The Sixth Extinction

[MUSIC] The California Golden Bear
The Great Auk The Passenger pigeon
The Tasmanian tiger The Pinta Island tortoise
The Golden toad All dead. And the killer is right there in
the room with you. [MUSIC] The walls of France’s Lascaux cave hold
some of humankind’s earliest art, almost mythical species: a wooly rhinoceros, enormous-antlered
Megaloceros elk and massive aurochs. The artists lived on, became us, but those cave walls are the last
place that those animals still run. They’re gone. Extinct. We all pretty much understand extinction,
it’s when a species kicks the proverbial bucket, it rides off into the great biological
sunset, bites the dust from whence it came and shall return, which is all just a pretty
way of saying that every last one of them dies. Even kids are used to the idea that sometimes
groups of living things just… don’t exist anymore. Okay, mostly don’t exist. But extinction, as a thing, is a surprisingly
new concept. In the 1790’s, by studying various fossils, naturalist Georges Cuvier
was the first to show that they were not from living, yet undiscovered creatures, as many
thought, but from what he called “lost species”. In the decades to come, scientists like Charles
Lyell and ol’ Chuck Darwin began to popularize the idea that Earth’s processes, like geology,
evolution, and even extinction, did occur, just very, very, verrrry slowly. So slowly
that we’d surely never actually see something go extinct. The idea of so-called catastrophic
change was just impossible… It wasn’t until the 1980’s that scientists
were able to shake that idea. Geologist Walter Alvarez was puzzled by the sudden disappearance
of tiny aquatic fossils between two rock layers that dated from about 66 million years ago,
the same age as the last dinosaurs. With the help of his Nobel Prize winning father, he
analyzed the chemistry of that boundary and found iridium levels that were off the charts.
Now, there’s usually not much iridium in Earth’s crust, but it’s very common in
asteroids. So Alvarez’s theory? A 10-km wide rock collided with Earth, wiping out
75% of Earth’s plants and animals. To be honest scientists kinda laughed at it… until
the 1991 discovery of the Chicxulub crater near the Yucatan peninsula finally settled
it. Everything alive today is a descendent of
a survivor of that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, the so-called Cretaceous-Paleogene
mass extinction event, the most recent of the Big 5. You should feel pretty lucky. When we look
at all of Earth’s fossil record together, 98% of the species that have ever lived are
extinct,. Only they haven’t always disappeared at a constant rate. In the history of life on Earth, we know of
5 different mass extinctions, when a majority of life on Earth at the time disappeared in
the blink of a geologic eye. Besides the most recent dino-killer, there’s
the Triassic-Jurassic, Late Devonian, Ordivician-Silurian, and the worst of all, the End Permian. This was the
mother of mass extinctions, it wiped out as many as 96% of Earth’s species, so it got the
best nickname: The Great Dying. We’ve learned about all these just in time
to get some bad news: We are in the 6th mass extinction, and this time, we are the asteroid. The hard facts of life mean that even when
things are going pretty well on Earth, there’s a background rate of extinction. Among mammals,
for instance, we’d expect to see one species go extinct every 700 years, or maybe one
amphibian every thousand years. Studies of current extinction rates say we’re
roughly one thousand times past that, and in some groups, like amphibians, are disappearing
forty-five thousand times faster than normal. And since there are so many species still
unknown or uncharacterized, all of those numbers are probably underestimates. Goodbye, gastric brooding frog, Pyrenean ibex,
the Fomosan clouded leopard. We could have been friends. So how do we know we’re to blame? Around 13,000 years ago, as Earth thawed from
its most recent big freeze, all of our favorite weird megafauna like the wooly mammoth, Smilodon,
and our old friend Megatherium disappeared from the Earth, thanks to a changing climate
and the invention of sharp stabby hunting tools. I really wish we had saved the 8-foot
long beaver though. That would be awesome. Along the way, through hunting and farming,
humans have been altering ecosystems in small but significant ways, but since the Industrial
Revolution, man we have really kicked it into overdrive. With the exception of maybe the first bacteria
to breathe oxygen into the air, no living thing has ever altered life on Earth to the
degree that we have, which is why scientists now refer to current epoch as the Anthropocene. “We are the ultimate problem. There are 7
billion people on the planet, we tend to destroy critical habitats where species live, we tend
to be warming the planet, we tend to be very careless about moving species around the planet.” According to a 2014 paper by Stuart Pimm in
Science (link in the doobly do), the main cause of the current extinction is human population
growth and increased consumption. But those two things lead to a whole mess of threats: The most obvious are climate change and habitat
destruction. Scientists found that most land species have very small ranges, so they can’t
just pack up and move when we cut down their forest or turn it into a desert.
Ocean species have more freedom to move to better waters, unless they’re coral reefs,
but thanks to the highest atmospheric CO2 concentrations in 800,000+ years turning the
oceans more acidic, anything with a calcium based shell has nowhere to run… or swim.
If current trends hold up and the ocean hits pH 7.8 by end of century, it could wipe out
⅓ of the species in the ocean. Then there’s the invaders! Thanks to a species
of snake hitching a ride on military cargo in the 1940s, Guam has lost all of its native
birds. “I have had it with these (invasive) snakes on this (Guam-bound cargo) plane” In Africa’s Lake Victoria, 100s of species
of cichlid fish species vanished after fishermen introduced the Nile Perch. Go us!
We’re erasing species faster than we can even name them. Stanford’s Rodolfo Dirzo
says that in the past 40 years, invertebrate populations, which might make up 97% of species
on Earth, have declined 45% worldwide, and that’s just the ones we know about. (Link
in the doobly do to that one too) You have to feel worst for the amphibians.
Over the past 350 million years, they’ve survived multiple mass extinctions, but this
time we’re giving them all we’ve got. Dirzo gives this loss of animal life a rather
harmless sounding name: Defaunation. But there is nothing cute about it. There is not a group
of living things on Earth today that is not threatened by the current and coming extinction.
That includes us. Extinction is about more than gorillas, tigers,
polar bears, and rhinos, and the dozens of other “famous” or “charismatic” species
out there. Those are all important and worth saving, but we need to care just as much about
the humble beetles, the ugly little worms, and the slimy frogs. Every species, big or small, panda or protozoa,
is important and worth saving, whether or not we understand exactly why it’s worth
saving. John Muir once said, “When we try to pick
out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that
cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.” I’ve put some links down in the description
where you can get to know some of Earth’s less-loved endangered species. Go make friends
with one. Our knowledge and understanding of the planet’s
ecosystems may be incomplete, but our effect on them knows no bounds. I hope the same tools
and technology that we’ve used to push life on Earth to the edge might also give us power
to bring ‘em back. So what are we gonna do? Let’s talk about
it down there. Stay curious. If you want to read more about the brilliant
and tragic stories of extinction in this age of humans, check out “The Sixth Extinction”
by Elizabeth Kolbert, link in the description.

