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Where Are The Corpses?

September 30, 2014

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Abstract

The record of continental (as opposed to island) bird and mammal extinctions in the last five centuries was analyzed to determine if the “species-area” relationship actually works to predict extinctions. Very few continental birds or mammals are recorded as having gone extinct, and none have gone extinct from habitat reduction alone. No continental forest bird or mammal is recorded as having gone extinct from any cause. Since the species-area relationship predicts that there should have been a very large number of recorded bird and mammal extinctions from habitat reduction over the last half millennium, I show that the species-area relationship gives erroneous answers to the question of extinction rates.

Figure 1. The Object of My Quest — The Corpse of an Extinct Bird

Background

A recent study in Nature [Thomas 2004] stated that 37% of all species might soon go extinct because of habitat…

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