Extinction outwitted and I am speechless.
Planet earth had been home to numerous species since time immemorial. Many of the species had been extinct and some resilient species are still among us even after millions of years. The best place to know about the extinct species of planet earth is a Natural History Museum.
Imagine you went to a Natural History Museum and saw the picture of an extinct animal. A few days later you were trekking on remote hills and found the same exact animal that you saw in the museum. How would you feel in that instant? [pullquote type=”right”] Nature outwitted extinction and brought some species back from the death.[/pullquote]
I am not talking about resurrecting the species as InGen does in the Jurrasic Park sci-fi movies. Many species that were thought to be extinct were actually resurrected by Nature. The below ten animal species show how nature had outwitted badass extinction and brought back these animals from the death; a pure delight to humans beings.
10. BAVARIAN PINE VOLE
This adorable rodent was only known from one place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria Alps, Germany. This vole lived in moist meadows at elevations of 600-1,000 metres. No specimen of this rodent were discovered after 1962 that it was declared extinct. There are 23 museum specimens of this species.
There are 23 museum specimens of this species. But a pleasant surprise came when this rodent population was discovered again in 2001 in Northern Tyrol, just across the German-Austrian border. I guess 23 of the museum specimens are over too much now.
9. BLACK KOKANEE SALMON
This is a native salmon species in Japan which dark olive with black spots on it’s back. This salmon grows approximately one foot in length. Black Kokanee Salmon’s story is no less epic.
These salmons were living in Lake Tazawa in Japan. The Japanese had built a Hydro-Electric plant on this lake and it started to make the waters more acidic making it uninhabitable to the fish. Prior to 1940, some 100,000 eggs of this salmon species were transferred to Lake Saiko in a bid to save this species.
But these attempts were thought to be futile and they could not see at least one hatchling. By 1940, Black Kokanee Salmon was declared extinct. But Nature works in mysterious ways.
In 2010, a celebrity biologist Sakana-kun, along with other biologists re-discovered this fish population in Lake Saiko itself. Somehow mother nature was able to preserve and resurrect this species. Long live Black Kokanee Salmons.
8. LORD HOWE ISLAND STICK INSECT
This is also called as tree lobster and were the natives of Lord Howe Island Group. Till 1920 these insects were kicking and were even used as fish bait. Disaster stuck them in 1918 when the supply ship SS Makambo ran aground bringing black rats to the habitat.
Within 2 years, these insects were nowhere to be found on the islands and were declared extinct. The last one was seen in 1920 and for the next 70 years, searches to find one were in vain. What a disaster by human error!
In 2001, one fine day, two Australian scientists, David Priddel and Nicholas Carlile scaled 500 feet of rock on Ball’s Pyramid in the Lord Howe Islands at night and was able to find a small population of 24 of these insects living beneath a shrub. Now they are thriving with efforts for preservation.
The behavior of these insects is quite unusual. The male and female are bonded and the male follows the female. The activities of the male depend on the activities of the female.
The female can lay eggs hanging on branches and it takes anywhere near to nine months for the eggs to hatch. One speciality is that reproduction can happen without males. Life finds a way. [stag_sidebar id=’contentads’]
7. Pygmy Tarsier
Pygmy Tarsier is a nocturnal primate native of Indonesia. These are very small creatures, grows up to 4 inches in length and weighs a mere 57 grams. But its striking feature is the bigger eyes for its size.
The last of the species was found in 1920 and they were extinct by 1921. For 80 years, this species eluded the scientific community but could not locate one. In 2000, Dr. Sharon Gursky and Ph.D. student Nanda Grow accidentally caught two males and one female Pygmy Tarsier using nets and radio-collared them for monitoring.
Pygmy Tarsiers are bonded to each other for 15 months and the partners remain monogamous in this period. They are insectivorous and have a role in structuring the insect community in the habitat. How these animals got resurrected after so many years? No clue!
6. Dwarf Cloud Rat
This rodent was native to Philippines. The last one was seen in 1896 and it was declared extinct. The local population had given a British researcher several specimens for curating.
