We’re heading for a world without puffins or toucans. Is that really what we want? | Lucy Jones

This is what the biodiversity crisis means: the most awe-inspiring creatures are those most at risk of extinction

For decades ecologists have been warning about the homogenisation of diversity – species becoming more alike – in the living world. Now, researchers at the University of Sheffield have published research predicting that bird species with striking and extreme traits are likely to go extinct first. “The global extinction crisis doesn’t just mean that we’re losing species,” says the study’s leader, Dr Emma Hughes. “It means that we are losing unique traits and evolutionary history.”

This shows that human activity is not just drastically reducing numbers of species, it is probably disproportionately destroying the most unique, unusual and distinctive creatures on Earth.

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