Extinct Animals from Recent Years to the Saber Tooth Tiger
It is amazing how many animals had once walked this earth that are no longer around. Many of them met their demise due to unwise decisions of the people who God placed to look after them. Pollution, destruction of rainforests, and global warming are a few of the most popular reasons people will cite for the extinction of animals. Unfortunately, the most easily preventable cause has ended several entire species of animals, and that is hunting, trapping, and poaching. Although each species below became extinct through different means, they all found their demise in the past two hundred years.
2009 - Pyrenean Ibex
Extinct since 2009: This is one of the most newly extinct animals in existence, or rather non-existence. Actually, their original extinction date was in 2000 when the last natural Pyrenean Ibex died in captivity on January 6, 2000. She was a female named Celia and killed by a falling tree. In 2000, the scientist decided to bring back this species through cloning. It was momentarily successful for about 7 minutes, which was the length the cloned Pyrenean Ibex lived before it died of breathing problems. Even if they were to have a more successful clone of the Pyrenean Ibex, they only have DNA from a female; therefore, there is not a male for it to breed with.
2006 - Baiji River Dolphin
Functionally Extinct Since 2006: This dolphin was believed to have its numbers eliminated due to entanglement in fishing gear in China, which is where it originally was from. In the past five decades, China has been fishing more and more in the rivers where they once thrived. Although there is a possibility that there are some that remain, after a six-week study in 2006 of where the dolphins originated there were none detected. Although even if there are some that still survive, they have been declared "functionally extinct," which means even if there are some that still exist, there are not enough to allow the species to continue and thrive. The last documented sighting was in 2007, although there have been none documented since then.
1989 - Golden Toad
Extinct Since 1989: Two years before the last sighting of the last golden toad, there was an American biologist who studied the area where they were prevalent. At this time, the scientist counted over 1500 of them in breeding pools. Unfortunately, that spring was unusually warm and dry and most of these breeding pools dried up before the tadpoles had a chance to mature to a full-grown toad. In 1988, there was only one male, and two females sighted at one breeding site. At another, there was seven males and two females. In 1989, the last male toad was seen and no other females. The final survey was done in 1994 when there were no golden toads left, and the species was considered to be extinct.
1936 - Thylacine
Extinct Since 1936: The thylacine was also known as the Tasmanian wolf or Tasmanian tiger. It was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and Australia. Most people believe that the extinction was caused by massive hunting of these animals. Some people claim that the animal is still around today, with possible sightings of this creature. None of these sightings have been confirmed. It is stated that if a creature has not been sighed for over 50 years, then it is declared extinct.
Despite its misleading alternate names, it is not related to either the wolf or tiger. It is a marsupial. Although it is believed to be closely related to the Tasmanian devil. This was one of the few marsupials that both the male and female have a pouch for their young. In 1936, the last known living thylacine, which was named Benjamin and lived in captivity died.
Hopefully, the reports are true, and this animal still exists.
1 September 1914 - Passenger Pigeon
The last known passenger pigeon died on September 1, 1914, at 29 years old. The extinction of this bird was tragic because it happened so suddenly and due to men using the bird for their own interest. When Europeans landed on American soil, it is believed that passenger pigeons made up 40 percent of the total bird population and there were at least three billion alive. By the time the twentieth century, there was barely a passenger pigeon to be found.
They migrated and stayed together in huge groups that would darken the sky as they flew overhead. They were fast too, flying at about 60 miles per hour. One of the major contributing factors to their extinction was the loss of land. Because their groups were so large in number they needed large tree covered areas to land. Unfortunately, as the areas dwindled, so did this bird. Then in the 1800s, hunters began hunting them and selling them in markets for food. Although they had been used for food up until this point, they were not killed as massively. Although a law was passed in Michigan to protect these birds 1897, it was too late. The last passenger pigeon known to have been alive was named Martha and died on September 1, 1914.
1883 - Quagga
Extinct since 1883: This animal which looks like a cross between a zebra and a donkey, originally habituated in dry parts of South Africa in grasslands. It is believed to have become extinct because humans hunted it for its hide and meat. The last known living quagga died in 1883 in captivity. The last one in the wild was believed to have died a decade earlier.
This is actually the first extinct animal to have its DNA tested. They discovered that the quagga is actually more closely related to the zebra then they had earlier thought and possibly the same animal just with different variations. With this knowledge, in 2006, scientists have begun trying to breed back the quagga by careful selecting it parents. They have been able to reproduce after 3 or 4generations of animals to an animal that looks very close to the quagga.
17th Century - Dodo
Extinct Mid to Late 17th Century: The dodo is probably one of the most famous extinct animals with portrayals in such movies as the Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland. It stood about 3 feet and nested on the ground. This was one of the first extinct animals that exist in human recorded history, which is why it is so famous. It is believed that us humans were the result of its demise in the mid to late seventeenth century. Not only was the dodo bird flightless, but it was also not afraid of humans. It's diet mainly consisted of fruit.
There is speculation that the current portrayal of a dodo bird is not accurate, They believe that the birds that the images were produced from were ones that were overfed. Since they lived in captivity, it is believed that their caretakers were feeding them excessively. The birds in the wild most likely were much thinner than the traditional portrayal of these birds.
BC - Saber-Toothed Tiger
Extinct BC: The Saber-Toothed Tiger was actually more closely related to the lion than a tiger. The more appropriate names are the Smilodon and the Saber-Toothed Cat. They were known for the saber-shaped teeth that measured as long as 28 centimeters or 11 inches. They are the longest teeth in the cat family although their bite was weaker than many of the other big cats that are still around today. This may be part of why it became extinct, that and the teeth themselves were rather fragile and could easily become damaged. They became extinct nearly 1.6 million years ago.
More and more animals become extinct or endangered each year. Many of them are due to human activity, either because humans hunt them or move into their habitat. Now we are no the only cause, but we are definitely a culprit in a large number of extinctions and endangerments. So let's take care of our world.
- Campbell, Cameron. "The Thylacine Museum - A Natural History of the Tasmanian Tiger." Go to the NATURAL WORLDS introduction page. Accessed February 26, 2018. http://www.naturalworlds.org/thylacine/.
- Moss, Laura. "10 animals presumed extinct in the last decade." MNN - Mother Nature Network. May 31, 2017. Accessed February 26, 2018. https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/10-animals-presumed-extinct-in-the-last-decade/gone-the-way-of-the-dodo.
- "Saber Tooth Tiger Facts | Behavior, Habitat, Diet, Extinction, Species." Animals Time. February 04, 2018. Accessed February 26, 2018. http://animalstime.com/saber-tooth-tiger-facts-saber-tooth-tiger-habitat-diet/.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz