The Rate of Extinction: 3 Species per Hour About 6 waves of massive extinction are known in the history of the Earth. The last one wiped out the dinosaur world 65 million years ago and was probably due to a meteorite collision. But the recent one has no natural causes. It is man made and rampant, eliminating three animal or plant species every hour. Scientists and environmentalists issued reports about threats to creatures and plants including right whales, Iberian lynxes, wild potatoes and even wild peanuts. Experts gathered on May 22, at the International Day for Biological Diversity, a report on the threatened species from whales and Iberian lynxes to wild potatoes and wild peanuts. The threats to the wildlife diversity vary from habitat loss due to land clearance for farms or cities, poaching, pollution and rising human populations to global warming. determination at all levels - global, national and local," he said. UE's goal is to stop biodiversity loss by 2010, not just to slow down the process.
Tasmanian tiger DNA 'lives' again Seventy years after the ferocious Tasmanian tiger went extinct, its marsupial DNA has been resurrected inside mice. This is the first time that genetic material from an extinct animal has functioned inside a living host. The technique has huge potential, say the researchers. Andrew Pask at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues extracted DNA from four 100-year-old Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, samples. The DNA was badly fragmented, but the team managed to isolate one specific DNA sequence from each of the animals. Bigger questions The team then copied the DNA snippet, coupled it with a gene that produces a blue pigment, and injected it into very early mouse embryos. "We could see it very clearly in the developing cartilage," says Pask. Other researchers have resurrected extinct DNA inside cell lines in the lab. This work isn't a step towards cloning the entire thylacine, Pask stresses. Mammoth revival Journal reference: PloS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002240)
11 Extinct Animals That Have Been Photographed Alive Animals Published on April 2nd, 2009 | by Bryan Nelson The current rate of extinction is 100 to 1000 times higher than the average, or background rate, making our current period the 6th major mass extinction in the planet’s history. Although fossil reconstructions or pictorial representations can sometimes be difficult to connect with, it’s impossible to ignore the experience of seeing a photograph of an animal on the brink of extinction. Thus, what follows is a list of 11 extinct animals that were photographed while still alive. Tasmanian Tiger The last Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, known to have existed died in the Hobart Zoo, in Tasmania, Australia, on September 7th, 1936. Although commonly referred to as ‘tigers’, and despite having the look of a canid, the Thylacine isn’t remotely related to cats or dogs. >> Also see our latest post: 10 Animals on the Brink of Extinction Quagga Passenger Pigeon Colonial hunters happened. Golden Toad About the Author
How to Resurrect Lost Species Will we ever see a woolly mammoth again? What about the striped Tasmanian tiger, once-prolific passenger pigeon, or the imposing wild cattle called aurochs? Our species has played a role in the extinction of these and many other species. But now some scientists are proposing a radical turn of the tables: Bringing lost species back from the dead. Video: Recipe for Resurrection Three main methods for "de-extinction" have been proposed. And while mammoths tend to hog the spotlight when such proposals are discussed, researchers are also considering resurrecting other species that might not be as famous, but are equally charismatic. The thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger, is one such lost species. But as paleontologist Michael Archer has realized, the relatively recent extinction of thylacines means that museum specimens can still yield viable genetic material. Obtaining those genetic sequences was just the first step, though. Video: Should We Resurrect Extinct Species?
Rare Photographs of Extinct Animals Last Thylacine yawning: Note the unusual extent to which it was able to open its jaws From panthers and pandas to rhinos and tigers, dwindling animal numbers speak of the need to step up conservation efforts – if it’s not already too late. As a kind of wake-up call, we decided to take a look at seven extinct species captured on camera. With modern photography having only been invented in the 1820s, these snapshots are visible testament to just how recently the creatures shown were wiped out – and a jarring reminder of the precarious situation for many species still left on the planet. Karl Fabricius Scribol Staff
Resurrecting the Extinct Frog with a Stomach for a Womb Two years ago, Mike Archer from the University of New South Wales looked down a microscope and saw that a single fertilised frog egg had divided in two. Then, it did it again. And again. Eventually, the egg produced an embryo containing hundreds of cells. “There were a lot of hi-fives going around the laboratory,” says Archer. This might seem like an over-reaction. The fact that it started to grow into an embryo was a big deal. Archer’s goal is simple: To bring the extinct gastric brooding frog back from oblivion and, in doing so, provide hope for the hundreds of other frogs that are heading that way. Frozen southern gastric brooding frog. Stomach for a womb The southern gastric brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus) was discovered in 1972 in the mountains of Queensland, Australia. Simply put, the mother frog converts her stomachs into a womb. When news broke about this weird strategy, other scientists were incredulous. They didn’t have long. Then, good news! Cloning Lazarus Is it worth it?
Clouded leopard declared extinct in Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) A Formosan cloud leopard, now extinct in Taiwan. By Douglas Main, OurAmazingPlanet The Formosan clouded leopard, a clouded-leopard subspecies native to Taiwan, is now extinct, according to a team of zoologists. "There is little chance that the clouded leopard still exists in Taiwan," zoologist Chiang Po-jen told Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA). "There may be a few of them, but we do not think they exist in any significant numbers." Zoologists from Taiwan and the United States have looked for the animal on and off since 2001, to no avail. Now, the only one left in the country is a stuffed specimen at the National Taiwan Museum, zoologist Liu Jian-nan told CNA. The range of clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa) spans from the hills of the Himalayas to Southeast Asia to China.
