Most biologists agree that there have been five mass extinction events in history, the most common of which occurred 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs were extinguished by an asteroid. Rolf Schmidt from the Melbourne Museum of Inverted Paleontology in Australia, however, believes we could be close to sixth. During Amazon Prime's "The Next Extinction Event" he warned that climate change should not be the only thing people think.
He said earlier this year: "There is a strong correlation between carbon content, in particular carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and in the climate.
"Now it's not always the carbon dioxide that climate change starts with, but it's either the first to change carbon dioxide up or down, which is very closely linked to the massive climate change.
"Sometimes carbon dioxide changes prematurely, and things like massive volcanism can lead to warming.
"In some cases, such as the extinction of the Ordovician, a high mountain area, weathering releases carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which lowers carbon dioxide.
"That probably happened, which caused an ice age."
Dr. Schmidt went on to explain how fast the climate can affect eect at every level of the food chain.
He added, "At other times, there may be other causes for Earth's orbit to change shape, which is usually predictable, and then those changes to Earth orbit. Sunlight triggers a shift toward warmer or colder
. "But then there is a kind of feedback of carbon dioxide, and the warmer it gets, the more the carbon dioxide heats up, which causes more carbon dioxide.
"So carbon dioxide triggers either the warming or cooling or it exacerbates the changes. The faster it changes, the faster the climate changes.
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"It is believed that the change currently exceeds the adaptation rate of the species.
"It's not like the other mass extinctions, it's more like a perfect storm of conditions, not just like climate change or an asteroid, but a myriad of things we have.
"It's not just climate change that is being caused by man, but also deforestation or urban sprawl or fragmentation of habitats.
"So it's disturbing to see We know what happened in the past. "