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Imagine a world without giraffes…and three-fourths of the world’s familiar species

For his yearlong series called “Vanishing,” CNN Opinion columnist John D. Sutter turned to JRBP executive director Tony Barnosky for the long view of extinction. Barnosky is a paleontologist who has applied his research on fossil communities to determine how much of modern day extinction is within the range of natural causes, and how much can be attributed to human impacts. Barnosky’s influential findings include a global study of extinction that has been cited in the scientific literature more than a thousand times.  Barnosky has also authored three books explaining the big-picture view of extinction, the possibility of a mass extinction, and the range of factors pushing us toward the edge of this cliff. Whether reporting on declines in giraffe populations, the urgency of the extinction threat, what's causing it, or how to walk back from the brink, Sutter has consulted Barnosky.