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Re: mass extinctions in the cretaceous and later

On Mon, 20 Mar 2006 15:32:44 -0700 frank bliss <frank@blissnet.com>
> A widely circulating news article about a UN report of the Convention 
> on Biological Diversity stated that humans have caused the biggest  
> extinction since the demise of the dinosaurs.

Maybe in another 1000 years, yes.  But we have just gotten started. 
Geez, give us time.

For every megafauna we kill off, and for every 1000 tons of poisons that
we pump into the oceans per day, and for every 1 degree C increase in
average global temperature that we cause, perhaps 20 microbes speciate
into 50 new taxa.  As far as we know, we could be in the middle of a
human-caused explosive microbial diversification (resulting in a net
increase in global taxa).  I'm not saying that this is happening, but it
is a very real possibility.  Few global warming researchers are studying
microbial extinction/speciation rates in the field (nor does anyone
really know *how* to study such a thing, particularly with the "wild"
strains that are hard to culture in the lab).

Frankly, I doubt that *anyone* has a good handle on what is currently
going on with our global ecosystem.  All that I know is that whatever is
going on, it appears to be really bad.

BTW:  IMHO, Michael Crichton should stick to writing fiction, and quit
being a mouthpiece for special interest groups.  He appears to be getting
his "scientific facts" from the RNC.  YMMV.

<pb> (who hasn't had his afternoon juice box yet, and is therefore a
fussy little boy)