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The Year 2070 might mark the extinction of nearly one-third of parasites on Earth: Here’s why

By Herald Keeper
By Olivia Tucker

Imagine a world without disease causing parasites; wouldn’t it be a reason for celebration? Provided how much physical, mental and monetary efforts we have put into gaining control over these disease causing organisms, it would surely make us happy if they were to vanish from the face of Earth. But hold on to that thought, because apparently extinction of any species would majorly disturb our ecological system ultimately affecting us. Doesn’t sound so good anymore, right?

Parasites are the freeloaders which derive nutrition while living on a host body. Organisms like lice, bedbugs, leeches, etc come under this category. Up until now these basic creatures have been the king of species as they dominate nearly half of the 7.7 million known species on Earth. In a study published this week in the journal Science Advances, researchers warn that the sudden climatic changes being observed due to global warming could lead to a mass extinction of near about one-third of Earth’s total parasitic population by the year 2070.

According to the lead author of the study, Colin Carlson, a graduate student studying global change biology at the University of California at Berkeley, such a great scale of extinction will certainly lead to ecological disasters. For years parasites have been neglected but after recent in-depth study on these organisms, one thing is sure that these organisms play a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystem.The researchers used the collection of more than 20 million species of parasite specimens housed in the Smithsonian run National Parasite collection, which is said to be more than 125-year-old. Each species was isolated according to their habitat and place of origin and studied accordingly. Various climatic change scenarios were tested, and the conclusion derived was just as expected. In the event of current rate of climatic deterioration, the parasites would be the first to face mass extinction leading up to extinction of the higher species and eventually humans.

Parasites help keep a check on the population thus maintaining a balance in nature plus they even help our bodies develop immunity against the diseases they carry. Any misbalance in the amount of parasitic population is a tell-tell sign of future mass extinction for higher organisms. Although in-depth studies haven’t been done regarding the safety of parasites, the researchers have built the first ever database with knowledge about various parasites over the year to help other researchers out there trying to derive a solution to prevent this catastrophe.

The post The Year 2070 might mark the extinction of nearly one-third of parasites on Earth: Here’s why by Olivia Tucker appeared first on Herald Keeper.

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