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The fauna is quite large. But evaluating all its diversity, one should not forget how many species have become extinct in the course of evolution. However, already in modern times, many animals have disappeared from the face of the planet not for natural reasons, but in the course of the activity of the most dangerous creature - man. Remembering the most amazing animals, do not limit yourself to ancient times and dinosaurs.
Many animals became extinct quite recently, leaving us not only their remains, but also photographs, eyewitness memories. There are sad statistics that say that 99.9% of all species that existed on Earth are extinct.
In his book Encyclopedia of Extinct Species in Human History, writer Ross Piper counted as many as 65 creatures. We will tell below about the most amazing extinct animals and birds.
Tyrannosaurus Rex, extinct 65 million years ago. This animal was the largest carnivore of all those who have ever lived on the planet. It was 43 feet long and 16 feet high. Scientists have calculated that a tyrannosaurus could weigh up to 7 tons. Like its other close relatives, this predator was bipedal, it had a massive skull, and behind it was balanced by a long and heavy tail. The hind legs were large and strong, but the front ones were much smaller and practically did not perform any important functions. These fossil animals have been found in rock formations in North America. Scientists have found that they became extinct 68.5-65 million years ago and were the last dinosaurs to disappear before the Cretaceous. More than 30 animal samples were identified, some of them even preserved their skeleton almost completely. Researchers have even found soft tissue remains. Such an abundance of fossil material made it possible to conduct a large-scale study of this animal, including the history of its existence and biomechanics.
Quagga, became extinct in 1883. This amazing animal was half horse and half zebra. The quagga is one of the most famous extinct creatures in Africa. This subspecies of lowland zebra has been found in large numbers in the Cape Province of South Africa and in the southern part of the Orange Free State. This animal differed from other zebras in that it had characteristic bright marks on the front of the body. In the middle part of the body, the stripes became darker, wider and merged. The back part was completely uniform brown. The body length of this equid was 180 centimeters. The name of this species comes from the name of the zebra KhoiKhoi, being an onomatopoeia of this word. Scientists initially classified the quagga as a separate species of Equus Quagga. It happened in 1788. Over the next half century, researchers and naturalists have described many other zebras. Due to the wide variation in the color of creatures (two identical zebras simply do not exist), a large number of described "species" appeared. At the same time, it turned out to be difficult to determine which of them were real, and which were just natural options. While all this confusion was being sorted out, the quaggas were exterminated for meat and skins. The last wild quagga was killed in 1878, 5 years later, the last representative of this subspecies died in the Amsterdam zoo. Due to a lot of confusion between the various subspecies of zebras, especially among the public, quaggas became extinct before it became clear that they were a separate species. But the animal became the first among the extinct, whose DNA was studied. In 1987, a project was born to restore this biological species. The first 9 individuals were bred by selection, which were placed in a special camp in Namibia. In 2005, a representative of the third generation of quagga was born, some believe that he is very similar to a typical representative. In the meantime, the project is only developing, but there is hope to revive this disappeared animal.
Tasmanian tiger, extinct in 1936. This animal was the largest known marsupial carnivore. It lived in Australia and New Guinea and became extinct in the last century. Due to its striped back, it was called the Tasmanian tiger, although there are other nicknames - the Tasmanian tiger, tiger, marsupial wolf. It was the last surviving member of a kind of marsupial wolf. But in the stone annals were found similar species that existed in the early Miocene. The length of the marsupial ox reached 1-1.3 meters, in height - 0.6 meters, and weighed 20-25 kilograms. Outwardly, the animal looked like a dog. It is noteworthy that its elongated mouth could open as much as 120 degrees. In Australia, the marsupial wolf became extinct thousands of years before the appearance of Europeans here, but it survived in Tasmania along with other endemic species, such as the Tasmanian devil. When people discovered Tasmania in 1642, they found the footprints of a wild animal with claws like a tiger. But the first detailed scientific description of it was made in 1808. In the 1830s, the mass extermination of the Tasmanian tiger began - it was considered a sheep hunter. There were real legends about the predation and ferocity of the marsupial wolf. At the beginning of the 20th century, an epidemic of canine plague also took place on the island, which practically destroyed these already rare animals. But this did not stop the person, the law still did not protect the rare species. As a result, the last wild wolf was killed in 1930, and in 1936 the last representative of the Tasmanian tigers died of old age in the zoo. Today, a reward of $ 1.1 million has been established for anyone who catches a live marsupial wolf. Now Australian scientists are trying to clone this unique animal.
