Wagler, Ron Department of Teacher Education, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas.
Last reviewed:January 2019
Show previous versions
- Past large extinctions
- Major human activities causing the Anthropocene extinction
- Trends in species extinction related to the Anthropocene extinction
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An ongoing current event in which a large number of living species are threatened with extinction or are going extinct because of environmentally destructive human activities. The Earth is presently in the midst of a mass extinction event. In the past, there have been five other similar large extinctions. Because of this, the current Anthropocene extinction is often referred to as the sixth extinction or the sixth great mass extinction; another term is the Holocene extinction because this event is taking place in the current Holocene Epoch, which covers the last 10,000 years of the Earth's history. However, as the present-day extinction event is anthropogenic (that is, related to or resulting from the influence of humans on nature), the favored term is Anthropocene extinction. This article presents an overview of the five previous large extinctions, the major human activities causing the Anthropocene extinction, and the trends in species extinction related to this present-day extinction event (see illustration). See also: Biodiversity; Endangered species; Extinction; Holocene; Mass extinctions; Paleobiodiversity; Paleoecology; Species concept
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information