Scientists use long-term data to reconstruct shifting patterns of extinction in China

Posted: 7th December, 2017

A study led by ZSL’s Dr Samuel Turvey looking into the impact of human based activities on species decline in China has indicated that many mammalian species have retained half their geographical range despite a millennia of habitat destruction and biodiversity loss.

China provides a wealth of fossil, archaeological and palaeontological records to explore shifting patterns of species extinction. The country alone contains over 10% of the world’s extant mammal species as well as a diverse array of habitat types. For these reasons, Dr Turvey’s team were able to consider data taken from 34 types of wild mammals over a duration of 11,000 years.

The team found that herbivores are more susceptible to extinction over time whilst carnivores have, until recently, shown greater resilience.

The study demonstrates that providing a long-term assessment of extinction risk is invaluable for predicting the risk that current-day species face from human activities, particularly in areas of great conservation concern such as Asia.

You can find more about the research in the Royal Society Proceedings B.

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