Chris D. Thomas _ ‘ Speciation‘
This week I’m talking with Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology at the University of York in the UK and author of the recent book ‘Inheritors of the Earth, How Nature is Thriving in an Age of Extinction’
It’s unlikely that anyone listening is as big of fan the TV show X-Files as I am, but I’’ve always really liked this particular moment of one of the early episodes in which one of the main characters (Fox Mulder) says “You know, they say three species disappear off the planet every day. You wonder how many new ones are being created.”
Now, of course X-Files is fiction, and what Chris Thomas is writing in his book is not. But there are some loose corollaries between. Chris Thomas points out that yes, we as witnessing a period of mass extinction here on Earth, but no it’s probably not at the levels necessary to categorize it currently as the Sixth Mass Extinction. For that to happen you would need to witness close to ¾ of the worlds species dying out, though over time, that could be possible. But what Chris Thomas discusses in his book are the examples out there around us of the hybridization of species as well as examples of new species coming into existence. Even as extinction is wiping out species here on earth that humanity might never even have known existed, because of how little we know about the environment around us, scientists are sure that other new species are being formed. But of course it’s not all so clear-cut and many questions still exist about the diversity of species we have left and those coming into existence. But to repeat the dialogue from a handful of movies and cheesy novels….’Life finds a way’.
Chris D. Thomas is a professor of conservation biology at the University of York, UK. His numerous articles and academic works make him one of the world’s most influential ecologists, and his research has been covered on the front pages of the Guardian and Washington Post. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2012, received Marsh Awards for Climate Change Research in 2011 and for Conservation Biology in 2004, and was awarded the prestigious British Ecological Society President’s Medal in 2001.
Sign up for Newsletter