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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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Is it possible to make an estimate of how many species extincted before humans?

This article Species Extinction Happening 1,000 Times Faster Because of Humans? makes an estimate of the rate of extinction now and 200,000 years ago. I know it's difficult but since there are ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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How did aquatic dinosaurs go extinct?

Dominant theory is that 'normal' dinosaurs went extinct from ether super volcano or meteor impact or combination of both. However there were aquatic dinosaurs that are not present at this day. Was it ...
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Interdependency between organsims on our planet and its relation to ecosystem?

I am not a biologist but I just wonder if all species are interdependent. I mean if the tiger becomes extinct does it affect the ecosystem? If the mosquito or mouse become extinct does it affect the ...
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Empirical evidence for species selection

Do we have any empirical evidence in favor of species (or lineage) selection? Do we know some cases that can only be explained (or seem to be only explained) by lineage selection? What are today the ...
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What does the evidence suggest about how Neanderthals became extinct?

According to "Neanderthals: Facts About Our Extinct Human Relatives" (Szalay, 2013), Neanderthals dominated Europe during the last Ice Age, but may have died out before the arrival of Homo Sapiens (...
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Is it possible to make humans extinct artificially?

Verging on the realm of science fiction, my question is that is there any theoretically possible way, biologically/chemically, with which the entire human race can be killed without affecting the rest ...
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Is there any evidence that humans have faced extinction before?

Have we as a species faced extinction in the past? Resulting in a 'population bottleneck'? If so, what genetic evidence is there of this occurring?
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Change in conditions of an ecosystem lead to change in organisms

Let's think about the slash and burn method and its effects on the ecosystem. Cutting down trees that rise all the way up to the canopy would expose the plants at ground level to more light, so would ...
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If Evolution Is In Progress, Why Fight Extinction?

Natural selection is a central tenet of evolution. However, most biologists seem determined to prevent the extinction of the species that have been selected against. Why is this? Preservation of ...
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Historical recovery from mass extinction events

Is there a way to generally characterize how species "regrew" after the various mass extinction events happening periodically from 450 Ma to 65 Ma. Would the surviving species just start back where ...
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Are there any side-effects from a mosquitoes extinction?

Suppose that we have the ability to make mosquitoes extinct, what would be the likely effects (on disease and ecosystems for example) of such extinction? Essentially, what roles in nature do ...