The Sixth Extinction Audiobook [Free Download by Trial]

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The Sixth Extinction

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Summary

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

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4 comments

  • Excellent book. Describes how humans are destroying biological diversity in about 12 chapters, each focusing on a type of animal, connected with a wider theme. Highly recommended to people who think about where the world is going and what might be done about it.
  • First two chapters are a history of fossils that I have little interest in. Bought the book to learn about the extinctions that we know of. I don't really care what 18th and 19th century naturalists thought about the early mammoth fossils. Narrator is good, but it moves too slow.
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