For the next 112 years, this rodent was not to be seen anywhere by anyone. In 2008 dwarf cloud rat was captured by Danilo Balete, Project Co-Leader and Research Associate of the Philippine National Museum, in a patch of mature mossy forest (also called cloud forest) high on Mt. Pulag, at about 2,350 meters above sea level. A new generation of human beings had seen this species for the first time.
How they survived and kicking after little more than a century is still a mystery.
5. Nelson’s Small-Eared Shrew
This is a tiny species of shrew native to Mexico. In 1894, a handful specimens of Nelson’s small-eared shrew were collected in some 4,800 feet up the slopes of the San Martín Tuxtla volcano in Veracruz, Mexico, and they were declared extinct. They were named after Edward Nelson who collected these specimens.
Two mammalogists Fernando Cervantes of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Lazaro Guevara of the University of Veracruz in Mexico decided to look for them one more time. In 2009, their search was fruitful and they were pleasantly surprised to have caught an adult male, an adult female and a juvenile male.
They say it is surprising how they came back after 115 years. Science aside, we must be very happy to see these mammals kicking.
4. Banggai Crow
Banggai crow is native of crow family in central Sulawesi province of Indonesia. Though it resembles slender-billed crow, it is rather distinct. It is a very small bird, completely black with a pale iris. In 1885 only two specimens were collected and this was extinct after that.
Efforts to locate this bird were futile until 2009 when an Indonesian ornithologist Mochamad Indrawan spotted it. Soon other bird watchers also photographed this rare bird. The total population is estimated at approximately 500 mature individuals, living in mountain forest at altitudes above 500 m.
The decline of the Banggai crow is thought to be primarily due to habitat loss and degradation through agriculture and extraction. So we can say the humans were responsible for the extinction of this bird species and now nature resurrected them again. We are given one more chance to preserve this bird species.
3. Terror Skink
The Terror Skink is a skink native only found on the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. Its scientific name is Phoboscincus bocourti. This animal is omnivorous and it has rounded teeth suggesting the predatory behaviour of the species.
Terror Skink grows up to 50 cm tall nocturnal reptilian. The last of its kind are seen only in 1870, a specimen was collected by a man named Balanza and were thought to be extinct. In December 2003, a specimen was found by some specialists from the French Muséum national d’ Histoire Naturelle. The animal was photographed and filmed before it was released into the wild again.
It’s good to see such special animal is again part of this world.
2. New Zealand Storm Petrel
New Zealand Storm Petrel is a small seabird native of New Zealand. The last specimen of this bird were captured in 1850 and they were extinct. As its name suggests, this bird caused quite a storm after it was allegedly spotted in 2003 by Sav Saville and Brent Stephenson, after 150 years of extinction.
Luckily the bird was photographed when it was spotted and soon a capture and breeding program was initiated in 2005 to preserve this bird species. In February 2013, when these birds were successfully tracked to breeding burrows in the forested interior of Little Barrier Island, and the first nests and chicks of the New Zealand storm petrel were found.
What a great relief to see this extinct species fly again in the skies.
1. La Palma Giant Lizard
This is one amazing story of a species which won over extinction and ticking. La Palma Giant Lizard is a distinct group of lizards only found on Canary Islands. It could live up to altitudes of 800m from sea level. These lizards are probably egg-laying species.
2000 years ago human beings arrived in La Palma islands and this species’ decline started. The last La Palma Giant Lizard was found in 1500. For the next 507 years, this species was nowhere to be found and declared extinct.
Habitat destruction by Agriculture, the introduction of cats to the habitat and consumption by humans are thought to be the primary reasons for this species’ extinction.
In 2007, this lizard population was again found by researchers and it gave a new hope of preserving this species. These lizards are large and have muscular legs and males are generally larger than females. The one spotted recently was around 30cm long and of 4 years in age.
There are hopes of finding a population of these lizards to breed in captivity. Hope these efforts will be successful.
These animal species are special in a way that they are giving a message to never give up on life. Mother nature is amazing.