“The Dodo’s external appearance is evidenced only by paintings and written accounts from the 17th century. Because these vary considerably, and because only a few sketches are known to have been drawn from live specimens, its exact appearance in life remains a mystery.”
Rhino Population in Mozambique, Likely Wiped Out, Elephants May Be Next
by Michelle Faul
Mozambique’s rhinoceros population was wiped out more than a century ago by big game hunters. Reconstituted several years ago, the beasts again are on the brink of vanishing from the country by poachers seeking their horns for sale in Asia.
A leading expert told The Associated Press that the last rhino in the southern African nation has been killed. The warden of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – the only place where the horned behemoths lived in Mozambique – also says poachers have wiped out the rhinos. Mozambique’s conservation director believes a few may remain…
The Formosan clouded leopard, a clouded-leopard subspecies native to Taiwan, is now extinct, according to a team of zoologists.
“There is little chance that the clouded leopard still exists in Taiwan,” zoologist Chiang Po-jen told Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). “There may be a few of them, but we do not think they exist in any significant numbers.”
Zoologists from Taiwan and the United States have looked for the animal on and off since 2001, to no avail. To see if any of the animals remained, the researchers set up about 1,500 infrared cameras and scent traps in the Taiwanese mountains but found nothing…
Also known as Bibymalagasy or just Plesiorycteropus, the Malagasy aardvark is extinct species of eutherian mammal that was native to Madagascar. Not too much is known about the Malagasy Aardvark as only parts of their limbs and pelvis have been uncovered. Although it is called an aardvark and may look like one biblymalagasy was no aardvark and as such it has been placed in its own order. Although a full picture of bibymalagasy has never been truly described from what limited skeletal pieces we have we can infer that bibymalagasy was probably a digger, using its large claws to dig through the substrate for food. It is also though that it may have been able to climb like a tenrec. Bibymalagasy went extinct relatively recently and some estimates have it disappearing only 1000 years ago.
- Study for Havell pl. 26, ca. 1825. Watercolor, graphite, pastel, gouache, and black ink with scraping and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 29 3/4 x 21 1/4 in. Courtesy of the New York Historical Society.
The flightless dodo, Raphus cucullatus, was native to the island of Mauritius, in the south-western Indian Ocean. On 20 September 1598, a Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral Wybrant van Warwijck found a channel through the reef encircling Mauritius, and initiated the permanent settlement of the island. Less than a century later, the dodo was extinct, and other species followed rapidly.
Top: Illustration from Memoirs on the dodo by Sir Richard Owen, 1866.
Detail of a terracotta moulding of a dodo in the Waterhouse Building at the Natural History Museum, London.
Australian scientists have produced cloned embryos of an extinct species of frog known for its strange reproductive behavior, reports the University of New South Wales.
The amphibian, the gastric-brooding frog (Rheobatrachus silus), one of only two species that swallowed its eggs, brooded the young in its stomach, and gave birth through its mouth. But it went extinct in 1983. The closely-related R. vitellinus died out in the wild in in 1985.
However a team of researchers were able to recover cell nuclei from frozen frog tissue collected in the 1970s and implant it into a fresh egg from another frog species, Mixophyes fasciolatus. Some of the eggs then developed into an early embryo stage, although none survived longer than a few days.
The scientists said the process — which has not yet been published — could eventually lead to the resurrection of the extinct species…
The mystery surrounding the origin of a wolflike predator that once lived near Antarctica — a puzzle that stumped even Charles Darwin — has now been solved, researchers say.
The extinct carnivore apparently made its way to islands hundreds of miles from the nearest continent by crossing the frozen sea thousands of years ago, scientists explained.
The reddish coyote-sized Falkland Islands wolf was the only mammal native to the Falkland Islands far off the east coast of Argentina. The foxlike predator lived on seals, penguins and sea birds until hunters exterminated it in 1876.
The existence of the Falklands wolf perplexed Darwin when he first encountered it in 1834. “How did this great big carnivore arrive to a set of islands 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the nearest mainland when no other terrestrial mammal did?” asked researcher Alan Cooper, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “If it came by a land bridge, then the islands should’ve been covered with rodents as well, since South America is rodent central.”…
… aka Puerto Rican Shrew, is an extinctsoricomorphendemic to the island of Puerto Rico. It is believed that the animal was never observed by Europeans. Contemporary fossils with indigenous artifacts and introduced rat fossils indicate survival into the colonial era, possibly until the 16th century. The shrew lived on the 4’ island montane forest/brush endemic to western Puerto Rico and was an insectivore. There are fossil specimens located in London.
It disappeared after introduction of rats and due to the destruction of its forest habitat.
(via: Wikipedia) (illustration by Jennifer Garcia)
… was the largest species of New Zealand wattlebird, endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. Its extinction in the early 20th century had two primary causes. The first was rampant overhunting to procure Huia skins for mounted specimens, which were in worldwide demand by museums and wealthy private collectors. Huia were also hunted to obtain their long, striking tail feathers for locally fashionable hat decorations. The second major cause of extinction was the widespread deforestation of the lowlands of the North Island by European settlers to create pasture for agriculture…
The Great Auk was 75 to 85 cm (30 to 33 in) tall and weighed around 5 kg (11 lb), making it the largest member of the alcid family. It was flightless.
Early European explorers to the Americas used the auk as a convenient food source or as fishing bait, reducing its numbers. The bird’s down was in high demand in Europe, a factor which largely eliminated the European populations by the mid-16th century. Scientists soon began to realize that the Great Auk was disappearing and it became the beneficiary of many early environmental laws, but this proved not to be enough. Its growing rarity increased interest from European museums and private collectors in obtaining skins and eggs of the bird.
On 3 July 1844, the last two confirmed specimens were killed on Eldey, off the coast of Iceland, which also eliminated the last known breeding attempt…
(read more: Wikipedia) (image by John James Audubon)