Extinction

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Oxford University Press, Jun 27, 2019 - Science - 144 pages
Most people are familiar with the dodo and the dinosaur, but extinction has occurred throughout the history of life, with the result that nearly all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. Today, species are disappearing at an ever increasing rate, whilst past losses have occurred during several great crises. Issues such as habitat destruction, conservation, climate change, and, during major crises, volacanism and meteorite impact, can all contribute towards the demise of a group.

In this Very Short Introduction, Paul B. Wignall looks at the causes and nature of extinctions, past and present, and the factors that can make a species vulnerable. Summarising what we know about all of the major and minor exctinction events, he examines some of the greatest debates in modern science, such as the relative role of climate and humans in the death of the Pleistocene megafauna, including mammoths and giant ground sloths, and the roles that global warming, ocean acidification, and deforestation are playing in present-day extinctions

ABOUT THE SERIES The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

 

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Contents

The great catastrophes
51
How to kill nearly everything
76
What happened to the Ice Age megafauna?
96
Further reading
117
Index
121
Very Short Introduction Join our community
125
A Very Short Introduction
126
Copyright

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About the author (2019)


Paul Wignall is Professor of Palaeoenvironments at the University of Leeds, and a leading expert on extinctions. He has published over 200 papers on a multitude of research areas, including the causes of major environmental change such as the deoxygenation of the oceans, and the establishment of super greenhouse climates. In addition to his considerable research output, he has authored a popular science book, The Worst of Times (Princeton University Press, 2015), and has contributed articles to popular science magazines. He has also appeared in many television documentaries, including the recent Walking through Time (Channel 4).

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