The Sixth Extinction : Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind

Richard E Leakey; Roger Lewin
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Richard Leakey, One Of The World'sForemost Experts On Man's Evolutionary Past, Now TurnsHis Eye To The Future And Doesn't Like What HeSees. To the philosophical theearth is eternal, while the human race.

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-- presumptivekeeper of the world's history -- is a mere speckin the rich stream of life. It is known thatnothing upon Earth is forever; geography, climate, andplant and animal life are all subject to radicalchange. On five occasions in the past, catastrophicnatural events have caused mass extinctions onEarth. But today humans stand alone, in dubiousdistinction, among Earth's species: HomoSapiens possesses the ability to destroyentire species at will, to trigger the sixthextinction in the history of life. In The SixthExtinction, Richard Leakey and Roger Lewinconsider how the grand sprawl of human life isinexorably wreaking havoc around the world. Theauthors of Origins andOrigins Reconsidered, unimpeachableauthorities on the human fossil record, turn theirattention to the most uncharted anthropological territoryof all: the future, and man's role in defining it.According to Leakey and Lewin, man and hissurrounding species are end products of history andchance. Now, however, humans have the uniqueopportunity to recognize their influence on the globalecosystem, and consciously steer the outcome in orderto avoid triggering an unimaginable upheaval.