All kinds of reports are coming out these days about “loss of biodiversity” and how we’re going to lose X number of species by Y year. The underreported story though is how limited these species are in area. With what they’re calling species these days, we’ve almost certainly underestimated how many species have been lost in the past. Things like a rare species of cactus that only grows on a short stretch on one side of a road in colorado. (They made a big fuss about that when they wanted to expand that road to 4 lanes.) and a flower that only grows on a single hillside in california (whose entire population save about 3 flowers was crushed by a road construction crew.) How many times in history have these microspecies evolved then died off without us even knowing about them? It’s likely happened almost as often as species go extinct now. It’s just that now we have so many bored biologists that they can go out and decide that more things are separate species. They’re usually just slight variations on other more robust species and are just slightly changed so that they’re tied to one fragile environment.