Extinction is a key feature of the evolutionary history of life, and assessments of extinction risk are essential for the effective protection of biodiversity. The goal in assembling this special issue of Biology Letters was to highlight problems and questions at the research frontier of extinction biology, with an emphasis on recent developments in the methodology of inferring the patterns and processes of extinction from a background of often noisy and sparse data. In selecting topics, we sought to illustrate how extinction is not simply a self-evident phenomenon, but the subject of a dynamic and quantitatively rigorous field of natural science, with practical applications to conservation.
An invited contribution to the special feature ‘Biology of extinction: inferring events, patterns and processes’.
- Received November 28, 2016.
- Accepted December 8, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.