Human beings could be wiped out in the next mass extinction on Earth - and our huge numbers won’t save us, scientists believe.
Many believe that we are on the brink of a sixth ‘mass extinction’ event - caused not by an asteroid, but by human beings.
Researchers from the University of Leeds analysed fossils from the Jurassic and Triassic periods to see how species were affected by a mass extinction event.
Around 200 million years ago, around 80% of species were wiped out by an event thought to have been triggered by volcanic eruptions and climate change.
Looking at fossils of crocodile ancestors, the scientists found that wide geographical distribution offered no protection from such events.
Alex Dunhill said, ‘The fact that the insurance against extinction given by a wide geographic distribution disappears at a known mass extinction event is an important result.
‘These results shed light on the likely outcome of the current biodiversity crisis caused by human activity.
‘It appears a human-driven sixth mass extinction will affect all organisms, not just currently endangered and geographically restricted species.’