The Sixth Extinction by Richard E. Leakey
Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind

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Synopsis

Richard Leakey, One Of The World's  Foremost Experts On Man's Evolutionary Past, Now Turns  His Eye To The Future And Doesn't Like What He  Sees.

To the philosophical the  earth is eternal, while the human race — presumptive  keeper of the world's history — is a mere speck  in the rich stream of life. It is known that  nothing upon Earth is forever; geography, climate, and  plant and animal life are all subject to radical  change. On five occasions in the past, catastrophic  natural events have caused mass extinctions on  Earth. But today humans stand alone, in dubious  distinction, among Earth's species: Homo  Sapiens possesses the ability to destroy  entire species at will, to trigger the sixth  extinction in the history of life. In The Sixth  Extinction, Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin  consider how the grand sprawl of human life is  inexorably wreaking havoc around the world. The  authors of Origins and  Origins Reconsidered, unimpeachable  authorities on the human fossil record, turn their  attention to the most uncharted anthropological territory  of all: the future, and man's role in defining it.  According to Leakey and Lewin, man and his  surrounding species are end products of history and  chance. Now, however, humans have the unique  opportunity to recognize their influence on the global  ecosystem, and consciously steer the outcome in order  to avoid triggering an unimaginable upheaval.

 

About Richard E. Leakey

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Published April 20, 1995 by Doubleday. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Now the encroachment of human activities on the tropical rain forests (where a vast majority of living species reside) threatens to escalate the death toll to a level comparable to the five great prehistoric extinctions.

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Five mass extinctions, etched in the fossil record, attest to life's precarious, unpredictable course. One such catastrophe, occurring 65 million years ago, wiped out the dinosaurs and ushered in the

Sep 04 1995 | Read Full Review of The Sixth Extinction: Pattern...

Publishers Weekly

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Claiming that humanity is on the verge of causing a massive extinction of other species, the authors argue for a drastic change in the ways in which we impact on the environment.

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Human beings, by destroying tropical rain forests and driving tens of thousands of species into extinction, are dangerously reducing biodiversity, damaging ecosystems and possibly precipitating the next major mass extinction, which could number Homo sapiens among its victims, the authors warn.

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