Monday, January 25, 2010

Amazing Extinct Animals

All of us have heard about the various species under threat of extinction and loads of efforts are being made to help them survive. But many such species have already disappeared off the face of Earth...they are extinct.
Here are some of those amazing creatures that won't be seen again:

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex (Extinct about 65 million years ago)

T. Rex is surely the first that comes to mind when you think of 'extinct animals'.
Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time; the largest complete specimen, measured 12.8 metres (42 ft) long, and was 4.0 metres (13 ft) tall at the hips. Mass estimates have varied widely over the years, from more than 7.2 metric tons (7.9 short tons), to less than 4.5 metric tons (5.0 short tons), with most modern estimates ranging between 5.4 and 6.8 metric tons (6.0 and 7.5 short tons).
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  • Thylacine (extinct since 1936)

The Thylacine (Greek for "dog-headed pouched one") was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or TazzyTiger or simply the Tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the twentieth century around 1936.
  • Irish Elk (Extinct  about 7,700 years ago)

The Irish Elk or Giant Deer (Megaloceros giganteus), was a species of Megaloceros and one of the largest deer that ever lived. Its range extended acrossEurasia, from Ireland to east of Lake Baikal, during the Late Pleistocene. The latest known remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago.Although large numbers of skeletons have been found in Irish bogs, its common name, Irish Elk, is misleading as the animal was not exclusively Irish, and neither was it closely related to either of the living species currently called elk; for this reason, the name "Giant Deer" is preferred in more recent publications.
  • Quagga (Extinct since 1883)

The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of the Plains zebrawhich was once found in great numbers in South Africa's Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State. It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid marks on the front part of the body only. In the mid-section, the stripes faded and the dark, inter-stripe spaces became wider, and the rear parts were a plain brown. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga's call. The only quagga to have ever been photographed alive was a mare at the Zoological Society of London's Zoo in Regent's Park in 1870.
  • Megatherium (Extinct about 11,000 years ago)

Unlike its living relatives, the tree slothsMegatherium was one of the largest mammals to walk the Earth, weighing five tons, about as much as an African bull elephant. Although it was primarily a quadruped, its footprints show that it was capable of assuming a bipedal stance. When it stood on its hind legs, it was about twice the height of an elephant, or about twenty feet tall. This sloth, like a modern anteater, walked on the sides of its feet because its claws prevented it from putting them flat on the ground. Megatherium species were members of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna, large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene epoch.
  • Woolly Mammoths (Extinct 11,000 years ago)

Woolly mammoths were elephant like animals with tusks as long as 3.5 m long.Unlike most other prehistoric animals, their remains are often not literally fossilized - that is, turned into stone - but rather are preserved in their organic state. This is due in part to the frozen climate of their habitats, and also to their massive size. Woolly mammoths are therefore among the best-understood prehistoric vertebrates known to science in terms of anatomy.
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  • Dodo (Extinct since late 17th century)

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about a meter (3 feet) tall, weighing about 20 kilograms (44 lb), living on fruit and nesting on the ground.
The dodo has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century.It is commonly used as the archetype of an extinct species because its extinction occurred during recorded human history, and was directly attributable to human activity.
The phrase "dead as a dodo" means undoubtedly and unquestionably dead, whilst the phrase "to go the way of the dodo" means to become extinct or obsolete, to fall out of common usage or practice, or to become a thing of the past.

  • Megalodon (Extinct 1.6 million years ago)

The megalodon  was a giant shark that lived in prehistoric times during the late Oligocene epoch and Neogene period, approximately 25 to 1.5 million years ago, and was a super-predator.
It was by far the largest and most powerful fish of its time and one of the biggest hypercarnivorous predators ever known with maximum size theorized to be around 20.3 metres (67 ft) in length and 103 metric tons (114 short tons) in weight. From scrutiny of its remains, scientists conclude that C. megalodonbelongs to the order Lamniformes but its genus is disputed. Fossil evidence has revealed that C. megalodon had cosmopolitan distribution and fed upon large marine animals.

  • Steller's Sea Cow (Extinct since 1768)

Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) is a large extinct sirenian mammal. Formerly abundant throughout the North Pacific, its range was limited to a single, isolated population on the uninhabited Commander Islands by 1741 when it was first described by Georg Wilhelm Steller, chief naturalist on an expedition led by explorer Vitus Bering. Within 27 years of discovery by Europeans, the slow moving and easily captured Steller's sea cow was hunted to extinction.

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