extinction

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Primate Study Finds It's 'Worse Than We Thought'

75% are in decline, 60% at risk of extinction

(Newser) - "It's worse than we thought 10 years ago," a researcher says following a "landmark" study on the world's primates that found many could go extinct in the next 50 years. Primatologists studied every primate species—all 504 of them—and found 75% are in decline,... More »

As 'Smirking' Porpoise Nears Extinction, US Sends in Military Dolphins

The vaquita, or 'little cow,' is caught up in fishing nets and insatiable thirst from China

(Newser) - The world's smallest porpoise is also ever smaller in number, its population decimated in recent decades thanks to what the Washington Post describes as "a cruel mixture of fishing nets and economics." The vaquita, or "little cow," has gotten tangled up in fish nets since... More »

A Surprise 'Silent Extinction': Giraffes

IUCN report reveals 'devastating' decline of nearly 40% over past 30 years

(Newser) - No one used to pay much mind to the giraffes that roamed Africa. But new numbers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature show a significant decline in their population over the past three decades and have conservationists worried that the elegant creature is falling victim to what... More »

Could an 'Ark in a Freezer' Bring Back Lost Animals?

'Inside the tanks are the animals'

(Newser) - Inside the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research a few miles outside the city, in an unassuming building that smells like cleaning supplies, is the Frozen Zoo. It's an ark, really—"an ark in a freezer!" as Zach Baron writes in a feature article for GQ... More »

Toughie the Frog, Likely the Last of His Species, Dies

It's rare for humans to witness an extinction as it happens

(Newser) - A frog named Toughie, likely the last of his species, died quietly in his enclosure at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this week, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "He will be missed by Garden staff and visitors alike," the Garden posted on Facebook . The Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog wasn't... More »

Key to Extinction of Ancient Bear: Vegan Diet

Inflexible diet appears to have led to cave bear's demise some 25K years ago

(Newser) - Cave bears, the close cousin of the brown bear, roamed vast swaths of present-day Russia across to the United Kingdom and down to Spain for hundreds of thousands of years until they went extinct 25,000 years ago. A large beast at roughly 12 feet long and 5 feet tall... More »

Deer at Brink of Extinction Survives Afghan Conflicts

Bactrian deer were spotted by researchers for the first time in decades in 2013

(Newser) - In Afghanistan—in spite of multiple wars, habitat destruction, and unregulated hunting—one species feared to have gone extinct in the nation has been spotted and may even be staging a comeback: the rare and majestic Bactrian deer. When they were last surveyed in the 1970s, their local numbers were... More »

First Mass Extinction Likely Caused by 'Utterly Weird' Animals

Animals shaped like 'Frisbees and lumpy mattresses' may have killed early Ediacarans

(Newser) - New fossil evidence dug up in Namibia lends credence to the theory that we should blame "ecosystem engineers" for the world's first mass extinction, and that's not a euphemism for man, asteroids, or aliens. Instead, per a Vanderbilt University study published in the October issue of the... More »

Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs Wiped Out Most Mammals, Too

Only about 7% survived, says study

(Newser) - The asteroid that took out the dinosaurs nearly claimed the planet's mammals, too. Researchers at the UK's Milner Centre for Evolution report in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology that 93% of mammals were wiped out around the same time, far more than originally thought. And those that did... More »

This Is Likely the First Mammal Lost to Climate Change

Mosaic-tailed rat has vanished from Bramble Cay off Australia

(Newser) - Way to go, humanity. For the first time in history, human-induced climate change has been found "solely or primarily" responsible for the extinction of a mammal species, according to a new study . The Bramble Cay melomys , or mosaic-tailed rat, was found by Europeans on a tiny coral cay off... More »

Death by Human Extinction Far More Likely Than by Car Crash

We should be more afraid of asteroids, pandemics, and Terminators

(Newser) - Pandemics, super-volcanoes, nuclear war, climate change, asteroids, and murderous artificial intelligence. You're not more likely to die from any one of those things than in a car crash. But put all those things together, and, well, that changes things a bit, the Atlantic reports. According to the annual Global ... More »

Dinos Were Going Downhill Even Before Asteroid Hit

Decline started tens of millions of years earlier, study says

(Newser) - Dinosaurs were already past their prime when a huge asteroid finished them off 66 million years ago, according to Universities of Reading and Bristol researchers who say their work "changes our understanding of the fate of these mighty creatures." They write in the Proceedings of the National Academy ... More »

Bees, Butterflies May Go Way of the Dinosaur

United Nations report says world crops are at risk

(Newser) - Don't care much about birds and bees going extinct? OK, but you may have to forgo popular foods (like blueberries, apples, and coffee) that depend on creatures that pollinate plants, the Christian Science Monitor reports. According to a UN scientific report approved by 124 nations, the coming extinction of... More »

Study: Ancient Humans Made Giant Bird Go Extinct

The clue was in the eggs

(Newser) - About 50,000 years ago, giant megafauna—such as a "1,000-pound kangaroo" and "Volkswagen-sized tortoise"—roamed Australia, Phys.org reports. Those animals started disappearing around the same time the first humans set foot in the area, likely after arriving aboard boats from Indonesia. Now, for the... More »

Here's Why Europe's Killer Whales Could Go Extinct

Study finds high levels of contamination from PCBs

(Newser) - Decades after they were banned, chemicals known as PCBs continue to pose a threat to marine mammals in the waters off Europe. The situation is especially dire for killer whales, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We think there is a very high extinction risk for killer whales as a... More »

Scientists Figure Out What Killed the Real King Kong

Gigantopithecus just couldn't adapt when its fruit ran out, says study

(Newser) - The world may not have had a King Kong as Hollywood imagined him to be, but the next best thing was a creature called Gigantopithecus that roamed 100,000 years ago. The largest ape known to man stood some 9 feet tall and weighed half a ton, gorging on fruit... More »

Charles Darwin's Finches Could Soon Be Extinct

'This is like a really bad horror flick'

(Newser) - Charles Darwin's finches of the Galapagos Islands—renowned as a poster child for speciation (that's "the process by which new species arise," explains Smithsonian )—may not be able to evolve fast enough to stave off extinction, according to a study published last week in the... More »

Shocking Number of Cacti Face Extinction

Study finds that 31% of cactus species are endangered

(Newser) - About a third of the world's cactus species are threatened with extinction, the International Union for Conservation of Nature warns in a new report. The study evaluated 1,478 species and determined that 31% are endangered due to factors such as the conversion of wilderness areas to farming and... More »

Rhino Species Down to Last 3, but Hope Remains

Science could bring back the northern white

(Newser) - In sad but utterly inevitable news, the northern white rhino has taken another big step toward extinction with the death of Nola, a beloved 41-year-old female who had been at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1989. She was one of the last four remaining members of the doomed... More »

Scientists Finally Stop Fighting About Dinosaur Deaths

Study says asteroid and volcanos killed the dinosaurs

(Newser) - After 35 years of intense scholarly debate—and probably some name calling—scientists have agreed to compromise: Both a giant asteroid and massive volcanic eruptions were responsible for killing off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Time reports this agreement comes after researchers used a new technique to more precisely... More »

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