Humanity is responsible for speeding up the natural rate of extinction for animal and plant species by up to 10,000 times, as the planet is on the brink of a dinosaur-scale sixth mass extinction, a new study has warned. Species are disappearing around 10 times faster than is widely believed in the scientific community, while in pre-human times extinction rates were slower than previously thought, researchers from Duke University in the US said. “We are on the verge of the sixth extinction,” lead author, biologist Stuart Pimm, said. “Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions.” Praised by independent experts as a landmark report, it focuses around calculating a “death rate” of how many species become extinct each year out of 1 million species. More via The Independent.