New discovery of the earliest known hippo fossil in the UK

A fossil of an extinct species of hippo that is over one million years old has been discovered in Somerset by researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Leicester. This finding surpasses the ...

Fear and love surround Escobar's hippos thriving in Colombia

Tucked between mountain ranges, the sprawling palace of Pablo Escobar was home to kangaroos, giraffes, elephants and other exotic animals—a private zoo of illegally imported animals that was the greatest ostentation of ...

Beloved Colombian hippos pose environmental dilemma

At dusk, the street lights flicker on around a city park, located not far from the Magdalena River in Colombia. An enormous figure emerges from the shadows. It lumbers forward, stopping to graze on the grass. The scene verges ...

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.

Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity impacts human health in a number of ways, both positively and negatively.

The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA