calling the species loss "anthropocene defaunation," in other words, a human-caused mass extinction of other animals. The human element makes this extinction even unique, as USA Today reports:
Five times in the history of the Earth, a huge percentage of the planet's life has been wiped out in what are called mass extinctions, typically from collisions with giant meteors.
About 66 million years ago, one well-known extinction killed off the dinosaurs, along with three out of four species on Earth. About 252 million years ago, the "Great Dying" snuffed out about 90% of the world's species.
What's new about this extinction is "that the underlying driving force for this is not a meteorite or a mega-volcanic eruption; it is one species - homo sapiens," said [the study's lead author Rodolfo] Dirzo.
Should we be concerned? Yes, according to Science Daily: "The loss...could have trickle-up effects in our everyday lives." If you need an example of how invertebrate extinction could harm you personally, look no further than the bees. The dramatic decline of the world's bee population has already "sent food prices soaring."