Comments 100

  • The gastric-brooding frog was birthed again in 2016.

  • 0:16 my brother looks at me and I just smile back at him

  • In other words, STOP KILLING WEEDS. Weeds = the first stage in greening droughted areas that used to be lush and green. Killing weeds with chemicals should be illegal, because every one of those have their own purpose. The reason why they are "Invasive" is because that IS their job. Then once those "Invasive" weeds grow, grass will start to "Invade" the area, because those weeds are drawing nutrients up their roots from deep in the ground, a depth grass doesn't grow to. Then eventually, the area will start to grow it's own vegetation.

    The answer to all our pleas:

    Respect from New Zealand (You'll know why).

    This makes global warming look like the joke it is. The real culprit is mass urbanization from colonization.

  • Latest research shows the mega fauna extinction 12,000 years ago is the same as the dinosaurs and has been attributed to a massive air burst comet over north america and not humans with sharp sticks, also known as the Clovis People. Who by the way disappeared at the same time.

  • 0:18
    my MOM

  • this is sad we realy have to do something now

  • story of humankind 7:11

  • At Angkor there is a stone medallion in the wall depicting a Stegosaurus…with it's skin on. Now this carving in stone is so old that it's artist would have no real reason for him/her to have faked such a carving. Archeology hadn't even been thought of yet so had the artist even seen bones there would have been no idea what this creature looked like with skin on unless he/she had actually seen this creature.

