Extinction: What You Should Know

Extinction means that a species of animal or plant that has existed for a long time is no longer on earth. When the last animal or plant of a species dies, the whole species is extinct. Living beings of this kind will then never exist again on earth. Many extinct animal and plant species existed on earth for a very long time before disappearing from it. Some of them for millions of years.

The dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. That was a lot of animal species at once, namely all dinosaur species that existed at the time. It’s called a mass extinction. The Neanderthal died out 30,000 years ago, that was a human species. Our ancestors, the human species “Homo Sapiens”, lived at the same time as the Neanderthals. But this human species has not died out, which is why we exist today.

How does extinction happen?

When there are very few animals of a particular species left, that species is threatened with extinction. The species can only continue to exist if the animals of this species continue to reproduce, i.e. give birth to young animals. This is how the genes of the species are passed from the parents to their offspring. If only a single pair of species that are becoming extinct is left, it may not breed. Maybe the animals are too old or sick, or maybe they live alone and never meet. If these two animals then die, the animal species are extinct. There will also never be animals of this species again because all animals that had the genes of this species are dead.

It is similar to plant species. Plants also have descendants, for example through seeds. The genes of the plant species are in the seeds. If a plant species stops reproducing, for example, because the seeds can no longer germinate, this plant species will also become extinct.

Why are species going extinct?

When a species of animal or plant becomes extinct, it can have very different causes. Each species needs a specific habitat. This is an area in nature that has very specific characteristics that are important to the species. For example, owls need forests, eels need clean rivers and lakes, and bees need meadows and fields with flowering plants. If this habitat becomes smaller and smaller, or is cut up by roads, or loses a certain important property, a species can no longer live well there. The number of animals gets smaller and smaller until finally, the last one dies.

Environmental pollution and climate change are also leading to the extinction of animal and plant species because their habitat severely deteriorates as a result. And finally, animal species are also threatened if they are hunted too much. Since man has had a major impact on life on earth through industry and agriculture, around a thousand times as many animal and plant species have become extinct as before in the same period of time. When many species become extinct in a short period of time, it is called species extinction. For about 8,000 years there has even been another era of mass extinction. The reason for this is the man.

What can be done to prevent species extinction?

There are international organizations that work to protect the environment. For example, they maintain a “Red List of Endangered Species”. On this list are species that are threatened with extinction. The environmentalists then try to save animal and plant species that are on this list from extinction. This also includes protecting the habitats of these species. For example, by building toad tunnels for toads to crawl under a road.

Attempts are often made to keep the last animals of a species in zoos. Here the animals are cared for and protected from diseases. Males and females are brought together in the hope that they will have offspring and that the species will be preserved.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *