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Latest Extinction Stories

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2011-03-04 16:15:00

Paleobiologists at the University of California at Berkeley are studying the state of biodiversity today, using the world's mammal species as a barometer. Mammal extinctions were very rare: on average, just two species died out every million years, until humans' largest expansion yet, some 500 years ago.In the last five centuries however, at least 80 out of 5,570 mammal species have disappeared, thinning out the biodiversity of the planet. "It looks like modern extinction rates resemble mass...

2011-03-03 23:19:05

Fossil records verify a long-standing theory that horses evolved through natural selection, according to groundbreaking research by two anatomy professors at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM) of New York Institute of Technology. Working with colleagues from Massachusetts and Spain, Matthew Mihlbachler, Ph.D., and Nikos Solounias, Ph.D. arrived at the conclusion after examining the teeth of 6,500 fossil horses representing 222 different populations of more than 70 extinct horse...

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2011-03-03 09:15:00

Steep decline of many animal species warns that Earth is on the brink With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that have occurred just five times during the past 540 million years. Each of these "Big Five" saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct. In results of a study published in this week's issue of journal Nature, researchers report on an assessment of where mammals...

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2011-02-28 14:48:17

Scientists report that the effective population of the critically endangered Amur tiger is less than 14 animals. About 500 Amur tigers have survived in the wild, but the effective population is a measure of the genetic diversity of the world's largest cat, according to BBC's Victoria Gill. Low diversity means they are more vulnerable to disease or rare genetic disorders. These results paint a grim picture for the tiger's chance of survival. The findings are reported in the journal...

2011-02-23 12:55:03

Wildlife conservation strategies may better protect mammals from human activities by treating animals' ranges as multiple interacting small populations, a study finds. Charles Yackulic and colleagues analyzed historical range maps for 47 mammal species to find patterns that might help conservationists assess threats to animal populations from human encroachment. According to the authors, an animal's habitable range contains different ecological niches that can provide valuable clues about the...

2011-01-28 00:05:50

University of Alberta researchers determined that a fossilized dinosaur bone found in New Mexico confounds the long established paradigm that the age of dinosaurs ended between 65.5 and 66 million years ago. The U of A team, led by Larry Heaman from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, determined the femur bone of a hadrosaur as being only 64.8 million years old. That means this particular plant eater was alive about 700,000 years after the mass extinction event many...

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2011-01-26 11:21:31

Research could rescue fragile ecosystems and halt complex cascade events In an effort to better understand the dynamics of complex networks, scientists have developed a mathematical model to describe interactions within ecological food webs. This research, performed by Northwestern University physics professor Adilson Motter and his student, Sagar Sahasrabudhe, is published in the January 25 issue of Nature Communications. The work illustrates how human intervention may effectively aid...

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2011-01-17 09:45:00

The extinct woolly mammoth could be brought back to life once again, if scientists at Japan's Kyoto University are successful in their attempts to clone the massive mammal using a tissue sample recovered from a mammoth carcass last summer. Akira Iritani, the head of the project and a professor emeritus at the university, told the daily Yomiuri Shimbun that "preparations"¦ have been made" to use cloning technology to produce a new mammoth from a tissue sample that had been preserved...

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2011-01-10 13:22:20

Geologists at Brown University and the University of Washington have a cautionary tale: Lose enough species in the oceans, and the entire ecosystem could collapse. Looking at two of the greatest mass extinctions in Earth's history, the scientists attribute the ecosystems' collapse to a loss in the variety of species sharing the same space. It took up to 10 million years after the mass extinctions for the ecosystem to stabilize. The findings appear in Geology. The world's oceans are under...

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2010-12-30 09:10:00

Collapse of Earth's marine life 378 to 375 million years ago holds key An influx of invasive species can stop the dominant natural process of new species formation and trigger mass extinction events, according to research results published Dec. 29 in the journal PLoS ONE. The study of the collapse of Earth's marine life 378 to 375 million years ago suggests that the planet's current ecosystems, which are struggling with biodiversity loss, could meet a similar fate. Although Earth has...


Latest Extinction Reference Libraries

Waitoreke
2014-02-05 16:37:44

The Waitoreke is a cryptid from New Zealand described as being otter-like. Its name derived from “Wai” is a Maori word for water. The rest of the word has different translations, but the common one is “toreke,” which means to disappear. Together the name could translate into “disappears into water” or another translation is a “disappearing water specter.” The usual description is a small otter-like creature about the size of a cat. It has brownish short fur and short...

Red Rail, Aphanapteryx bonasia
2013-10-02 13:35:50

The Red Rail (Aphanapteryx bonasia) is an extinct and flightless rail. It was native to the Mascarene island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar within the Indian Ocean. It had a close relative on Rodrigues Island, the likewise extinct Rodrigues Rail, with which it’s sometimes considered congeneric. Its relationship with other rail isn’t clear. Rails frequently evolve flightlessness when adapting to isolated islands. It was slightly larger than a chicken and had reddish and hair-like...

Panthera leo spelaea
2012-11-16 15:34:04

Commonly known as the Eurasian cave lion or the European cave lion, Panthera leo spelaea is an extinct subspecies of lion. It is thought to have lived during the Pleistocene epoch, and may have lived in the Balkans in southeastern Europe until 2,000 years ago. The range of this cave lion would have included northwestern North America, Asia, and areas of Europe and would have extended from Germany, Spain, and Great Britain to the Yukon Territory. Its range also extended from Turkistan to...

Short-faced Bear, Arctodus simus
2012-04-27 19:45:45

The short-faced bear is an extinct genus of bears that was native to North America during the Pleistoscene era. Other common names include Arctodus and the bulldog bear. There are two subspecies of the short-faced bear, and one of them, Aroctodus simus, is thought to have been the largest terrestrial mammal on earth. Placed into a group of bears known as running bears or the tremarctine bears, this genus was found in Europe and the Americas. The earliest member of the tremarchtine group,...

American Lion, Panthera leo atrox or P. atrox
2012-04-26 06:05:05

The American lion (Panthera leo atrox or P. atrox) is also known as the North American lion, American cave lion, or Naegele’s giant jaguar. It is an extinct species that was native to North America and the northwestern parts of South America during the Pleistocene era. It lived up to eleven thousand years ago. During the last interglacial period in North America (the Sangamonian Stage), the American lion’s range included the Americas south of Alaska. The earliest fossils of these big cats...

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Word of the Day
omphalos
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.
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