Tuesday, December 24, 2013

THe Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert *****

Modern frogs appeared about 250 million year ago, about the same time as the dinosaurs. However, unlike the dinosaurs, they survived the K-T mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. With this track record of survival, the fact that frogs are now becoming extinct -- world-wide -- is a surprise. This and more is explained in The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Kolbert is a journalist, world traveler, explorer, and naturalist. With a mix of first-person reports and discussions with scientists, she explores the reason for current wave of extinctions. Historically there have been five major extinction event in the last 500 million year ... certainly not a very common event. These rare events are do not share a common cause. Drivers include: impact of extraterrestrial objects, glaciers/drop in sea level, and volcanic activity.

Similarly, the current, sixth, extinction is also different. While the news is full of stories about climate change and destruction of habitat, the real reason might be the homogenization of global flora and fauna. When there are many niches, many species are supported, but when flora and fauna expand globally, one a few species survive.

If you are interested in a mixture of adventure and science, along with the future of the life on planet Earth, this is the book for you.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway on December 3, 2013. I received the book on December 12, 2013.

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