Our second criterion is that the effective extinction date (EED) must be confirmed as falling within recent times. The studies on recently extinct fish and mammals defined this time as covering from AD 1500 to the present. We felt that AD 1500 represented a justifiable start date for surveying recent extinctions for two reasons: following this date, human exploration of the globe became more prevalent, and reliable evidence for the loss of other species in association with human movement and activities began to be recorded widely. Do you agree that this is a sensible date from which to start a survey such as this? If not, how much further back in time do you think the survey should go?
Amphibians Advisory Panel
Comment 4: AD 1500 seems about the best along a continuum; some might argue for earlier in the Mediterranean Basin.
Birds Advisory Panel
Comment 1: suggested starting at AD 1600 to conform with the most widely used lists for birds; certainly no later than AD 1500.
Coleoptera Advisory Panel
Comment 1: no reason to go beyond AD 1500. For invertebrates, one would be lucky to get historical information much earlier than the 19th century, and most if not all documented insect extinctions have occurred since 1900. One of the primary advantages to using insects to such ends is their acute sensitivity to environmental change, acting as fine mesh filter for identifying vulnerable groups and areas.
Fishes Advisory Panel
Comment 1: agrees with AD 1500.
Lepidoptera Advisory Panel
Comment 1: data from c. 1500 would be very difficult to find.
Mammals Advisory Panel
Comment 1: extinctions should be surveyed over a longer time than since AD 1500, otherwise one loses too much information on the last episode of extinction processes. Surveys starting from an earlier date permit a better (more complete) description of the patterns and effects of extinctions on the Earth's biodiversity of the Earth. A uniform date for all extinctions will not work: for islands and later colonized continents, the time of arrival of first settlers could be used (but avoid being Eurocentrically biased.); for Africa and Eurasia it is more difficult, and some other artificial consensus date should be used, such as (a) birth of agriculture and civilization, 10,000 YBP; (b) extinction of Homo neanderthalensis associated with spread of H. sapiens as unique human species living on Earth, 30,000 YBP; or (c) birth of writing, c. 6000 YBP. Then, define "recent" as within the total period, eg. 30,000 YBP-present day, and "very recent" or "last phase of recent extinction" for post AD 1500. Any survey starting before AD 1500 requires wider criteria and must account for upper Pleistocene faunas.
Molluscs Advisory Panel
Comment 1: generally OK although in N. America, Australia, and many other parts of the world, the advent of "modern colonizers" a few hundred years ago created a separate wave of extinction from that of the earlier human inhabitants. It seems that, in most areas of the world, there are two separate major effects that would be worth recording and they will be location dependent, and the first of these human impacts were much earlier than AD 1500. In Australia, for example, one would not look at anything older than about 250 years ago to see the impacts of European colonization whereas the impact of aboriginal colonization started 30-40000 years ago. We should not suggest that pre-European human populations did not cause modification of the environment and extinctions.
Reptiles Advisory Panel
Comment 1: generally agrees but notes that older Melanesian and Polynesian extinctions, and perhaps some others, should also be included. (Several people have commented on the importance of including these older, Pacific extinctions).