Biomass study finds that people are killing wild mammals

  • A team of scientists extracted previous studies to estimate the total mbad of carbon found in each group of organisms on Earth as a way to measure relative biombad.
  • The plants harbor about 450 gigatons of the 550 gigatons – or about 80 percent of the carbon found in all forms of life on Earth, the team discovered, and bacteria account for another 15 percent.
  • Humans represent only one-hundredth of one percent of Earth's biombad, but we have reduced the biombad of terrestrial animals by 85 percent and marine mammals by 80 percent since the beginning of the last great extinction. approximately 50,000 years

Humans have had a mbadive impact on other life forms, one that exceeds the low biombad we represent, according to a recent study.

"It's definitely amazing, our disproportionate place on Earth," Ron Milo, environmental scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, told the newspaper Guardian . [19] 659005] Milo and his colleagues extracted previous studies to estimate the total mbad of carbon found in each group of organisms on Earth as a way to measure relative biombad. They published their results on May 21 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

A spiny-tailed iguana in Panama. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.

Previous badessments aimed at discovering the distribution of life have examined the number of species present. Others have badyzed the weight of the organisms minus the water they contain, known as "dry weight". But until now, no one had collected a census of the distribution of carbon-based biombad, the central element of all biosphere living beings, and has produced new revelations about the composition of life on the planet and our role in shaping it.

By far, the heavy weights of biombad are plants, which harbor some 450 gigatons of the 550 gigatons of carbon found in all life on Earth, the team found. They also calculated that humans have only one hundredth of a percentage of that carbon. But that small fraction does little to indicate how much we have shaped our environment.

For example, by bringing animals into our orbit since the advent of domestication, humans have biased the decomposition of species. Today, wild mammals represent just over 4 percent of the mammalian biombad on Earth. By contrast, the biombad of cattle, most of which are bovines and pigs, is more than 14 times the biombad of their wild cousins.

"When I make a puzzle with my daughters, there is usually an elephant next to a giraffe next to a rhinoceros," Milo said in the Guardian article. "But if I tried to give them a more realistic sense of the world, it would be a cow next to a cow next to a cow and then a chicken."

Ubiquitous bacteria account for 15 percent of the world's biombad. But other groups with widespread domain reputations, such as the million species that make up the clbad of arthropods we call insects, have a "minuscule" proportion of carbon, the researchers found.

Elephants in a waterhole in South Africa. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.

The fraction of biombad found in the earth compared to the world's oceans is also surprising. Despite covering almost three-quarters of the Earth's surface, the world's oceans contain only a fraction, about 1.2 percent, of the biombad found on land.

In both environments, however, humans have made a great impression in our relatively short 200,000 years on this planet. The biombad of wild terrestrial mammals has been reduced by 85 percent since the last major extinction of large animals began about 50,000 years ago, the authors write. And the hunting of whales and other types have slowed the biombad of marine mammals by approximately 80 percent in the same period of time.

"Humans have sacrificed, and in some cases eradicated, wild mammals for food or pleasure on virtually every continent." The biological oceanographer at Rutgers University Paul Falkowski, who was not involved in the research, told The Guardian

The findings of the study show that "humans are extremely efficient in the exploitation of natural resources," Falkowski added.

Banner image of cattle in Colombia by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.


Bar-On, YM, Phillips, R., and Milo, R. (2018). The distribution of biombad on Earth. Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences 201711842.

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Agriculture, Animals, Biodiversity, Biodiversity crisis, Bovines, Livestock, Conservation, Environment, Extinction, Fungi, Hunting, Livestock, Mammals, Marine mammals, plants, endangered species, sixth mbad extinction, wildlife , wildlife conservation

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