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.
7 Extinct Giant Versions of Modern Animals The animal kingdom is loaded with some pretty formidable creatures, a few of which we as humans are only barely able to keep in line even with modern technology. As it turns out, many of these species are the diminutive descendents of giants so mind bogglingly huge and terrifying that they could probably take over the entire world with minimal effort. Meganeura, The Giant Dragonfly Meganeura were enormous dragonfly-like insects with wingspans the length of an average toddler, making them among the largest flying predatory insects in the history of the world. Some scientists think that Meganeura were actually too big to be able to survive in the current atmosphere, citing the higher oxygen concentration in the prehistoric world as the only way an insect its size would be able to breathe in enough to support its massive body. Why it's a Good Thing They're Dead: That. Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, The Giant Sea Scorpion Particularly if you picture it swimming up and pinching your scrotum. Exhibit A.
Bacteria engineered to turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel Global climate change has prompted efforts to drastically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels. In a new approach, researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have genetically modified a cyanobacterium to consume carbon dioxide and produce the liquid fuel isobutanol, which holds great potential as a gasoline alternative. The reaction is powered directly by energy from sunlight, through photosynthesis. The research appears in the Dec. 9 print edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology and is available online. This new method has two advantages for the long-term, global-scale goal of achieving a cleaner and greener energy economy, the researchers say. While other alternatives to gasoline include deriving biofuels from plants or from algae, both of these processes require several intermediate steps before refinement into usable fuels. The research was supported in part by a grant from the U.S.
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
10 Most Amazing Extinct Animals From the Quagga --half zebra, half horse-- to the Irish Deer --the largest deer that ever lived--, an impressive list with pictures of amazing animals we will never see. Tyrannosaurus Rex (extinct 65 million years ago) [Wiki] Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time, measuring up to 43.3 feet long, and 16.6 ft tall, with an estimated mass that goes up to 7 tons. Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Fossils of T. rex have been found in North American rock formations dating to the last three million years of the Cretaceous Period at the end of the Maastrichtian stage, approximately 68.5 to 65.5 million years ago; it was among the last dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. Quagga: half zebra, half horse (extinct since 1883) [Wiki] The quagga was originally classified as an individual species, Equus quagga, in 1788. More Info:
Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – now for humans | Science Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies. The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process. An anti-ageing therapy could have a dramatic impact on public health by reducing the burden of age-related health problems, such as dementia, stroke and heart disease, and prolonging the quality of life for an increasingly aged population. "What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. "This could lead to strategies that enhance the regenerative potential of organs as individuals age and so increase their quality of life.
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
The Last Great Auk The black and white Great Auk was a beautiful bird of bizarre proportions. Its ribbed beak was huge and unwieldy, its legs were too short and its stubby wings were far too small to carry its big body into the air. In these regards, the Great Auk’s clumsy appearance rivals that of the Dodo. And that’s not the only thing these two birds have in common. The Icelandic fishermen Sigurðr Islefsson, Jón Brandsson and Ketil Ketilsson saw the last living Great Auks, in June 1844. Almost tangible, but not quite. Life If Great Auks looked out of place on land, this is because they belonged in the water, where they caught fish and crustaceans. The flippers of Penguins have a similar shape as the wings of the Great Auk. Great Auks could be found throughout the subarctic Atlantic ocean. Great Auks lived in large breeding colonies. Not much is known about the way the Great Auk raised their chicks. Extinction There is evidence that Great Auks were already hunted in prehistoric times. A Great Auk egg.
Senecavirus Structure Revealed (Oh, And It Still Kills Cancer Cells 10,000 Times Better Than Traditional Chemotherapeutics) The Senecavirus is a "new" virus, discovered several years ago by Neotropix Inc., a biotech company in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It was at first thought to be a laboratory contaminant, but researchers found it was a pathogen, now believed to originate from cows or pigs. Further investigation found that the virus was harmless to normal human cells, but could infect certain solid tumors, such as small cell lung cancer, the most common form of lung cancer. Scientists at Neotrophix say that, in laboratory and animal studies, the virus demonstrates cancer-killing specificity that is 10,000 times higher than that seen in traditional chemotherapeutics, with no overt toxicity. The company has developed the "oncolytic" virus as an anti-cancer agent and is already conducting early phase clinical trials in patients with lung cancer. But the researchers still did not know how the virus worked, so they turned to Reddy. Senecavirus.
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)
Giant Whale-Eating Whale Found - Unlike modern sperm whales, this one had teeth in both jaws and might have eaten like killer whales. - The 10-foot sperm whale skull fossil is the largest ever found. - Its main food might have been baleen whales. The massive skull and jaw of a 13-million-year-old sperm whale has been discovered eroding from the windblown sands of a coastal desert of Peru. The extinct cousin of the modern sperm whale is the first fossil to rival modern sperm whales in size -- although this is a very different beast, say whale evolution experts. "We could see it from very far," said paleontologist Olivier Lambert of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, who led the team which found the fossil. PHOTOS: Mammals of the Sea The giant 3-meter (10-foot) skull of what's been dubbed Leviathan melvillei (in honor of the author of "Moby Dick") was found with teeth in its top and bottom jaws up to 36 centimeters (14 inches) long. VIDEO: Why is Whale Vomit So Valuable?
Scientists capture antimatter atoms in particle breakthrough Antihydrogen atoms were trapped in a magnetic fieldMatter and antimatter annihilate each other on contact"It's taken us five years to get here," says Professor Jeffrey HangstCERN's next ambition is to create a beam of antimatter (CNN) -- Scientists have captured antimatter atoms for the first time, a breakthrough that could eventually help us to understand the nature and origins of the universe. Researchers at CERN, the Geneva-based particle physics laboratory, have managed to confine single antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap. This will allow them to conduct a more detailed study of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter. Understanding antimatter is one of the biggest challenges facing science -- most theoretical physicists and cosmologists believe that at the Big Bang, when the universe was created, matter and antimatter were produced in equal amounts. However, as our world is made up of matter, antimatter seems to have disappeared.
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.