Questions tagged [extinction]

Extinction refers to the global disappearance of a taxon, caused by the death of the last individual member. Extinction can be used on many different levels and may relate to populations, groups of populations, species or higher taxa (such as families).

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Was the KT asteroid a dinosaur killer or just a large animal killer?

The KT extinction event is well-known as the demise of the dinosaurs. But today we have about 10000 bird, 11000 non-avian reptiles, and 5000 mammal species. That means almost 50% of reptile species ...
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The almost extinct dinosaurs

Dinosaurs split into "lizard-hipped" and "bird-hipped" dinosaurs. Of these two groups, only the "lizard-hipped" (Saurischia) survived (these names are backwards). Of ...
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Why did ALL dinosaurs go extinct?

Why did all dinosaurs, rather than just some of them, go extinct during the K-T extinction event? Birds are an exception, but being able to fly, they are also a very special kind of creature, and ...
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Will Covid-19 wipe out the Humanity that we know of?

As there are multiple variants of Coronavirus and every couple of weeks later there are new, deadly and highly contagious variants of COVID-19 virus emerging from the backdrop, I am just wondering is ...
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Mammalian advantage at filling large-animal niches after the KT extinction?

Larger animals are more prone to extinction due in part to smaller numbers. The asteroid that impacted 65 million years ago killed off the larger mammals and dinosaurs but spared some of the smaller ...
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Can the extinct Chinese Paddlefish be revived?

I learned that a rare and unique giant Chinese Paddlefish recently became extinct. I'm wondering if samples of DNA were collected by scientists to allow reviving of the specie in the future. My quick ...
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How do researchers know that a species is at risk of extinction?

Recently researchers present evidence that the platypus is at risk of extinction. Source How do researchers know that a species is at risk of extinction? I mean Earth is so large, said species ...
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An online tree of life with extinct species present?

There are awesome online phylogenetic trees such as OneZoom. But they all only list living species. I want to see dinosaurs between birds and crocodiles. I wanna see that humans are reptiliomorphs ...
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Do we know of any "species ending bugs"?

Are we aware of a "bug" (virus, bacterium, prion, ...) that has completely exterminated an entire species? Either through direct observation or maybe some form of archeological evidence? If not, are ...
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Are there any documented cases of extinction of a species of fungus?

Are there any documented cases of extinction of a species of fungus? I imagine it would be hard to detect something like this. Edit: documented by humans when it happened and/or induced by humans.
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Why are there few quail any more in the Northeast of the US?

I currently live in southeast New Hampshire and was reading a history of my town and it describes the landscape as having a lot of quail and even partridges. The book said children going to school ...
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Risks of latent viruses that reside in ancient genomes under research?

Some interesting research in reactivating mammoth genetic material (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40546-1) made me wonder what risks are inherent (or are not inherent) in reviving older ...
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Could we back-breed birds into dinosaurs? [closed]

Do some species of birds have dinosaur DNA? Seeing as how birds evolved from dinosaurs. I presume this isn't possible as I haven't seen anything else about it on the internet but it's interesting to ...
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How compelling is the hypothesis that dinosaurs were killed by toxic plants?

A friend of mine has recently told me that dinosaurs were "killed by flowers". I was a bit surprised and so I googled. And I did find a lot of recent articles in popular media on this topic, probably ...
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What caused the Mesozoic-Cenozoic radiation?

The Phanerozoic eon has had 5 major extinction events and 3 major radiation events. After the Cambrian and Ordovician radiations came all five of the major extinction events, the last of which (...
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Have skeletons of "failed" animals been found yet?

I don't know what the correct term for "failed animals" is, but I mean those animals which wheren't able to survive due to their "failed" evolution process. Because evolution, as we see it today, has ...
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Is there evidence for higher human genetic diversity prior to the alleged Toba Catastrophe genetic bottleneck?

I've been reading on the Toba Catastrophe theory and that it supposedly caused a genetic bottleneck in humans some 70k years ago, which raised a question that I couldn't find an answer to by searching ...
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Fossil record of previously thought extinct animals

I was watching this video from the Youtubers SciShow titled "7 Animals We Used to Think Were Extinct (But Aren't!)." Some of the extinct animals, were suspected to have gone extinct close to half a ...
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Largest extinct clade? [closed]

What is the largest (by large I mean most general) clade of organisms that has gone extinct? domain > kingdom > phylum > class > order > family > genus > species So, for example, an extinct kingdom ...
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Which extinction event killed the highest proportion of organisms?

The P-T extinction (a.k.a. the Great Dying) tends to be considered the worst - for example, Wikipedia states: It is the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine ...
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Is it possible that nearly human mammals existed before the last mass extinction dinosaurs?

From time to time I am hearing people discussing about the possibility that men and dinosaurs meeting some time ago. The oldest mammal remains seem to be about 35 million years old, quite some time ...
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How are baselines for extinction rates established?

At the time of 2010, the UN Environment Programme estimated that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours, and, that this is nearly 1000 times greater than "...
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Wasn't extinction of dinosaurs necessary? [closed]

Beginning from the triassic era, dinosaurs crawled for millions of years. So my basic idea is, that had the dinosaurs not been wiped out, they would have eaten all the flora on the planet then. ...
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Did Smilodon become extinct because they were too specialized carnivorous?

Specialized in two senses, Teeth were too big. I.e. too specialized to hunt. Only hunted large herbivores
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Location of microbes causing eliminated diseases

Do eliminated diseases like polio, smallpox etc still exist in locations they have been eliminated from or in the wild or did we just make them go extinct like the dodo?
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Could we eradicate mosquitoes? [closed]

Researchers have proposed the application of CRISPR/Cas9 and gene drive to genetically alter wild mosquito populations such that they don't transmit malaria. The government of New Zealand has ...
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Example of species that went extinct because of excessive hunting by non-humanoid predators?

I was wondering if there were any species that went extinct for being excessively hunted/eaten by predators? I don't mean human hunting. For example, I wish to know if there's a species of frog that ...
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Do species ever go extinct by becoming too successful?

Are there examples of species that have driven themselves into extinction by being too good at what they are doing? Like a predator that evolves to hunt so efficiently that it kills all it's prey and ...
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Is there really a clear distinction between dinosaurs and birds?

Traditionally, birds are classified as a class of dinosaurs and the term non-avian dinosaurs is introduced to refer to the rest. As recent discoveries suggest that some dinosaurs may have been warm-...
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Can a species populated solely by males be saved from extinction?

How, if possible, can a species be saved from extinction if the only surviving population are males that cannot reproduce with each other?
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Can the Quarternary Extinction event be linked to the spread of mankind around the world?

Evidence is presented in a variety of media by Paul S. Martin as his 'Overkill hypothesis', particularly in Twilight of the Mammoths. The internet describes this idea as 'controversial.' Other than ...
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Why is hunting big animals more dangerous for the species?

I've heard in a lecture about protection of primates that one reason the classical population dynamics doesn't work is that the aboriginal hunters tend to hunt the big, strong and healthy individuals ...
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The Mystery of The Cretaceous' Songbirds

Before Passeriformes perched on the branches of our trees and sang their sweet, inspirational tunes, there was Enantiornithes, the "Opposite Birds". So far, we have discovered at least 80 species ...
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These Mammals Had a Good Run, So What Happened? [closed]

One of the great mysteries of the mammals is that some of the longest-lasting just aren't with us today. The list of these puzzling unfortunates is as follows: Paleomerycidae DURATION: 55.8 to 4.9 ...
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What made *silphium* difficult to domesticate?

I tried this question at Worldbuilding SE, and was told that perhaps this place would give me a better chance at an answer. So, leaving aside the worldbuilding aspects of the issue, I am interested in ...
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Real-world examples of Darwinian extinction

Darwinian extinction (also known as "evolutionary suicide") refers to processes of selection-driven self-extinction, i.e. the cases where natural selection causes the extinction of an evolving ...
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Is there software or a website where I can browse extinct species?

Is there any software/website where I can browse for extinct species? It must be based on real animals that are now extinct. It may be in animated versions.
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Do people even notice when insects other than butterflies and beetles go extinct?

Lists of endangered animals only include beetles and butterflies if they bother to mention insects at all. Here is an example from where I live: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7494.html All of the ...
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2 votes
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Could random male-only-offspring mutation wipe out a species?

If we can engineer the extinction of a whole species of mosquitos with male-only-offspring genetic mutation, how come such scenario never happened naturally in the past to other species? Or has it?
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Extinction of non-mammal Synapsida

I am following M.J. Benton's Vertebrate Palaeontology, which explains how many groups of Synapsida were already extinct in the Mesozoic Era, with one obvious exception being the group of Cynodontia, ...
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8 votes
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Would a colony with only one male and female collapse?

This is a thought experiment: If we form a population with only a single founder pair, can this population survive? What would happen? Would this inbreeding cause the population to go extinct? Could ...
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14 votes
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What is the term for "technical extinction" of yet alive animals?

What is the term for an event in which a species is still alive, but has no chance of future reproduction and the species will be considered extinct once the current generation dies out? For example ...
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7 votes
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Is high metabolism linked to high evolutionary turnover?

I recently read The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert T. Bakker, a 1986 popular science book presenting arguments for an active lifestyle and high metabolic rate in dinosaurs. One of the arguments that ...
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Ice Age Extinctions - Man vs Nature?

As the most recent "ice age" (the Pleistocene) came to a close, changing climatic conditions obviously changed the playing field, driving some species to extinction. But humans were spreading around ...
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Extinction of species with extant descendants

From what I've seen, species such as Homo heidelbergensis which have extant descendants are classified as extinct, which makes sense as far as it goes. However, given that species exhibit a continuum ...
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6 votes
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Evolution of diversity and extinction resistance

I saw a comment on an answer to another question that touched on an interesting topic: keeping diversity is useful for parameter exploration or to adapt to future environmental change My initial ...
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Is it in principle possible to revive an extinct species having no living relatives?

Is it, in principle, possible to revive an extinct species having no living close relatives but whose DNA and other tissues have been preserved? What about the case where there are no living ...
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How can we create a living dinosaur using DNA technology?

I'm wondering what would we need to do to create a living dinosaur using DNA technology? If it is not possible with current technology, will it ever be feasible? In the movie Jurassic Park, ...
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Do Parasaurolophus have hands with fingers to grab?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasaurolophus#mediaviewer/File:Parasaurolophus_cyrtocristatus.jpg I cannot tell if the hands have fingers strung together to form a hove, or fingers to grab. I have ...
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Why do the proportion of predators increase at mass extinction events?

Why does predation surge with mass extinction? It is caused by extreme selective pressures over resource competition that forces certain species to adapt to predatory niches?
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