Recently Extinct Animals
Published at : 09 Jan 2021
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7. Yunnan Lake Newt
This beautiful little creature once thrived in Yunnan, China around Kunming Lake, which was the only place in the world it was found. It used to dwell in the shallow waters of the lake and various freshwater habitats nearby. Scientists and researchers have looked for the Yunnan Lake Newt for the past 40 years unsuccessfully, and the last sighting of one took place in 1979. With it being missing for so long, it’s been deemed extinct, and possible causes are new species introduced in the area, pollution, domestic duck farming, and habitat loss.
It’s apparently not a very good idea to try and be a large, flightless bird in New Zealand considering all nine species of Moa are extinct today. They were big birds, and the two largest species, Dinornis novaezelandiae and Dinornis robustus, grew to weigh roughly 510 pounds (230 kg) and stood a massive 12 feet (3.6 meters) when they fully extended their necks. Before the Polynesians settled New Zealand, the Moa is estimated to have had numbers of around 58,000. This declined very quickly once the Polynesian Maori arrived, as they hunted them down in large numbers. The Maori arrived right around 1280, and by between 1300 and 1420, the Moa had gone extinct.
5. Vegas Valley Leopard Frog
This chubby little frog was once abundant in the Las Vegas Valley and was found in Tule Springs in southern Nevada as well. At one point in time, it was considered the only frog endemic to the U.S. to go extinct any time in recent history. It was believed that specimens collected at Tule Springs on January 13, 1942, by A. Vanderhorst were the last of the Vegas Valley leopard frogs to have existed. Extensive searches for it were performed, and researchers came up with nothing, but little did they know, the frog had a secret and surprise of its own. A DNA analysis was done in 2011, and it found that a frog called the Chiricahua leopard frog is 100% identical to the Vegas Valley leopard frog, which is located in Arizona, New Mexico, and in Mexico. So not only is the species not extinct, it lives on under a different name in places not far from Vegas! Should someone be fired for not realizing that?
4. Passenger Pigeon
There were at one time between 3 and 5 billion of these birds, and they were the most abundant bird species in all of North America. They were called the Passenger Pigeon due to their migratory habits, as they bred mainly around the Great Lakes and then migrated regularly in search of food sources. They were sexually dimorphic creatures, much like many birds today, and males and females had dramatically different characteristics. Males were mostly gray on their upper parts, had lighter underparts, and had bronze feathers on their necks and black spots on their wings. Females were more brown and dull than their male counterparts and were generally smaller. Following the arrival of Europeans in North America, they were ruthlessly hunted, and the last of the Passenger pigeons is believed to have been killed in 1901.
Sometimes called the blue antelope, the bluebuck used to live in South Africa and is a now extinct species of antelope. They had cute, pale white bellies and bluish-gray coats and brown foreheads that were much darker than the rest of their faces. The largest specimen we know of stood 47 inches (119 centimeters) tall at its withers and had 22.2 inch (56.5 centimeter) long horns. It’s its own, distinct species, despite being believed a subspecies of Roan antelope for a very long time. It suffered from habitat loss long before the Europeans encountered it in the 17th-century, and was already reasonably uncommon at that time. Then, the European settlers didn’t help much by hunting the bluebuck, and it was deemed extinct by 1800. In historical times, it was the first large African mammal to go extinct.
2. Chioninia Coctei
This lizard, which is also called Bibron’s skink, Cocteau’s skink, Lagarto, and the Cape Verde giant skink was once an inhabitant of Raso and Branco in the Cape Verde islands. The name “coctei” was given in honor of Jean Theodore Cocteau, a French zoologist, and physician. For a skink, these creatures were very large and reached a snout to vent length of 13 inches (32 centimeters), and their tails were nearly as long as their bodies! They mainly ate plants and were herbivores, but when times got tough, or opportunity arose, they could become carnivorous and would eat the babies of nesting birds. Their cause for extinction? Drought, overhunting, and the use of skink oil by natives from islands nearby. They were finally declared extinct by International Union for Conservation of Nature on the 2013.1 Red List.