Extinct animals are species that once roamed the earth but no longer exist. This irreversible loss can result from natural events like climatic shifts, volcanic eruptions, or asteroid impacts, as well as human activities such as habitat destruction, overhunting, and pollution. Their habitats were as diverse as their forms, ranging from oceans and forests to plains and mountains. Over millions of years, these animals evolved unique adaptations to their environments. Iconic examples include the mammoths of the ice ages and the dodo bird of Mauritius. The study of these creatures, primarily through fossils, provides invaluable insights into Earth's history and the consequences of environmental changes.
The anatomy of extinct animals was as diverse as the species themselves. Dinosaurs like the T-Rex had massive, powerful bodies and sharp teeth for hunting, while the gentle, long-necked sauropods grazed on high tree leaves. The dodo, a flightless bird, had stout legs and a robust beak, evolved for a life on the ground. Mammoths, resembling modern elephants, bore long, curved tusks and thick fur coats to survive the ice age chill. Although we can't know for sure, it's unlikely that extinct animals had complex speech, but they would have communicated through sounds, gestures, and scents, much like today's animals. Their senses were adapted to their environments, whether that meant keen eyesight for spotting prey or sensitive hearing to detect predators.
Humans have long been fascinated by extinct animals, often depicted in cave paintings and later in literature and film. The "Jurassic Park" series brought dinosaurs into pop culture, igniting imaginations about these ancient creatures. Our relationship has been both awe-inspiring and cautionary; some species like the dodo became extinct partly due to human activities.
Today, the study of fossils and extinct animals informs conservation efforts, helping us understand past biodiversity and ecosystem changes. Museums and educational programs aim to preserve this knowledge, fostering appreciation and a sense of responsibility towards preventing further extinctions in the current biodiversity crisis.
The factors that cause animals to go extinct are mainly the loss and degradation of habitat which is mainly due to deforestation. Other causes for animals going extinct are exploitation through hunting and overfishing, invasive species, and climate change. Plastic pollution and emerging diseases are also factors that play a role in the extinction of animals.
Extinct animals have not successfully been brought back as of today. Scientists need to sequence its genome and then edit the DNA of a close living relative to match it. Afterwards, they would need to make embryos with the revised genome and have a surrogate mother carry them.
Animals that have gone extinct because of climate change include the golden toad and the north Atlantic cod is threatened. The staghorn coral and orange-spotted filefish have also had their population numbers affected by the effects of climate change. It is up to humans to make the necessary changes and help endangered animal species.