  • What if we co-ordinated earthlings directed our brave soldiers & technical military to prepare for diverting incoming asteroids instead of trying to foolishly inflict our individual masterly superiority over each other. It’s time for earth to decide if we want to evolve or dissolve. No human could survive a man-made or asteroid-made nuclear winter. We need to talk about this, before it’s too late. Does this not sound like a worth-while adventure ?

  • Its too late we as a sp3cies that had the capability to change this situation has let time elapse past the point of no return, now i believe that this was our intended purpose that we are no more than another tool in the box of life and it's zillion year evolutionary process I think we by nature are designed for the purpose of being this catalyst of change in life of earths evolutionary process the 6th extinction continues and it makes way for something new

  • Don't just be good on Earth Day! the only way to make a difference, is to change the culture of our everyday lives. I'm committed to walking to school every day next year, that means I'm going to get to bed early but it is worth it. Please join me!

  • Oh no we are killing our planet! We should just stop and kill ourselves! That way the poor tiny frogs can still live! 🙂 you start first!

  • "The extinction is coming from inside the house!…."

  • 04:30 wrong..

  • I don’t believe a dam thing you say , panspermia and extra terrestrial had a lot to do with what we see today God.end the geoengineering weather modification programs SRM spraying us from jets with aerosols.

  • This guy is cringe!

  • 0:15. So the killer is my brother?

  • Animals go extinct all the time, it's no big deal.

  • "And the killer is right there, in your room" I instantly looked at……..

    my couch

  • This is my list of mass extinctions I know of I’m only in 4th grade so don’t call me stupid
    Number 8 The huge asteroid that killed all the Dino’s
    Number 7 I watched a vid called 10 apocalypses we survived and one was when lakes got messed up because of Pangea separating some how so water was bad but we were some lil rat things
    Number 6 Black Death
    Number 5 WW11
    Number 4 ice age
    Number 3 other
    Number 2 Humans
    Number 1 the future
    Number 0 what ever is on his list

  • I think, in order to conserve life on our planet, as well as our luxury's is to build life sustaining space stations and look to colonize planets such as Mars, and maybe even further. That is the only way we as humans can continue to sustain our way of life without destroying our home world.

  • The only people unliking this video are the scum of humanity who don’t care that this is happening!

  • There are 7 billion people on the planet and only 0.0286% of people watched this. In other words in 10000 people only 3 is conscience about extinction… I feel honored.

  • RED ALERT RED ALERT Science will not save us from Science. We need to save ourselves from GLOBAL WARMING. If the U.N. had a plan it would start something like this.

    1. The world’s total population would have to accept to not bring children into this world for the next 20 years. ( there are plenty of children that need love and a home )
    2. People that would like to end their lives should be legally and socially accepted.( euthanasia) (a persons dignified right)😀
    3. All wars must stop today. ( people get to go home to live in there own places )
    4. The automobile industry must stop producing Fossil Fuel Powered social vehicles ending 2017. ( people get to still have a job in the motor industry building alternative vehicles )
    5. All countries that can ,will need to produce their own products (reducing ocean travel fuel burn)( sustain a work force)
    6. All global business will need to move investment to full blown Renewable energy supply. ( they and their investors still make money )
    7. All countries will need to grow billions of tons of Indian Hemp. The hemp will provide for a huge carbon store by making everything you can from it. Replacing all petrochemical products. (diversity will create contentment and PEACE and UNDERSTANDING. )
    8. Socially all drug addicts will be supplied with there drug of choice at a place of convenience. At a cost that will cover the cost. ( social rest,the end of the black market and the decline in overall drug use and deaths.)
    9. The amounts of Fossil Fuels (burnt) in the countries that will still need them will be calculated so as to keep the atmosphere stable as the gasses are reduced. ( the second and third world people will still have their first world comforts and thus we all become one world people accepting all cultures.) Sounds great hey.
    10. Understanding that there is a lot more to UNDERSTAND and DO to save LIFE. The Scientific COMMUNITY have a colossal job in helping to do this. We need all of us to DO this, ALL OF US. And the list goes on.
    (Patience and faith in one another)

    Imagine the UN achieving that, when they can’t even stop the ethnic cleansing that happens daily.

