What are Some Extinct Animal Species?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
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  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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An animal species becomes extinct when no specimens remain alive, although breeding capabilities may have already ceased. Because many animals have a large natural habitat, exact dates of extinction are often difficult to determine. Historically, animal extinction has been caused by many factors including climate change, massive planet events such as meteor impact, prevailing genetic problems and destruction by predators. Most commonly in modern times, extinct animal species have been largely killed off by human influence, with some experts suggesting that human encroachment will cause half of all life forms to become extinct within the next century. In the animal world, the reality of modern animal extinction is already comprehended.

One of the most well-known of the extinct animal species was only discovered a few decades before its disappearance. In 1741, German naturalist Georg Stellar discovered an enormous cousin of the manatee living in the northern Pacific Ocean. The Stellar’s Sea Cow, as the gentle creature was called, reached up to 25.9 ft (7.9 m) in length and could weigh up to 6,000 lbs (2,721 kg.) Stellar carefully studied the animal and gave us all the information that exists about them today. Due to hunting, the largest of the sirenian order became extinct within 30 years.


One of the major causes of extinct animal species in Australia is the human importation of non-native predator species, such as foxes and house cats. Small mammals, particularly marsupials and birds, are unused to these aggressive predators and have little to no defensive ability against them. Nearly 30 Australian marsupial and rodent species have become extinct since the 18th century, including the pig-footed bandicoot, lesser bilby, eastern hare-wallaby, and big-eared hopping mouse. Imported species are believed to be a primary cause of most of these extinctions.

Modern extinctions are often caused by loss of habitat, due to agricultural, industrial or urban growth. The Bali and Javan subspecies of tiger both had relatively small populations to begin with, given the limited range of their island homes. As human population swelled in Indonesia throughout the 20th century, the habitat area of both tigers was severely depleted. In 1937, the Bali tiger was declared extinct. Some attempts to preserve the Javan tiger were made, but the last known survivor of the species died in 1980s.

Human-caused pollution is also considered a major cause of extinct animal species. In 2006, the Chinese river dolphin, also called the baiji, was declared to be in all probability extinct, after an exhaustive survey by Chinese biologists. The baiji, a freshwater dolphin that lived exclusively in the Yangtze river, is believed to have been unable to adapt to commercial use of the river and rising pollution levels.

In North America, recent estimates show 37 extinct animal species throughout the continent, all of them within the last 500 years. The Eastern population of North American cougar is believed to have been hunted to extinction in the early 20th century. Several species of gopher, including the Goff’s pocket gopher and Tacoma pocket gopher are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as extinct animal species due to habitat loss and hunting as pests by farmers and ranchers. The east coast and North Atlantic Ocean sea mink and Falkland fox were hunted to extinction for their pelts in the 19th century.

The list of extinct animal species compiled by IUCN is added to every year, and is maintained by the organization alongside lists of critically endangered or threatened species. If you wish to aid conservation efforts, many organizations exist devoted to research and maintenance of threatened animal populations. The use of biodegradable and environmentally-friendly consumer products can also help promote responsible use of resources by humans by lowering pollution rates and encouraging sustainable practices worldwide.


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Post 6

I need your personal opinions on these questions, even if they are big please spare some time and give your complete answers.

Since tiger habitats are being cut down for timber and agriculture many tigers are killed by poachers for their skin and other goods which the humans fancy.

How important is it to attend to your needs and show off, at the cost of an animal’s life?

Why do you think the articles made of animal (tiger) skin are thought to be so worthy and “royal”? Should they be regarded with such high importance?

If yes, Why?

If no, Why?

Do you think humans have the right to kill whichever animal they wish to because we are more powerful?

If yes, Why?

If no, Why?

Has humanity lost its senses and ignores the fact that over 97 percent of the wild tiger population has been depleted in the past century because of humans' careless actions?

If yes, Why?

If no, Why?

Post 5

Don't forget that we are just another animal. There is nothing new about extinction. If species disappear because of us, it's not evil - it's nature taking it's natural course. The concept of good & evil is a human invention.

Maybe trying to stop extinctions is interfering. If you love mother earth & believe we should stop intentionally interfering with it then maybe we should just be one of her creatures, do as we do & stop trying to control everything.

Becoming sentient was just an evolutionary adaptation. It doesn't automatically come with blame does it? Should my cat feel guilty that it evolved claws & it's instincts compel it to tear up my leather chair? Oh right it's not sentient - cool

it's off the hook. Only humans need to feel guilty for being what we are & doing what we do.

Guess what! No matter what we do the universe will go on. If global warming goes on unchecked it will trigger another ice age & everything will reset. Problem solved.

There are parallel universes. They exist within each of us. They are called perspectives. No two people perceive reality the same way. With each death a universe disappears. With each birth a new big bang.

Post 4

i think that it was so sad that the african hippo toad became extinct. it was such a beautiful specimen.

Post 3

I'd just like to add that many people focus solely on endangered mammals when many other species are at risk too.

I mean, sure, the mammals are cuter and make for better commercials, but that doesn't necessarily make them more or less important to an ecosystem.

Far too often endangered fish, insects and invertebrates go unnoticed, and this needs to change. I certainly hope that more of an effort is made to highlight all of the endangered species, not just the cute ones.

Post 2

Did you know it's been estimated that more than 97% of the species that ever lived have gone extinct?

That's pretty crazy when you think that we're one of only 3% that survived.

So read up on your endangered animal facts, and let's try to up our percentages -- support conservation of endangered species!

Post 1

I always think it's so sad to see how the extinct animals list grows every year. The extinction of animals is a serious, world-changing affair, and it's a shame that people don't seem to care about animals in danger as much as they do about humans being in danger.

C'mon people, show a little love for your fellow species and help protect endangered animals.

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