The animal world is quite large. But when assessing all its diversity, do not forget how many species died out in the course of evolution. However, already in modern times, many animals disappeared from the face of the planet, not for natural reasons, but in the course of the activity of the most dangerous being – man. Remembering the most amazing animals, it is not necessary to be limited only to the most ancient times and dinosaurs.
Many animals have died out quite recently, leaving to our memory not only their remains, but also photographs, eyewitnesses’ memories. There are sad statistics that indicate that 99.9% of all species that existed on Earth died out.
писа In his book Encyclopedia of Species that Disappeared during the History of Humanity, the writer Ross Piper counted as many as 65 creatures. The author moves back in time, starting with the golden toad and Eskimo curlew and five species, which was last seen less than a hundred years ago. Also mentioned are those animals that died out over 50 thousand years ago – mega-sharks and giant monkeys. The bony person and his closest relatives are also considered extinct. We will tell below about the most amazing extinct animals and birds.
Tyrannosaurus Rex, died out 65 million years ago.
This animal was the largest carnivore of all those who ever lived on the planet. In length, it reached 43 feet, and in height – 16 feet. Scientists have calculated that the tyrannosaur could weigh up to 7 tons. Like his other close relatives, this predator was a two-legged man, he had a massive skull, and behind him he balanced a long and heavy tail. Hind legs were large and strong, but the forelegs were much smaller and practically did not perform any important functions. These fossil animals were discovered in North America in rock formations. Scientists have found out that they died out 68.5-65 million years ago and were the last dinosaurs that disappeared before the Cretaceous. More than 30 animal samples were identified, some even retained their skeleton almost completely. Researchers even found the remains of soft tissue. This abundance of fossil material allowed a large-scale study of this animal, including the history of its existence and biomechanics.
Quagga, died out in 1883.
This amazing animal was half horse, and half-zebra. Quagga is one of the most famous disappeared creatures in Africa. This subspecies of plain zebra was found in large numbers in the Cape of South Africa and the southern part of the Orange Free State. From other zebras this animal was different in that it had characteristic bright marks on the front part of the body. In the middle part of the trunk, the bands became darker, wider and fused. The back part was of a homogeneous brown color. The body length of this odd-ungulates was 180 centimeters. The name of this species comes from the name of the Zebra KhoiKhoi, which is the onomatopoeia of this word. Initially, scientists 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. Because of the large scatter of coloring of creatures (two identical zebras simply do not exist), there appeared a large number of described “species”. At the same time, it was difficult to determine which of them were real, and which ones were just natural variants. So far, with all this confusion being dealt with, the quaggas were exterminated in meat and skins. The last wild quagga was killed in 1878, after 5 years, the last representative of this subspecies died in the zoo of Amsterdam. Because of the great confusion between the various subspecies of zebras, especially among the public, the quaggas became extinct before it became clear that it was a separate species. But the animal was the first among the extinct, whose DNA was being studied. In 1987, a project to restore this biological species was born.The first 9 individuals were bred in a selective way and placed in a special camp in Namibia. In 2005, a representative of the third generation of the quaggies appeared, some believe that he is very similar to a typical representative. Meanwhile, the project is only evolving, but there is hope to resurrect this disappeared animal.
Tasmanian tiger, died out in 1936.
This animal was the largest known marsupial carnivorous science. It dwelt in Australia and New Guinea and died out in the last century. Because of his striped back, he was nicknamed the Tasmanian tiger, although there are other nicknames – Tasmanian tiger, tiger, marsupial wolf. It was the last surviving member of some kind of marsupial wolves. But in the stone annals were found similar species that existed in the early Miocene. In length the marsupial wave reached 1-1.3 meters, in height – 0.6 meters, and weighed 20-25 kilograms. Outwardly the animal was like a dog. It is noteworthy that his elongated mouth could open as much as 120 degrees. In Australia, the marsupial wolf died out thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, but it was preserved in Tasmania along with other endemic species, such as the Tasmanian devil. When people discovered Tasmania in 1642, they found traces 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 – he was considered a hunter for sheep. The realities and ferocity of the marsupial wolf were real legends. At the beginning of the 20th century, the island also suffered an epidemic of canine plague that virtually destroyed these already rare animals. But this did not stop the man, the law still did not protect a rare species. As a result, the last wild wolf was killed in 1930, and in 1936 the last representative of the Tasmanian tigers died in the zoo from old age. Today, a reward of $ 1.1 million is established for someone who will catch a living marsupial wolf. Now scientists in Australia are trying to clone this unique animal.
