garyisabusyguy writes: We've heard proposals in the past that a new extinction event is underway. However, a new study takes into consideration many other factors that may be tilting the data, and still comes to the inevitable conclusion that we have triggered a large die-off, and that we may become victims of it as well. From the paper's abstract: "Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 114 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way."
The authors suggest that rapid work to avert the worst of the die-off is still possible. The question may really be whether we can get past paid trolls, FUD, and finger pointing in order to act wisely in a timely manner.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.