The Plan to Bring the Iconic Passenger Pigeon Back From Extinction | Wired Science Twelve birds lie belly-up in a wooden drawer at the Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Bloated with stuffing, their ruddy brown chests resemble a row of sweet potatoes. Slate-blue heads and thin white tails protrude in perfect alignment, except for one bird that cranes its neck to face its neighbor. A pea-sized bulge of white cotton sits where its eye should be. A slip of paper tied to its foot reads, “Ectopistes migratorius. Manitoba. 1884.” That may be about to change. About 1,500 passenger pigeons inhabit museum collections. Ben Novak doesn’t believe the story should end there. Novak is not alone in his mission. When the bird from the Berkeley drawer flew over Manitoba in 1884, it didn’t travel alone. But the same flocking behavior also led to the bird’s demise. Even before Europeans arrived, hunters shot nests with arrows or knocked them down with poles. Novak remembers learning about the pigeon in school.
A moment of silence for the Western Black Rhino Officially extinct Another beautiful species that we won't see again. The western black rhino, which is a sub-species of black rhino, was was once widespread in the savanna of sub-Saharan Africa, but no more. Wikimedia/Public Domain The IUCN warns that other rhinos could follow saying Africa's northern white rhino is "teetering on the brink of extinction" while Asia's Javan rhino is "making its last stand" due to continued poaching and lack of conservation." Conservation efforts certainly are not futile! Here are some black rhinos (though obviously not western black rhinos...) filmed by the BBC: Via CNN See also: Aw, cute!
Extinct Species That Could Be Brought Back Photograph by Jonathan S. Blair, National Geographic A museum worker inspects a replica of a woolly mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius) , a species that went extinct 3,000 to 10,000 years ago . National Geographic News asked Hendrik Poinar, a molecular evolutionary geneticist and biological anthropologist at the Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, if we might soon see the gigantic land mammals roaming the steppe again. "People were painting pictures of woolly mammoths in caves in France 35,000 years ago, so we have this amazing history with them," Poinar said. Poinar's team isolates DNA and proteins from fossils and preserved remains, and then uses sophisticated sequencing and analysis tools to answer questions about species extinctions, evolution, and even the spread of infectious diseases. New Gene Tools "We can in theory use that information to modify existing chromosomes with what we imagine to be mammoth substitutions," said Poinar. Raising Big Questions
Extinct frog hops back into the gene pool In what may be considered an early Easter miracle, an extinct species of native frog has begun its rise from the dead. Australian scientists have grown embryos containing the revived DNA of the extinct gastric-brooding frog, the crucial first step in their attempt to bring a species back to life. The team from the aptly named Lazarus project inserted the dead genetic material of the extinct amphibian into the donor eggs of another species of living frog, a process similar to the technique used to create the cloned sheep Dolly. The eggs continued to grow into three-day-old embryos, known as blastulas. Extict since 1983: The bizarre gastric-brooding frog. "This is the first time this technique has been achieved for an extinct species," said one of the project scientists, conservation biologist Michael Mahony. Advertisement Frozen for 40 years In the beginning, the single cell eggs "just sat there", said Professor Archer. The egg donor frog. But the team's success so far did not come easily.
It's Called 'De-Extinction' — It's Like 'Jurassic Park,' Except It's Real : The Picture Show Sorry to disappoint, but science writer Carl Zimmer says we're not going to bring back dinosaurs. But, he says, "science has developed to the point where we can actually talk seriously about possibly bringing back more recently extinct species." It's called "de-extinction" — and it's Zimmer's cover story for National Geographic's April issue. Resurrection Tintypes To capture the mood of this story, National Geographic hired tintype photographer Robb Kendrick. Hide caption The bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, lived high in the Pyrenees until its extinction in 2000. Hide caption Though it looked like a wolf and was called a Tasmanian tiger, the thylacine was actually a marsupial — a relative of kangaroos and koalas. In 2003, he tells Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, scientists took some DNA that had been rescued from the very last bucardo, a type of wild goat that had recently gone extinct. How de-extinction works is complicated, and that's what the National Geographic article is for.
Australian mammals on brink of extinction calamity 10 February 2015Last updated at 07:58 ET By Helen Briggs Environment Correspondent The endangered northern quoll, a mammal species native to Australia Australia has lost one in ten of its native mammals species over the last 200 years in what conservationists describe as an "extinction calamity". No other nation has had such a high rate of loss of land mammals over this time period, according to scientists at Charles Darwin University, Australia. The decline is mainly due to predation by the feral cat and the red fox, which were introduced from Europe, they say. Large scale fires to manage land are also having an impact. As an affluent nation with a small population, Australia's wildlife should be relatively secure from threats such as habitat loss. But a new survey of Australia's native mammals, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests the scale of the problem is more serious than anticipated. Shy species