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Flickr: The King

Dozens of mammals on Earth have lost a third of their geographic range since the start of the Industrial Revolution, while thousands of species have seen their populations and ranges decline as well, according to a new study.

The takeaway: Even some common species, despite relatively large numbers, are at risk as their habitats shrink. Those local declines in the population can signal eventual extinction long before an animal is considered endangered — and it may be too late.

"The Earth is not only experiencing accelerated human-driven species extinctions, but also population declines," the researchers wrote.

Why it matters: The research is the first of its kind to comprehensively look at how changes in the environment have begun to sharply limit the range of thousands of species. Past studies have focused on species extinction as a measure of human-driven changes in the environment, but those changes also have an impact on the ranges of species that has been understudied.

The big debate: whether we are beginning a sixth mass extinction on Earth. The study's researchers warn we are but others disagree.

The researchers mapped the ranges of 27,600 birds, amphibians, mammals and reptiles — half of all known vertebrate species on Earth —on a 6,000-mile scale and analyzed the geographic ranges of 177 mammals between the years 1900 and 2015.

What they found: The mammals studied have lost 30% of their range in the past century. A significant number of mammals (more than 40%) lost 80% of their range. The tropics had the greatest number of declining species.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.