Over the past 20,000 to 50,000 years, new research has shown that all bird species have experienced an extinction process. The main reason for this was man. Our impact on wildlife has led to the extinction of approximately 10-20% of all bird species.
The main reason for the extinction of species in the past is the evolution of hunting. Today, man is again to blame for the extinction of birds, but now he takes away from animals "their territory"
By conducting a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, scientists were able to collect the required amount of data on the abundance and characteristics of extinct bird species around the world. As the authors of the work note, it is very important to understand what exactly influenced (and how) the disappearance of birds in the past, in order to avoid possible repetitions of the scenarios today. In total, scientists have been able to list 469 bird species that have become extinct over the past 50,000 years, but there could be many more, as archaeological evidence may "hide" some species.
Researchers believe that the mass extinction was caused primarily by humans who hunted birds for food, or animals brought to the islands by humans. This assumption is based on the fact that most of the remains of birds were found in ancient human sites, where birds nested nearby.
Most of the extinct species had three main characteristics:
- About 90% of them lived on the islands
- Most of the extinct birds were large, with many extinct species weighing 10 times that of the survivors. Larger birds provided more food for humans, making them a preferred target for hunters.
- Most of the extinct species were unable to fly. Overall, 68% of flightless bird species known to science are extinct
The authors of the paper hope that their findings will serve as a warning signal. Today, many species are on the verge of extinction, and if humans were once the reason why entire species disappeared, today they can become a “tool” for bird conservation.