die out

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"Cemetery of Extinct Animals" at Beijing David's Deer Park Museum
Through the permafrost preserved woolly mammoth calf in the former mammoth steppe of Beringia ; the species became extinct about 10,000 years ago

Extinction (technically also extinction ) denotes the end of an evolutionary lineage as a result of the death of all offspring. The term extinction can refer to both a population and a species . As long as populations of the same species continue to exist in other locations, it is a local extinction. A biological species dies out when the last individual of the species dies. As a result, their genetic information is lost and biodiversity is reduced.

The distinction between the terms extinction of species and mass extinction is blurred. Extinction refers primarily to the man-made disappearance of species by environmental degradation or extermination in the present. Mass extinction (also known as faunal change ), on the other hand, refers to a remarkably large, distant disappearance of species over the course of a few thousand to several hundred thousand years without anthropogenic influence.

Extinction of species is considered to be the inevitable fate of most populations and species over geological time periods . The limited lifespan of species does not only result from extinction processes: Species often split into two or more daughter species - which can be distinguished from the original species - by the action of evolutionary factors (see: Species formation ); Also it can be used for hybridization are of a kind with a closely related species.

Definition by the World Conservation Union IUCN

In February 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) published the following definition for classifying a species as "extinct" in the Red List of Endangered Species it published:

“A taxon is extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual died. A taxon is considered to be extinct if thorough investigations in known and / or suspected habitats during suitable times (daily, seasonal, yearly) have not been able to detect an individual in its historical range . The investigations should extend over a time window which corresponds to the life cycle and the way of life of the taxon. "

Causes and Mechanisms

For a population to die out, its rate of growth must become negative (drop below zero). A permanently negative growth rate due to deterministic factors, e.g. B. by newly immigrated superior competitors or predators (including humans) inevitably leads to extinction, no matter how large the population was at the beginning. Temporary negative growth rates are not uncommon and are seen from time to time in most populations. If the population is very large, it is able to survive such contraction phases for longer. Before a species becomes extinct, its population size usually decreases a long time beforehand.

The reasons for population decline and for ultimate extinction do not have to be identical. The reasons for the (not deterministically specified) extinction can be divided into different categories, which have different effects on the risk of extinction of the population concerned.

  • random demographic fluctuations. The population size of a species is subject to constant random fluctuations from generation to generation and from year to year. In the case of small populations, by chance, in a series of bad years that follow one another, the population size can drop to zero. If there are very few individuals, e.g. B. all offspring happen to be of the same sex. Extinction due to random demographic fluctuations is particularly important in very small populations. The risk of extinction from this factor increases almost exponentially as the population size shrinks.
  • Fluctuations in environmental conditions. The environmental conditions are different for a species in different years, for example the reproduction rate of most species depends heavily on the weather conditions. Fluctuations in environmental conditions occur in different amplitudes. Typically, small rashes are much more common than large ones. Very large deviations from normal conditions are usually referred to as disasters . Disasters are by definition rare, but almost certainly occur over and over again within the long lifespan of a population or species over long periods of time, which is often overlooked when predicting the probability of survival. The risk of extinction due to environmental fluctuations depends less on the population size as such than on the size of the range and the number of local populations of a species.
  • reduced genetic fitness . In very small populations, the risk of extinction also increases for genetic reasons. On the one hand, fewer individuals can only carry fewer variants of their genes (technical term: alleles ). Because of this, the species becomes more uniform and loses the ability to react when the conditions change. On the other hand, very many individuals are usually related to one another in very small populations. Mating among relatives ( inbreeding ) reduces the difference in alleles in the offspring ( heterozygosity ), since they increasingly receive the same alleles from both parents. Homozygous individuals are genetically disadvantaged in several ways. On the one hand, the effectiveness of their immune defense and thus the resistance to diseases decreases, on the other hand (by fixing recessive alleles) harmful mutations can come to the fore (inbreeding depression). Rare, unfavorable mutations can dominate the population much more easily than in large populations due to genetic drift by chance or because of the reduced effectiveness of the selection . Under unfavorable conditions, a chain reaction starts: In the smaller population, mating among relatives occurs more frequently. This reduces the genetic diversity (heterozygosity) of the offspring. This leads to the accumulation and increased effect of adverse recessive alleles. Because of this, the fertility and vitality of individuals decrease. In a population that is further reduced as a result, this process continues to intensify until it becomes extinct. This scenario is known as the " extinction vortex ". Even if the population can escape the extinction vortex, its genetic variability is lower after a recovery phase than before, which is why the risk of extinction can be higher for the same population size. This effect is known as the genetic bottleneck.

The effect that small population sizes can significantly increase the risk of population extinction, regardless of the mechanisms that are effective in each case, is described as the Allee effect . If such an effect is effective, this must be taken into account when predicting the risk of extinction, because otherwise the risk will be massively underestimated.

Before the listed mechanisms can threaten a species, its population size must have fallen below a threshold value that varies depending on the species (exception: mass extinction due to global catastrophes). In all directly observable cases of extinction events, this can be traced back to human impact. The evaluation of fossils showed that in principle at any time, including in the present, some species will become extinct for natural reasons. The level of this baseline extinction rate is not known for certain, but it is certainly very low. The American paleontologist Jack Sepkoski estimated them to be around three species per year on a global average. In fact, not a single living species (i.e. not only known to be fossilized) has not been identified with certainty in science that would have become extinct for purely natural reasons at the present time. The population decline precedes the actual extinction. In many cases, some small relic populations are initially spared when the species has already lost most of its former population size and range. In the case of vertebrates, the last survivors are sometimes also human-kept animals in zoos or enclosures. The extinction of the relic populations usually occurs for one of the reasons mentioned above, even if the population decline that actually led to the extinction had other causes. The main causes of population decline themselves usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Overkill. Extinction through hunting, fishing and direct pursuit.
  • Habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation (islanding)
  • Predation or competition of introduced species ( neobiota )
  • Extinction chains. Follow-up extinction after other species essential to the species' survival have become extinct.

Extinction through direct pursuit

As a result of direct persecution, especially species, mostly vertebrate species with a low intrinsic growth rate, which are used by humans for hunting or fishing, die out. Of much less importance, although in some cases proven and widely publicized, are threats to populations that are collected by rarity lovers, for scientific collections or for keeping in enclosures and zoological gardens. In many cases, direct pursuit, change of habitat and the introduction of alien species are intertwined in ways that are difficult to understand, especially when species become extinct on small oceanic islands. Historically well documented cases of extinction as a result of overexploitation are e.g. B. Steller's manatee or giant alk . The last populations of many large and charismatic vertebrate species that have been displaced into small reserves by habitat destruction are threatened by poaching and even extinction. In many cases, however, even with overexploitation, which greatly reduces a population, direct evidence of extinction as a result of hunting is difficult to provide. So is z. For example, global extermination through overfishing has not really been proven for any fish species living in the sea , although the stocks of many species have declined sharply and total yields have also shown a decreasing trend for years. Rising prices in the case of rarity and economic calculation (it can be purely economically rational to exterminate a species with a very slowly growing population now than to wait for the future yield: discounting, see discounting and compounding ) are an immediate threat to many species, therefore z. B. the southern bluefin tuna is in acute danger of extinction.

In addition to the extinction due to hunting in modern times, the extinction of many species in prehistoric times due to this factor is also discussed. The extinction of almost all large terrestrial vertebrates on the large islands of New Zealand and Madagascar after the immigration of humans, which took place here only a few thousand years ago, is almost beyond doubt . The extinction of species such as the American mastodon or the woolly rhinoceros is also discussed, but highly controversial, due to human hunting (on this hypothesis see under Quaternary extinction waves ).

Extinction through habitat destruction

It is immediately evident that species become extinct when their habitat, e.g. B. by human use, is destroyed. In many cases, it is sufficient if the living space as such is retained, but is changed (degraded) as a result of usage influences. If a mass extinction is predicted for our time with extinction rates that are a thousand to ten thousand times higher than the natural rate of extinction, the effect of habitat destruction is primarily held responsible. In detail, however, the situation is more complex. If a species loses part of its habitat, the remaining part may be sufficient for a very long, possibly even almost unlimited, survival. Species can also migrate to new habitats that have been changed by human impact if the species is not too rare and the new habitat is sufficiently similar to the previous habitat. In addition, it is very difficult to prove that a species has actually become extinct in this way: there may be other populations in other places that have not yet been investigated. The rediscovery of species believed to be extinct is known as the Lazarus effect ; it is more common in habitat destruction than in other cases. For most species globally, neither their range nor their biology is known, and quite a few tropical insect species have only been described from a single locality (often enough just a single specimen). Actual evidence of the extinction of such species is almost impossible to provide, even if the likelihood of it is overwhelming. This problem particularly affects the tropical rainforests, which are at the same time the most biodiverse and the least explored habitats in the world. Although in many cases the extinction of species can also be directly demonstrated, the extent of the habitat destruction and its average biodiversity are usually implicit in the loss of species.

The loss of habitat increases the risk of extinction of species with a very small distribution area, these are called endemics . Regions that have numerous endemic species and are therefore particularly rich in species are tried to be identified as biodiversity hotspots . Destruction of such a hotspot leads to particularly high species losses. So are z. For example, 100 endemic plant species became extinct as a result of the deforestation of the Centinella mountain range, which is just 20 square kilometers in size in Ecuador . Ecuador alone has around 20,000 plant species, around 4,000 of which are endemic. In Germany, which is much larger, there are only 4,000 plant species.

Isolation and Metapopulations

Many species do not have a contiguous habitat, but live in spatially separated part-habitats. If there is a rare but regular exchange of individuals between them, this is described as a metapopulation . In a metapopulation, the local subpopulations can die out for stochastic reasons (see above). The habitat island that is then released can then possibly be re-colonized by migratory (migrating) individuals of the same species from another subpopulation. This is known as the "rescue effect" (translation would be: rescue effect). The equilibrium theory of the biogeography of islands (cf. island biogeography ), which is very influential as a model in ecology, predicts a species population for the species population of islands, which is established as a balance between extinction and new settlement. The size of the island (influences extinction) and its isolation from other islands (influences repopulation) are decisive for the species population. If this model applies, then, in addition to the reduction in size of habitats, their isolation (or islanding) leads to an increased rate of extinction, even if the total area remains the same. In order to save these species, nature conservation is trying to set up a biotope network .

The metapopulation approach represents a model of the probability and course of extinction processes. Each individual subpopulation dies out for a specific but, in the longer term, rather random reason. The pattern would only be recognizable when viewed over a large area or at a higher level. In the past decades, many indications have been gathered within ecology that the fragmentation ( habitat fragmentation ) of connected habitats and their spatial isolation increase the risk of extinction.

Blame for extinction

According to the metapopulation approach, the affected species do not die out immediately in the event of habitat reduction and isolation. Rather, more and more subpopulations that are no longer re-established through the rescue effect are only gradually disappearing. If a previously contiguous habitat is cut up into smaller sub-habitats, it is then likely that the remaining habitat islands will initially contain almost all species of the original habitat. This high species population is then no longer in balance with the new conditions. It is to be expected that numerous species will gradually become extinct over time. This extinction would be inexplicable for a local observer because the size and habitat quality of the island he was investigating (e.g. a protected area) would not have deteriorated at all. For this species overhang, predicted by the theory, the concept of the blame for extinction was introduced. This model of extinction is considered plausible, although not accepted by all researchers.

Extinction by neobiota

Animal species and pathogens introduced or intentionally introduced into new regions are among the most important causes of the extinction of animal and plant species. However, extinction due to introduced plant species ( neophytes ) seems to be rare. Extinctions are usually caused by predation or parasitism , and rarely by competition between species. Introduced, competitive species generally do not completely displace existing ones, but leave them a partial niche that is at least sufficient for relic occurrences. In many cases, however, it is possible that the elapsed time has simply not been sufficient to completely displace it, so that further cases can be expected here in the future. Exotic pathogens are a strong threat because the affected species do not coevolve with the pathogen, unlike the original hosts in the original range of the pathogen . Predators are a particularly strong threat to the fauna of oceanic islands, which due to their small size often did not have their own predators, which is why the species have no protective mechanisms (or have regressed previously possessed ones) and are therefore particularly vulnerable. For example, a remarkable number of bird species are flightless on small islands.

Extinction by predators

A classic example of the extermination by introduced predators are the Pacific islands. On the island of Guam , the brown night tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) , which was introduced in the 1940s, has caused the extinction of ten of the original twelve native bird species to this day. By combating the snakes and breeding them, it was possible to save the endemic guamralle ( Rallus owstoni ) from extinction. On Lord Howe Island, 570 km off Australia, pigs and other mammals abandoned by ship crews exterminated the endemic Lord Howe wood rail ( Gallirallus sylvestris ) except for a relic population on an inaccessible rock plateau, the species could only be bred and pushed back to be saved (by hunting). Most Pacific bird species, especially the flightless railroaders , weren't so lucky. Finds of subfossil bones support the assumption that almost every Pacific island had its own endemic species of railing (along with countless other bird species). The main cause of the extinction was probably mostly the rats brought in by the immigrant Polynesians , especially the Pacific rat ( Rattus exulans ) (although direct tracking certainly played a role). The losses are estimated at around 50% of the total species population. This could mean that 20% of the world's bird species could be extinct here alone.

Extinction from pathogens

Probably the worst case of extinction due to introduced pathogens is the worldwide death of amphibians as a result of chytridiomycosis , a skin fungal disease. The origin of the pathogen is in the dark. It probably goes back to the crossing of several less pathogenic strains that came into contact with each other through amphibian transport. African clawed frogs ( Xenopus ), which were previously bred and traded worldwide for pregnancy tests, could play an important role . The extent of the extinction of species can hardly be estimated, but it probably affects hundreds of species and can lead to the extinction of entire previously species-rich genera.

Extinction in geological epochs

We are only informed about extinction processes in earlier epochs through the evaluation of fossils . Since statements about populations and population structures are naturally impossible here, the basis for consideration here is the morpho species . A morpho species is considered to be extinct if specimens with a comparable morphology are not found in later fossil horizons or on living (extant or recent ) specimens. A morphospecies thus dies out through “real” extinction or through evolutionary change of form ( anagenesis ), with or without species splitting (cladogenesis). The lifespan of a species (or higher taxonomic unit) is extremely variable. In the Mesozoic era , an ammonite species lived on average for only 0.5 million years, and a species 0.7 million years. The average lifespan of species has been estimated to be about 4 million years. Species or genera with an extremely long lifespan that z. Some hundreds of millions of years without any noticeable morphological change are called living fossils . All other fossil-proven morpho species, that is far more than 99%, died out at some point.

If one looks at the extinction rate of species or higher taxonomic units over the geological epochs, this is not uniform. The division into geological ages (cf. geological time scale ) is based precisely on the fact that the different epochs are each set apart from one another by a striking change of fauna. This is only possible through increased extinction rates at the end of the respective age. If one plots the lifespan of all fossil-handed species over geological time, then five mass extinctions stand out with a massively higher rate of extinction compared to the background. The most famous mass extinction on the Cretaceous-Paleogene border with the extinction of the dinosaurs is now associated with the impact of a meteorite. For the largest extinction event in the history of the earth on the Permian-Triassic border , the large-scale magma outflows of the Siberian trap are considered to be the main cause. But also in the other periods of time, species did not die out at a constant rate, but more or less frequently in certain epochs. Although many researchers believe that mass extinctions are simply the most prominent of these pulses, the prevailing view today is that extinctions during mass extinctions differ in some form from normal ones. So are z. B. Factors that reduce the likelihood of a line becoming extinct in normal times, apparently ineffective during mass extinction.

After a mass extinction, the rate of re-emergence of species increases sharply with a certain delay, so that after about five to ten million years the previous number can be reached again (although the composition may change significantly).

Intrinsic causes of extinction

Before the synthetic theory of evolution became popular, ideas based on orthogenesis were widespread that species have something like a "natural lifespan" and that "tribal aging" causes them to become extinct when their vitality is depleted. These ideas no longer have a basis in modern theory. However, mechanisms are still being proposed according to which a species may be for internal reasons, that is, not by changing the environmental conditions or interacting with other species such as z. B. competition or predation, could die out. These theories are more or less speculative.

Are discussed e.g. B. the following mechanisms:

  • Evolutionary Suicide : selection-driven extinction through maladjustment due to intraspecific competition.
  • Telomere erosion of the genetic material: extinction by successive shortening of telomeres through generations.

Popular examples of extinct species since the end of the Pleistocene

Giant aalk . Painting by JG Keulemans
  • Mammoths : large, very hairy close relatives of the elephant. They occurred in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
  • Saber-toothed cats of the genus Homotherium died out about 30,000 years ago in the then dry North Sea and 10,000 years ago in North America
  • Neanderthals died out around 30,000 years ago
  • Aurochs , the wild ancestral form of domestic cattle , extinct in 1627
  • Woolly rhinoceros died out around 12,000 years ago
  • Cave lion ( Panthera spelaea ) and Mosbacher lion ( Panthera fossilis ): both are big wild cats and relatives of the average smaller lion that lives in Africa and Asia
  • Cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus ): the head-torso length was up to 3.5 meters, its shoulder height was about 1.70 meters
  • Giant aalk ( Alca impennis , formerly Pinguinus impennis ): the "penguin" of the northern hemisphere, a flightless seabird was hunted to extinction in the 18th century
  • Giant deer ( Megaloceros ): a genus of deer that reached a shoulder height of two meters and had antlers with a wingspan of 3.6 meters
  • Tarpan : European subspecies of the wild horse
  • Giant marsupial (Diprotodon): a genus of marsupials that resemble a rhinoceros without a horn. They reached a shoulder height of 2 meters, a length of 3 meters and a weight of around 2.8 tons.
  • Marsupial Lion (Thylacoleonidae): a whole family of marsupials
  • Black emu ( Dromaius ater ): a species of ratite that was wild on King Island until 1805. The last specimen died in the Paris zoo in 1822.
  • Thunderbirds (Dromornithidae): large birds unable to fly, but which are more likely to be classified as ducks. They were up to 3 meters high and weighed half a ton.
Moas are attacked by a hair eagle
New Zealand
  • Moas (Dinornithidae): a family of ratites similar to today's ostrich
  • Haastadler ( Harpagornis moorei ): a 10-14 kilogram bird of prey with a wingspan of up to 3 meters. It is believed that he was the natural predator of the moas.
Dodo ( Raphus cucullatus )
North America
  • Saber-toothed cats of the genera Smilodon and Homotherium died out about 10,000 years ago
  • Passenger pigeon ( Ectopistes migratorius ): a pigeon that occurs in large numbers and has only recently become extinct
  • Carolina Parakeet ( