15.2cm x 23.3cm
A major book about the future of the world, blending natural history, field reporting and the history of ideas and into a powerful account of the mass extinction happening today.
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. But this time around, the cataclysm is us.
'In The Sixth Extinction, two-time National Magazine award winner and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in a half-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 a concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in French Revolutionary Paris through to 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.