Steller's cow, became extinct in 1768. This marine mammal from the squad of sirens was discovered in 1741. It was discovered by Georg Steller, a scientist who was part of Bering's expedition. The length of the sea cow reached 10 meters, and it weighed up to 4 tons. The animal was much larger in size than a seal or manatee. The cow was sedentary, living in shallow bays and feeding on algae. The animal had a vague shape, its tail was bifurcated, like that of a whale, there were two thick forelimbs. Steller described that the species found had a thick and black skin, like the bark of an old oak, with a small head in relation to the body. The cow did not have any teeth at all, but only two flat bone plates were present, located one above the other. Researchers found a large number of these animals on Bering Island, while they were not afraid of people at all. This killed them. After all, the smell and taste of their fat was quite pleasant, the meat was also tasty and could be stored for a long time. Even milk was edible, reminiscent of sheep. Predatory hunting completely exterminated this species by 1768. Fossils later reported that Steller's sea cow had previously lived along the northern Pacific coast, reaching south to Japan and California. Given how quickly the animals were exterminated in this area, it is most likely that it was the arrival of people that caused their extinction in other places. In the last couple of centuries, there have been sporadic reports of the sighting of a sea cow in areas from the Bering regions to Greenland. Scientists cherish the hope that a small population of animals still survived to this day. In the meantime, there is an option with cloning an animal in the future, because a piece of her skin, carrying genetic material, remained in alcohol.
Irish deer, died out about 7,700 years ago. This deer was the largest that ever lived. It is also called the Irish elk, and lived throughout Eurasia, from Ireland and in the east to Lake Baikal. The deer lived in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Based on carbon analysis, the last animal was found to have died about 7,700 years ago. Such a deer looked like a doe, but was distinguished by its enormous size. It was about two meters high, and the giant horns were up to 4 meters wide. At the same time, they weighed about 35 kilograms, at the top they expanded like a shovel, and had sharp ends. The structure of the teeth and limbs indicates that this animal lived in meadows - there was simply nothing to do with such an ornament on its head in the forest. It is the horns of the animal that are of interest, and not its gigantic dimensions. Scientists believe that the reasons for the extinction are most likely natural - the forest began to advance into open spaces, taking away habitats. In those days, in general, many other large animals disappeared from the face of the planet. You should not discount the person, as his hunting could also undermine the population of the handsome horned man. However, the theory about the impact of hunting is rather dubious. After all, the species was widespread throughout the continent. Most likely, he evolved together with people throughout his existence, adapting even to their presence.
Caspian tiger, disappeared in 1970. It is the third largest tiger of its kind. The Caspian tiger is also called Turanian or Persian. This subspecies lived in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia. This subspecies had a bright red coat, and the stripes were longer than usual, with a brownish tint. The body was rather stocky, the elongated legs were strong, and the legs were wide. The Caspian tiger also had unusually large claws. The largest individual weighed 240 kilograms, this subspecies is second only to Bengal and Amur in size. But the females weighed 85-135 kilograms. The tiger's ears were short and small, with no hair at their tips. In Asia, people have traditionally put up with the existence of these neighbors. Russian settlers inflicted great harm on the population. The tigers began to be purposefully destroyed. But this influence was only indirect. The tigers became extinct due to the fact that the domestication of floodplain lands in the channels deprived the animals of their food base. After all, before, wild boars and roe deer freely lived in tugai.
