The Earth may be on the brink of a sixth mass extinction on a par with the five others that have punctuated its history, suggests the strongest evidence yet.

Butterflies in Britain are going extinct at an even greater rate than birds, according to the most comprehensive study ever of butterflies, birds, and plants.



There is growing concern over the rate at which species of plants and animals are disappearing around the world. But until now the evidence for such extinctions has mainly come from studies of birds.



“The doubters could always turn around and say that there’s something peculiar about birds that makes them susceptible to the impact of man on the environment,” says Jeremy Greenwood of the British Trust for Ornithology in Norfolk, and one of the research team.



Now there is concrete evidence that insects



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