10 junio, 2024

100 extinct animals around the world and their causes

Extinct animals have disappeared from Earth for reasons ranging from predation by other animals to hunting by humans. Since life originated on Earth around 3.5 billion years ago, many species have gone extinct. In fact, there have been at least 5 major mass extinction events, which are used to define geological eras.

The best known was the extinction that occurred between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary about 65 million years ago. The dinosaurs disappeared in it and one of the factors that caused it was the impact of a large meteor.

However, most of the extinctions that have occurred in the last 10,000 years are primarily caused by human activity. Therefore, we are being the main cause of extinction of species and if we do not reflect on our impact on the planet, we may end up causing our own extinction.

Let’s briefly review this list of one hundred extinct species and remember that extinction is forever. Even if we clone an extinct species, in a strict sense it will no longer be the same species that disappeared, at most it will be a good imitation.

Extinct animals and why they became extinct

Irish Elk or Giant Stag (megaloceros giganteus)

This was the largest deer in history and became extinct 6,000 years ago. Its antlers measured up to 3.5 meters from end to end and had a height of 2.2 meters to the withers. It lived throughout Europe and much of Asia and disappeared due to hunting.

Bubal antelope or bubal hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus buselaphus)

It lived north of the Sahara desert and became extinct due to hunting in 1925. It was uniformly sandy in color and the terminal tail tuft was black, it had U-shaped horns and was just over 1 meter tall.

Cape bluebuck (Hippotragus leucophaeus)

This bovine endemic to Cape Town in South Africa became extinct in the 18th century due to excessive hunting and competition for food with sheep. It had a height of 1.10 m and a weight of 160 kg, only the males had horns and lacked a mane.

Giant armadillo (Boreostemma pliocena)

It was an armadillo 2 meters long and 500 kg in weight that lived in northern South America about 2 to 5 million years ago. It became extinct along with the rest of the megafauna in the area due to climate changes.

Syrian wild ass or hemipo (Equus hemionus hemippus)

It is a subspecies of wild ass that inhabited Asia, from Palestine to Iraq, and was domesticated by the Sumerians in ancient Mesopotamia. It is thought that this was the kind of donkey on which Joseph carried Mary pregnant with Jesus.

elephant bird (Aepyornithidae)

This is a group of extinct flightless giant birds, which were endemic or exclusive to the island of Madagascar. They were the largest birds on record, reaching 3 meters in height and 650 kg in weight. They existed 85 million years ago.

lesser bilby (macrotis leucura)

It was a rabbit-like marsupial and lived in the deserts of Central Australia. It became extinct during the 1950s and 1960s, due to the introduction of foreign predators such as cats and foxes.

bucardo (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica)

This subspecies of goat had longer, denser winter fur than other goats, as well as longer, thicker-based horns. The reason for their disappearance was indiscriminate hunting. The last specimen was a female that died on January 6, 2000, in Spain.

Balearic goat-rat (Myotragus balearicus)

This strange animal was more closely related to sheep than to true goats. It inhabited the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera and Dragonera, until its extinction some 5,000 years ago. The most curious thing about this animal is that its eyes were directed towards the front, unfortunately it disappeared due to intensive hunting.

Imperial woodpecker or cuauhtotomomi (Campephilus imperialis)

This bird was the largest woodpecker in the world, measuring 50-60 cm and a wing of 29-31 cm, with a possible weight of 700 gr. It had a large crest, intense red in males and pointed. It lived in Mexico and the last specimens were seen in Durango between 1956 and 1957 and it disappeared due to the loss of its habitat.

Tunisian sea crocodile (Machimosaurus rex)

Fossils of this animal were found in the Tunisian desert. It reached a length of 10 m and weighed 3,000 kg. It lived 120 million years ago and became extinct due to natural environmental changes.

freshwater crocodile (Purussaurus mirandai)

This is perhaps the largest known freshwater crocodile, reaching over 12 meters in length. It inhabited northern South America 9 million years ago, becoming extinct along with the area’s megafauna due to environmental changes.

Quaga or quagga (Equus quagga quagga)

It is an extinct subspecies of common zebra, but with reddish-brown fur that is not streaked on its back and hindquarters. Although it did have black stripes on the rest of the body, including the mane. The belly and legs were entirely white. It inhabited South Africa and became extinct in 1883 due to hunting for its meat and skin.

Yangtze river dolphin or baiji (Vexillifer Lipotes)

This small river dolphin, about 2 meters long, was exclusive to the Yangtze River in China and was declared extinct in 2008. The cause of its disappearance is associated with overfishing and alterations to its habitat, especially the construction of dams and pollution. .

Deinonychus antirrhopus

This is the dinosaur that served as the model for the velociraptors in the Jurassic Park book and movies. It inhabited North America about 115 million years ago in the mid-Cretaceous period. It was 3.4 meters long, feathered, and possessed an unusually large, sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each hind foot.

