Imagine looking up at a sky full of birds. Birds block the light from the sun. Passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratoriusIt was flying a flock of hundreds of millions, and sometimes billions, of birds that took hours to pass overhead. Then we started shooting them.
Humans began hunting passenger pigeons commercially in the 19th century and were extinct by 1914. Audubon magazine.. These birds are a prime example of how quickly and efficiently humans can wipe out even the most common species. But is it just us, or can non-human animals drive other animals to extinction?
It’s kind of, but usually humans are involved.For some animals, humans put them in the wrong place and they Invasive — Species that cause ecological or economic damage to the non-native environment.For example, Burmese Python ((((Burmese python) I eat anything that moves from Asia to Florida Everglades.. The python population began as a pet that was released and fled. Florida Natural History Museum..
Species that are unable to recognize or respond appropriately to new species in the environment are called “naive” or are said to suffer from ecological naivety. It’s not their fault.Animals do not evolution To escape or protect yourself from the whimsical divisions of aliens, and adaptation does not spring up overnight.
“The main way alien species wipe out indigenous peoples is by consumption, which means that predators have been brought into areas where there were previously no predators, and the types of predators that were there were different. “Tim Blackburn, a professor of invasive biology at the university, said. College London, England, told Live Science. “It gives them a kind of built-in advantage that allows them to go through rustic animals. [animals of a particular region].. ”
An example of an invading species of Blackburn is a domestic cat. “They have contributed to the extinction of dozens of birds,” he said — Stevens Islandren (Traversia lyalli) One example is New Zealand, which was extinct in 1895. Cats are the leading direct human cause of bird death in the United States and Canada, American Bird Conservation Society.. In other words, American birds are more threatened by pet cats than by guns.
Humans are responsible for moving cat hunters and giant snakes on Earth. Then everything they do is up to us. But what about when animals naturally move to new areas? According to Blackburn, animals tend to naturally disperse in nearby areas, where species are generally similar and therefore react appropriately with each other. Therefore, there is usually no unfair match.
Occasionally, land movements force interspecies sway. The Great American Interchange (about 10 to 10,000 years ago) is a prominent example of this. Structural plate Pushing North and South America together, seeds from each continent met via a Central American overpass.South America was introduced to many new animals, including predators such as: bear And a big cat, North America received the following seeds Ground sloth And in return, a relative of Armagiro called Glyptodon.
The diversity of animals that migrated from North America to South America was higher than vice versa, so South America gained more new inhabitants.2020 study published in the journal Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences He suggested that this was due to the disproportionately high extinction rate of mammals in South America. In other words, more species in South America were extinct during the exchange, and fewer species were able to be colonized in North America.
“Probably South American native mammals were susceptible to new predators,” said Juan Carilo, a paleontologist at the University of Fribour, Switzerland, and the lead author of the 2020 paper.Only one predation by North American carnivores hypothesis For those who promoted asymmetric exchange.
“Ground sloths and glyptodon were probably big enough to escape these predators,” Carrillo told Live Science. “And that may be one of the reasons they were able to migrate to the north, and we found them in fossil records in many parts of North America.”
However, while the impact of modern invasive species on extinction is clear, interaction depicts a more complex situation. “It wasn’t just a moment Of earth It has a history, but it actually took millions of years and there were various stages. ” Climate change It probably had an effect when the earth was cold.
But is it still fair to assume that at least some South American prey species have become extinct due to the arrival of North American predators? It’s possible, but it’s difficult to figure out what causes climate change and other factors, Carrillo said.
Animal traits are forged on the battlefield of evolution, but that does not mean that predators stand up to control their prey. Carrillo said that if a predator eats to extinct its prey, it cannot eat anything and will therefore be extinct. If a predator has multiple prey, in theory it can survive by clearing one species, but extinction usually involves multiple factors.
Blackburn does not know of an example of a natural invasion in which one species has driven another to extinction. “The natural world is very complex in nature and requires a huge amount of work to elicit the processes that are commonly performed,” he said.
Humans are clearly driving species to extinction through activities such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and the introduction of invasive species. “The fact that these effects are so dramatic is, in and of itself, almost strong evidence that these processes are real and very different from what happened before,” Blackburn said. Mr. says.
Originally published on Live Science.
Can non-human animals drive other animals to extinction?
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