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A. New Findings About Recovery from Extinction

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new eye-opening study has found it would take about ten million years for the Earth to recover from a species extinction, whether on a large or small scale. James Kirchner, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, says that time frame is well past the expected life span of the human species.

Kirchner: So that the extinctions that we are causing today will leave an essentially permanent deficit in global biodiversity. Not just for our children and our grandchildren, but for all the human children there are ever going to be.

Narrator: It was originally thought only mass extinction required a long recovery, but Kirchner used a mathematical technique found in astrophysics to analyze fossil records and come up with this new measurement.

Kirchner: I think the results that we found are cause for concern, but not cause for despair because what happens to global biodiversity is a consequence of the choices we make as individuals, as societies and as a global community.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.