  • Survival of the fittest.

  • “And the killer is right there, in your room with you.”
    looks at my left
    Me:you mean my brother?

  • Every thing living wen born has a life program as to wen that species will end Evem our sun has a life program ad to wen it will disapearambecome a all draft Star devoird of all life energy This is a normal creative result Anwen the sun dies ??? All life on the frist 4 Planets will disapear an the life on it will Too Niw humans are in danger too of necoming extent Nut we havevfree will an brain whitch is a computer We can an will build space ships Thst eill take our dpeices off this planet out into the unerverse An we will find new planets like our Esrth we Can an will live on We will go on as a species but wr need To stop all the hate an wars An relise we needto help Each other to make this happin all races need to come Together To create together an make This happin Wecan do it an goon together The awencers are thete waiting too bevdiscoveted together If ee dont ley hate an sll the b s go ???? We will not contune To excest !!!!

  • George Carlin talked about saving the planet once. It was hilarious. People are so annoying. Humans will die off eventually and be replaced by another apex organism just like we did the dinosaurs.

    Get over yourselves fuckers. Save the planet? Save yourselves and look to the stars to spread our seed. We need to become a planetary species or we will go extinct. Nearly everything on earth does at some point. Earth is a death trap.

  • Younger Dryas Meteorite Multiple Impact Event 12 900 years ago in Greenland and other sites including North America with Carolina bays being glacial debris as well as the Eye of Sahara…

  • I've heard 98% of all species that have ever existed are extinct,and we weren't around for 97% of that soooooooo yea

  • I'm the home
    HUMANS are my family
    Countries are rooms
    Animals are pets
    Trees are furnitures
    The grass is the floor

    Don't destroy your only home..
    You Will never colonise and ruin a planet
    It's not too late to take care of me
    You still have time to change everything

  • I suggest mass castration, neuterization or gay lifestyle to heal this catastrophy!

  • My first time seeing your work. I wish you would not spread bad data. Please share what evidence you have that humans caused the extinction of the megafauna at the end of the Pleistocene. All there is is coincidence of timing. It’s a weak theory, always has been, always will be and I’m assuming you know it but seem to be towing the company line. Bummer.

  • Permian extinction erased 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates. Why you said it wiped out 96% of life?

  • We are working overtime on the 6th, pity we have to take wildlife too

  • put an arabic sub please

  • Me: I am so depressed. I know let us watch the most depressing video I can find.

  • "And the killer is right there in you room"
    looks at my blind rabbit
    "I knew it."

  • The Formosa clouded leopard is back!

  • Ok now your just talking out your ass. Thumbs down for this video.

  • I didn't kill them. So no: I am not the killer. The Passenger Pigeon died almost 80 years before I was born. Not everyone can be blamed for extinction.

  • he average pH of the oceans near the surface is around 8.1. This means that the oceans are more alkaline than neutral. The pH of anything is usually a delicate balance. Human blood, for example, has a pH range of 7.35 to 7.45

  • HARAMBE! Never Forget!

  • There's only just 2 animals not worth saving…

    Roaches, mosquitoes

  • "We are the asteroid." – Jim Sweitzer

  • "Take the only tree that’s left, Stuff it up the hole in your culture."
    —Leonard Cohen

  • “You pursue a Scorched Earth Policy long enough, you end up with a scorched Earth.” – Guy McPherson

  • "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." – John Muir

  • It's OK to be smart but it's not OK to lie. You sir, are a liar. Stop trying to scare people with lies.

  • "And the killer is right there, in you're room".
    * Cellmate and I slowly look at each other *

  • C'mon man just say it we screwed up…..boy did we ever

  • Love this.

  • The six extinctions:
    1. The orodovician-solution
    2. The late Devonian
    3. The end -permian
    4. The Triassic-jurassic
    5. The cretaceous-paleogene
    6. Infinity War

  • Pop neuroscience topics and topics on human perception of time are fascinating

  • I'm pretty much ok with the sixth extinction. Man is destroying everything in its path anyway and most of the people are blaming it on scriptures. Because that is what is written on the Bible or Quran.