Wild Tour, disappeared since 1627. This animal is one of the most famous extinct in Europe already under man. These are very large primitive bulls, the progenitors of modern cows. Bison developed in India about two million years ago, and then migrated to the Middle East and Asia. The animal came to Europe about 250 thousand years ago. But by the 13th century, the aurochs' range was limited to Poland, Lithuania, Moldavia, Transylvania, and East Prussia. The powerful beast had a height at the withers of up to 180 centimeters, and it weighed up to 800 kilograms. The head was set high, and it was crowned with sharp horns. The males were black with a narrow light stripe along their backs. Females and juveniles were reddish in color. The main habitat of the turs is the steppes and forest-steppe, but the last days the species lived out already in the forests. The right to hunt them was only among the nobility, and later in general only among the royal family. The number of rounds began to fall sharply, the hunt was stopped. The royal court demanded that the gamekeepers provide the animals with grazing fields, for which a tax cut was supposed. There were even decrees that punished death for the killing of this large animal. In 1564, the gamekeepers knew only about 38 individuals, which was reported in the royal report. The last sighting of a live bison was in 1627, when a Polish woman saw it in the forest. His skull later ended up in the Swedish army and is currently the property of one of the museums in Stockholm. In 1920, two German zoologists tried to revive this species from livestock. After all, cows and bulls are descendants of the tours. The plan was based on the assumption that the species cannot become extinct while all the genes are still present in at least one of the offspring. You just need to put together all the genes. As a result, after painstaking work, a "restored tour" was obtained, which outwardly hardly differs from its progenitor. However, this is just a form of livestock.
The wingless auk, became extinct in 1844. This bird was the only one of the genus Pinguinus that has survived to our time, but has recently become extinct. The height of the bird was about 70 centimeters, and the weight was about 5 kilograms. The wings were rather poorly developed, this auk barely walked on land, could not fly, but it swam perfectly. They had white and black shiny feathers, the black key was heavy and had grooves. Flightless flightless birds have long been a favorite hunting object for coastal residents of Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway and even Great Britain. It was not difficult to kill this defenseless bird on land. In the 16th century in Iceland, the inhabitants of whole boats fished for auks' eggs, and in 1844 the last two representatives of the species were killed. It is the first American and European bird to be completely exterminated by humans. Found bird remains in Florida suggest that birds also climbed far to the south. It is curious that the Neanderthals began to hunt for large auk more than 100 thousand years ago. This is evidenced by the processed bones found on their fireplaces. Today, there are about 75 bird eggs, 24 complete skeletons and 81 stuffed animals in the collections.
Cave lion, died out about 2000 years ago. This lion was the largest that ever existed. It was also called European or Eurasian. For the first time, lions appeared on the continent 700 thousand years ago. The cave subspecies appeared about 300 thousand years ago. He lived in northern Eurasia, penetrating deep to the north. The adult, found in 1985 in Germany, was about 1.2 meters high and 2.1 meters long, excluding the tail. This roughly corresponds to a large modern lion, but other individuals of this subspecies were even larger. It is believed that the cave lion was 5-15% larger than modern ones. The appearance of the animals made it possible to clarify their rock paintings from the Stone Age. They, unlike their congeners from Africa or India, were almost always depicted without wool. The coloring was one color, with a traditional brush on the tail. Lions lived in Europe during warm times and in the glacier floor. They hunted large ungulates of that time. Despite their name, these cats appeared infrequently in caves, simply using them as hiding places. This concerned mainly sick and old individuals. The cave lion died out most likely 10 thousand years ago during the last Wurm glacier, but there is some evidence that this animal could have existed in the Balkans 2 thousand years ago.
Dodo disappeared at the end of the 17th century. This family of flightless birds lived on the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean. They were relatives of pigeons, but stood at a height of about a meter. An adult bird weighed up to 25 kilograms. The paws were similar to those of a turkey, and the beak was massive. This family includes 3 species - the Mauritian dodo, or dodo, the Bourbon dodo and the hermit dodo. The birds lived in the forests, kept in pairs. They ate fruit, laying one white egg right on the ground. Once upon a time, dodos were able to swim, run and fly. But in the course of evolution, the wings lost their function, because there were simply no natural enemies on the islands. But then a man appeared. First, the Portuguese, and then the Dutch, methodically destroyed the bird. Ship supplies were replenished with its meat.Over time, rats, dogs and cats were brought to the islands, which ate the eggs of a helpless bird. And the hunt for her was simple - people just approached her and beat her on the head. That is why the Portuguese nicknamed the dodo "dodo", which in common people means "stupid". Dodos and dodos in particular are widely used as the archetype of extinct species because their extinction is directly related to human activities. There was even the phrase "dead as a dodo." It means both final and certain death. The phrase "follow the path of dodo" means imminent extinction or obsolescence, falling out of the general stream or becoming a thing of the past. Today only skeletons and a symbol on the coat of arms of Mauritius have remained from the unique bird.