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Re: mass extinction

I forgot to cite the claim about when the next ice age is supposed to begin -- or not:

A. Berger & M. F. Loutre: An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead?, Science 297, 1287f. (23 August 2002)

Uses all manner of astronomical cycles to calculate this.

I believe the stats that are thrown about by journalists suggest that the
RATE (species per unit of time) of extinction is currently faster
than at any other time.

That probably is it.

Although exactly how the extinction rate can be determined in the
past, I don't know.

All we need to assume it that it was greater than today. That seems like a safe bet.

I'd have thought that, given the rapid climate shift at the end of the
Pleistocene, extinction rates would have been relatively swift then.

But nothing seems to have happened outside of North America.

(The extinction of the mammoth in mainland Eurasia was a retreat to northern Siberia that lasted several thousand years.)