Mauritius Dodo (raphus cucullatus)

This calm, flightless bird is perhaps one of the best-known extinct species. It inhabited the Mauritius islands and became extinct due to hunting and collection of its eggs by both humans and pigs introduced to the island. It was 1 meter tall, greyish plumage, with a large beak and weighed about 10 to 17 kg.

Carthaginian elephant or Atlas elephant (Loxodonta africana pharaoensis)

This is the subspecies of African elephant that Hannibal used to attack Rome. It was a smaller animal than the other species and subspecies of elephants, reaching 2.5 meters in height. It became extinct in ancient Roman times, they were captured for the games in the Colosseum.

black emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae minor)

This extinct subspecies of the emu was an endemic bird to King Island located in the Bass Strait (between Australia and Tasmania). It was the smallest of all the emu species, as well as having darker plumage. It became extinct in 1822 due to hunting.

Caribbean monk seal (Neomonachus tropicalis)

This seal was the only species in tropical waters and the only one in the Caribbean Sea, measuring 2.20 to 2.40 meters in length and weighing about 130 kg. It disappeared in 1952 due to hunting for its skin, meat and fat.

Guará or fox-wolf of the Malvinas (Dusicyon australis)

It was also called the Antarctic fox or southern wolf and was a species of carnivorous mammal of the canid family, exclusive to the Malvinas Islands. Its size was intermediate between a wolf and a large fox and it became extinct in 1876 due to hunting.

Madagascar pygmy hippopotamus (Hippopotamus lemerlei)

It lived in the rivers and lakes of western Madagascar until 500 years ago and was a pygmy hippopotamus, reaching 2 meters long and 0.76 meters tall. It became extinct due to overhunting.

King Tyrant Lizard (tyrannosaurus rex)

This is the most famous dinosaur in the world, it reached 11.1 to 12.3 meters in length, with estimated weights of 5.6 to 9.5 tons. It had a large head with a strong jaw, huge teeth, and characteristic short front legs. It became extinct 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous.

black lion or Cape Lion (Panthera leo melanochaitus)

She had a thick black mane reaching down to her belly, weighed 250kg and lived in the savannahs of the Karoo in southwestern South Africa. It became extinct in the mid-1860s due to hunting by English and Dutch settlers.

giant lemur (Megaladapis edwardsi)

The largest of the known lemurs, reaching a height of 1.5 meters and a weight of 140 kg and inhabited the forests of Madagascar. It disappeared in the year 1600 due to hunting and the destruction of its habitat.

Japanese Sea Lion (Zalophus japonicus)

It inhabited the coasts of the Japanese archipelago and in general in the seas of the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Adult males had a pronounced sagittal crest, a dark gray color, and weighed between 450 and 560 kg with a length of 2.30 to 2.50 meters long. It became extinct in 1974 due to indiscriminate hunting.

Marsupial wolf or Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus)

It was a carnivorous marsupial similar to a wolf, but with the hind half of the back and striped tail, originating in the Holocene. It was native to Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, and became extinct in 1936 due to human hunting and dog attacks.

Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius)

This was the woolly mammoth or elephant that inhabited Siberia in the ice age, characterized by its long matted fur and huge curved tusks. It was similar in size to current elephants and became extinct due to human hunting.

American mastodon (mammoth americanum)

Similar to mammoths and current elephants, with the same weight but somewhat smaller in size. Like mammoths, their bodies were covered in hair, but they had longer tusks, up to 5.2 meters in length. It became extinct about 8,000 years ago due to climate changes and hunting.

Megalodon or giant shark (megalodon carcharocles)

It was a giant predator of the oceans that reached 18 meters in length and weighed as 7 adult elephants together. Its open jaw could have held a standing man. It became extinct about 2.6 million years ago, due to the cooling of the oceans at the time of the Ice Age.

giant moa (dinornis spp.)

They were giant birds similar to an ostrich, but they reached 3 meters in height and weighed 250 kg. They lived on the island of New Zealand and their extinction occurred 500 years ago, caused by human hunting.

Atlas Bear (Ursus arctos crowtheri)

This was a black bear on the back and reddish on the extremities, smaller than the rest of the brown bears and flat face. It lived from Morocco to Tunisia, in the Atlas mountain range. It was the only bear that lived in recent times in Africa and became extinct between 1870 and 1890, due to hunting and habitat destruction.

mexican brown bear (ursus arctos nelsoni)

This silver-skinned bear was 1.83 meters long and weighed 318 kg. It inhabited northern and central Mexico, especially in temperate grasslands and montane pine forests. It became extinct in 1964 due to hunting and habitat destruction.

Giant ground sloth (robust urumaquia)

It was a…

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