|Overview: Holocene Extinction
A large scale extinction event that began around 11,700 BC that continues to this day.
What is the Holocene Extinction?
John Spacey, updated on July 23, 2023
The Holocene extinction is a large extinction event that began around 11,700 BC that continues to this day. Humans are considered the primary cause of Holocene extinctions including the disappearance of large land animals known as megafauna due to prehistoric overhunting. Humans essentially emerged as a global superpredator at the end of the last ice age.More recent extinctions are typically due to habitat loss and other human impacts on the environment. It is difficult to estimate the number of extinctions each year as many species are still undocumented. Current estimates are as high as 140,000 species per year. The Holocene extinction is considered the largest extinction event since the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction wiped out the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago.
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