Steller’s cow, died out in 1768.
This marine mammal from the siren detachment was discovered in 1741. It was opened by Georg Steller, a scientist who was a member of the Bering expedition. The length of the sea cow reached 10 meters, and it weighed up to 4 tons. In size, the animal was significantly larger than the seal or manatee. The cow led a sedentary image, upholstered in shallow bays and feeding on algae. The animal had a vague shape, its tail was bifurcated, like a whale, there were two thick front limbs. Steller described that the species found had a thick and black hide, like the bark of an old oak, the head is small in relation to the body. The cow did not have teeth at all, but only two flat bone plates, located one above the other, were present. The researchers found a large number of these animals on the island of Bering, and they were not afraid of people at all. This is what killed them. After all, the smell and taste of their fat was quite pleasant, the meat was also delicious and could be stored for a long time. Even the milk was fit for food, reminiscent of sheep. Predatory fishing completely exterminated this species by 1768. Fossil remains were reported later that Steller’s sea cow used to live along the coast of the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, reaching in the south to Japan and California. Considering how quickly the animals were exterminated in this area, most likely it was the arrival of people and caused their extinction elsewhere. In the last couple of centuries, there have been isolated reports about the observation of the sea cow in areas from the Bering regions and to Greenland. Scientists cherish the hope that a small population of animals still lived to this day. While there is a variant with cloning in the future of an animal, in fact there was an alcoholized piece of her skin, carrying genetic material.
Irish deer, died about 7700 years ago.
This deer was the largest of all that ever lived.It is also called the Irish moose, but lived throughout Eurasia, from Ireland and in the east to Lake Baikal. The habitat of the deer is the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Based on the carbon analysis, it was found that the last animal died about 7,700 years ago. Such a deer was outwardly similar to a doe, but distinguished by its enormous size. The height was about two meters, and the giant horns had up to 4 meters of swing. They weighed about 35 kg, 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 the head in the forest. Interest is caused precisely by the horns of the animal, and not by its giant dimensions. Scientists believe that the causes of extinction are likely natural – the forest began to step on open spaces, taking away habitats. In those days, in general, many other large animals disappeared from the face of the planet. It is not necessary to discount the person, hunting it could also undermine the horned handsome population. However, the theory of the influence of hunting is rather doubtful. After all, the species was widely distributed throughout the continent. Most likely, it evolved with people throughout its existence, adapting even to their presence.
The Caspian tiger, disappeared in 1970.
It is the third largest tiger in its form. The Caspian tiger is also called Turanian or Persian. This subspecies inhabited the territory of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia. This subspecies had a bright-red coat color, and the stripes were longer than usual, with a brownish tinge. The body was rather stocky, the elongated legs were strong, and the legs – wide. The Caspian tiger also had unusually large claws. The largest individual weighed 240 kilograms, this subspecies in size is second only to Bengal and Amur. But females weighed 85-135 kilograms. The ears of the tiger were short and small, with no hair at their tips. In Asia, people traditionally reconciled with the existence of these neighbors. Great damage to the population was inflicted by Russian immigrants. The Tigers began to be deliberately destroyed. But this influence was only indirect. Tigers have died out because the cultivation of floodplain lands in the channels deprived the animals of the fodder base. After all, wild boars and roe deer lived freely in tugai.
Wild tour, has disappeared since 1627.
This animal is one of the most famous extinct in Europe already with a man. These are very large primitive bulls, the progenitors of modern cows. Bisons developed in India about two million years ago, and then migrated to the Middle East and Asia. In Europe, the animal came about 250 thousand years ago. But by the 13th century the range of the tour was limited to Poland, Lithuania, Moldova, Transylvania and East Prussia. The powerful beast had a height at the withers of up to 180 centimeters, and weighed it to 800 kilograms. The head was highly planted, and her sharp horns were crowned. The males were black in color, along the back a narrow light strip. And the females and young were reddish. The main habitat of the tours is the steppe and the forest-steppe, but the last few days they lived in the forests. The right to hunt them was only from the nobility, and subsequently only in the royal family. Numerical tours began to fall sharply, the hunt was stopped. The royal court demanded from the huntsmen to provide the animals with fields for grazing, for which it was supposed to reduce taxes. There were even decrees that punished death for killing this large animal. In 1564, the huntsmen knew only about 38 individuals, which was reported in the royal report. The last observation of a live bison was in 1627, it was seen by a Polish woman in the forest. His skull subsequently fell into the Swedish army and is now 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 tours.The plan was based on the assumption that the species can not die out, 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 a painstaking work, a “restored tour” was obtained, which outwardly almost does not differ from its progenitor. However, this is just a form of livestock.
Wingless auks, died out in 1844.
This bird was the only one in the genus Pinguinus, surviving to our time, but extinct more recently. The height of the bird was about 70 centimeters, and the weight – about 5 kilograms. The wings were rather poorly developed, this loon could barely walk overland, could not fly, but swam perfectly. They had white and black shiny feathers, the black key was heavy and had grooves. Flightless wingless birds have long been a favorite hunting object for coastal residents of Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway and even the UK. It was not difficult to kill this defenseless bird on land. In the 16th century, in Iceland, the inhabitants of the whole boat extracted eggs of loons, and in 1844 the last two representatives of the species were killed. This is the first American and European bird, completely exterminated by man. The found remains of birds in Florida make it possible to assume that the birds were climbing and far to the south. It is curious that the Neanderthal people started hunting more than 100 thousand years ago. This is evidenced by the treated bones found on their fireplaces. Today in collections there are about 75 eggs of a bird, 24 of its full skeleton and 81 stuffed animals.
Cave lion, died out about 2000 years ago.
This lion was the largest of all 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 deeply to the north. The adult specimen found in 1985 in Germany was about 1.2 meters in height and 2.1 meters in length without taking into account 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% more modern. The appearance of the animals made it possible to specify the rock paintings of the Stone Age. They, unlike their counterparts from Africa or India, were almost always depicted without wool. The coloring was monochrome, and on the tail was a traditional brush. Lions lived in Europe and in warmer times, and in the floor of glaciers. They hunted at the large ungulates of that time. Despite its name, these cat-like caves appeared infrequently, simply using as shelters. It concerned mostly sick and old individuals. The cave lion died out most likely 10,000 years ago during the last Wurm Glacier, but there is some evidence that 2,000 years ago this animal could have existed in the Balkans.
Drones, disappeared at the end of the XVII century.
This family of non-flying birds lived on the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean. They were relatives of pigeons, but they stood about a meter in height. The adult bird weighed up to 25 kilograms. The paws looked like a turkey, and the beak was massive. This family includes 3 species – the Mauritian dodo, or dodo, the Bourbon dodo and the hermit-dodo. Birds lived in forests, kept in pairs. They ate with fruit, laying one white egg right on the ground. Once upon a time, dodos knew how to swim, run and fly. But in the course of evolution, the wings lost their function, because on the islands there were simply no natural enemies. But then a man appeared. At first, the Portuguese, and then the Dutch, methodically destroyed the bird. Her meat was replenished ship supplies. Over time, the islands were imported rats, dogs and cats, who ate the eggs of a helpless bird. And the hunt for it was simple – it was easy to approach and beat on the head. That is why the Portuguese called the dodo “dodo”, which in the common people means “stupid.”Dodo and dodo in particular are widely used as an archetype of extinct species, because their disappearance is directly related to human activities. Even the phrase “dead as a dodo” appeared. It means a final and undoubted death. The phrase “to follow the path of the dodo” means a rapid extinction or obsolescence, a loss from the general flow or become a past case. Today, from the unique bird remained only in the form of skeletons and a symbol on the coat of arms of Mauritius.