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ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2010) —

Global biodiversity surveys over the past few years have provided increasing evidence that our planet is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. Plants, animals, and microorganisms are disappearing thousands of times more rapidly than they have for more than 65 million years, and for the first time in Earth’s history, human activity is the predominant force behind this mass extinction. As governments and conservation organizations around the world attempt to stem this tide of disappearing species, they face a number of formidable challenges, but perhaps the greatest among them is this — we have only documented and described an estimated 10 percent of the species on Earth, and it’s hard to save a species when you don’t know that it exists.

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