  • Your missing the part where the asteroid hit the Greenland icecap 12,800 years ago and killed most of our mega fauna. Ice wall melted and therefore lead to the North American flood plain. Killing even more mastadons and wooly mammoths. Plus what didnt die from the impact or the floods where killed by nuclear winter. Conclusion the end of the junger dryers

  • So that means we kill the species

  • But what if the extinction of a species is just another form of natural selection?

  • I put in lizard habitat around my 8 raised hugelkultur beds. At first I only had one common species, but last year I saw one rare species and another common species. Pretty exciting. This year a rare constrictor snake that prefers lizards showed up. Oops. A good sign of a healthy ecosystem, I tell myself, knowing that bad boy gets five feet long.

  • 6:29 Snakes on a Plane, because the concept of snakes being on a plane is actually relevant.

  • I m still looking for the killer

  • How do we solve this mass extinction and are willing do so ?

  • Young earthers be like:
    the end of the world is near.

  • I love how Disney is on The mass extinction shot

  • I am towards the end of my life I feel sorry for our grandkids grandkids

  • How you make videos and which software do you use to edit them ?

    If anyone thinking same then like and comment

  • Used to think only hell has devils but we are the devils..

  • Guys, lets just fricking hope yellowstone exploding is quicker than the CO2 rates

  • Almost believable, until you went into the "climate change" fairy tale.


  • This is so depressing

  • We killed pigeons?

  • Yeah well say bye bye to the white rhino the last one just died

  • you look like johnny knoxville

  • sneaks his phone into school
    Watches this video
    Teacher:ok today u will be doing a 1,000 word essay
    Guy in the video:THE KILLER IS IN THE ROOM WITH U

  • who will help fund my ideas to reverse all of this? seriously. I have a pitch for anyone that might listen.

  • I am glad about 20 20 vision is hind sight. It is now acknowledge that the YD event of the period you reference at 4.50 into you vid is totally crap. Howerver man's continuing influence on the planet has gone unchecked, let me warn you about climate change & habitat structure. We are currently in the longest sweet spot of geological & astrophysical stability for the last 250,000 years. 13,000 approx years ago heralded the end of the last ice age & the last cataclysm that caused the biblical floods, acknowledged by civilisations all over the world. Yes we are f,ing things up but you are not helping promoting academia's view & lies in relation to the subject. Good evening..

  • We are killing our mother 🌎☢️☣️🚷


  • I’m sad and depressed that we are all gonna die 😔I won’t get to live a long life , with a healthy earth

  • The sooner we force extinction the sooner the Earth recuperates. She’ll be fine after we are gone.

  • fake news

  • I'm the only one here. And I'm pretty sure I, and/or my gf in the bedroom have even been anywhere near the places these extinct animals existed

  • "And the killer is right there in your room"
    Looks at cat It was you!

  • 2:42 Disney?

  • It can take millions of years for a species to become extinct. I wouldn’t be too quick to cast blame. “Chuck” Darwin? Really? How smug.

  • After we are gone , this planet will be in better shape that for sure .

  • fire ant: we shal piss off all species on earth.
    human: not if we do it first

  • If man keeps going he will be the one to destroy the planet not an asteroid

  • The planets worst enemy has been us…the human virus! Will be our undoing…

  • All the life on Earth will end surely. After Earth wipes out everything and heals itself and mainly it makes only one rule that Never let the human species to evolve again🌏

  • An entire years worth of baby seals drowned overnight because the ice melted to early.

  • Oof mah life

  • 5G Will cause more cancer. It is the next major issue. We already have smoke. Everyone knows it's are bad. So is this a smokescreen? Many governments won't discuss or test this proven danger. But insurance companies and so on are avoiding it like the plague. Microwaves have been used as weapons against protesters. Data has been used to spy on us. Now artificial intelligence and microwaves is being slipped in the backdoor while this pantomime carries on.

  • basically, we should stop everything that’s destroying the earth.

  • Animals: "Looks too the sky"
    Humans in the sky: it's the sixth extinction baby

  • well theres a thing called nerds

  • mosquito must extinct

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