Conquer It

The ability to evaluate the author’s claims will be extremely important as you continue to read and evaluate information presented in scientific text. You will know when claims are well supported with facts and research findings, and when you will need to find additional information to verify the claims the author is making. In order to conquer this skill, read the following paragraphs and then complete the activity.

13 In the most extreme case new animals could be brought in. They could fill the role of animals that have gone extinct. For example, European sailors ate their way through the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, killing off the dodo bird and the local tortoise species. But tortoises from the neighboring Seychelles archipelago have been imported recently. They have helped restore the island ecosystem, including bringing back endangered local trees.

14 There is even some hope of bringing back entirely extinct species in the future using advances in genetics and synthetic biology. Bringing back extinct species, or replacing extinct animals with similar ones to restore ecosystems, could pose problems. Right now, new invasive species are hurting ecosystems, like the Asian carp invading lakes in the U.S. We'll have to be careful.

15 But we are not doomed to cause a sixth mass extinction, at least not yet. Based on an estimate published in Nature in 2011, we have a century or two before our actions assure a mass extinction. Unlike an asteroid, we could choose to change course.

Reasoned judgments are supported claims that authors use to convey information that they want readers to know and believe. Go to the final Conquer It activity to ensure your understanding.