Near Extinct Animals — Mediterranean Monk Seal, Axolotl Mexican Salamander, Tiger Spider, Southern Bluefin Tuna, & Alabama Cavefish

February 6, 2015 in Animals & Insects

The current rate of species extinction in the world is estimated to 100-1000 times higher (spread across all types of life) than the background extinction rate (average over very-long time-scales), primarily as a result of modern/industrial human activity.

Some groups are experiencing much higher rates even than that though — amphibians, for example, are currently going extinct roughly ~45,000 times faster than the background extinction rate. Most/many amphibian species are expected to go extinct at some point in the foreseeable future — without large changes to the current trajectory occurring. (There are notable exceptions to this.)

Despite the growing rates of extinctions, research has shown that public interest and concern has actually been diminishing greatly over the last few decades. (Perhaps as backlash against the tactics/hypocrisy of many “environmental” organizations? Perhaps because less and less people grow up in rural areas and spend time in the “wild”? Perhaps because entertainment consumption, drug-use, and obesity, has all skyrocketed in recent decades? Hard to say…)

Many researchers have estimated that at current rates of extinction, up to one-half of all the currently existing plant + animal species in the world will be extinct by the year 2100. (For more on that, see: 10 Extinct Animals Of The Last 100 Years, And Before, List).
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Brink Of Extinction — Giant Leatherback Sea Turtle, Siberian Tiger, Mountain Gorilla, North Pacific Right Whale, & Philippine Eagle

February 5, 2015 in Animals & Insects

With human expansion continuing at its relentless pace — and deforestation, soil erosion, species extinctions, and climatic changes, accompanying it — there are a significant number of animals nearing the brink of extinction.

While listing all of them here would be impossible — there are far, far too many — I still think that it’s worth going over some of the more prominant of the many critically endangered animals in the world today.

And, to that end, the article below will highlight 5 of those critically endangered animals — the Giant Leatherback Sea Turtle, the Siberian Tiger, the Mountain Gorilla, the North Pacific Right Whale, and the Philippine Eagle.
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Endangered Primates Species List — Mountain Gorilla, Blue-Eyed Black Lemur, Howler Monkeys, Tarsiers, Gibbons, Tamarins, Etc

January 17, 2015 in Animals & Insects

Amongst all of the animals facing extinction in the world currently, perhaps the most interesting are those that share relatively recent ancestors (and many, many, many behaviors and social patterns…) with us — that is to say, other primates. The greater apes, the lesser apes (gibbons), the monkeys, the baboons, the lemurs, the tarsiers, the bush babies, etc.

The vast majority of these animals (across all of their various families, genera, and species) have seen their numbers plummet in recent years — largely owing to the incredible rates of habitat destruction seen over recent years, via deforestation, desertification, and encroaching human settlements.

Endangered primates now occupy perhaps the most prominant place in the public eye as far as endangered animals. The only other endangered land-animals that are perhaps of similar ‘charisma’ to the primates are the big cats, and/or elephants. (Maybe the rhinos as well?)

Based on current fossil evidence the earliest known primate (Teilhardina) lived around 55.8 million years ago. But other lines of enquiry (along with the general rareness of small-animal fossils from that far back) suggest that primates probably emerged ~85 million years ago, in the mid-Creataceous era — with evidence pointing toward an origin in what would now be considered to be a part of Asia (of course, the land masses of the world back then were connected in very different ways).

90 million years ago

Since that relatively long ago origin in the tropical forests of a very different world, inhabited by very different forms of life, primates have spread out across a great many different environments and ecological niches.

Diversifying into the mountain-living gorillas, the shellfish-smashing Burmese macaques, the tree-sap-loving marmosets, the grass-eating geladas, the war-like chimps, the fishing-by-hand long-tailed macaques, the kills-bush-babies-with-sharpened-spears chimpanzees (they use stone hammers as well), the hot-spring loving snow monkeys (Japanese macaques), the jet-engine-loud howler monkeys, etc, of today.

And, also, into the pack-living (chimpanzees, many monkey species), the crowd/troop living (baboons, geladas), the nuclear-family-like (gorillas), the pair-bonded (gibbons), and the largely solitary (orangutangs/orangutans), social structures seen today.

Many of the species to which these highly-diverse behaviours and ways of living are embodied by are now considered to be endangered — largely owing to human activity over the last few thousand years. And, in particular, over the last few hundred years.

Below I’ve made a list of some of these now endangered animals — providing interesting facts, images, and anecdotes. Enjoy.
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Desertification Effects, Causes, And Examples : Top 10 List

January 5, 2015 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate, Humans, Plants

Desertification is a process of land-degradation by which a region becomes progressively drier and drier — eventually becoming desert. Or, to put it another way — desertification is the process by which previously biologically productive land is transformed into wasteland.

There’s actually currently something of a debate over the use of the term though. As it stands, the most widely accepted definition is probably the one that’s now printed in the Princeton University Dictionary — which defines it this way: “The process of fertile land transforming into desert typically as a result of deforestation, drought, or improper/inappropriate agriculture”


There are a number of different causes/mechanisms behind the process, such as deflation (the loss of stabilizing vegetation, and of top soil); erosion; and soil-salinity-rise (via irrigation mostly). Read the rest of this entry →

Extinction, Mass Extinctions, Extinct Species, And The Ongoing 6th Great Mass Extinction

March 7, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Fossils, Humans, Plants

Extinction is the process by which a species, genus, or family, becomes extinct — no longer existing and living in the world. It is the abolition and annihilation of something that previously existed in the world. In the case of biology, it refers specifically to the end of an evolutionary line, or a branch on the tree of life.


The actual moment of extinction is considered to be when the last individual representative of a species or group is no longer living. But functional extinction can occur considerably earlier than that — as the result of loss of genetic diversity, range, and/or the ability for a population to breed and recover.

Most types of life, especially animals, are closely tied to their ecological niches and environments. With a loss of their living environment, and its accompanying species, extinction is almost inevitable for many types of life. Species diversification and emergence typically doesn’t occur in these circumstances, it usually happens within healthy ecosystems. The long-period of time that follows large extinction events when no new species emerge is referred to as a dead zone .

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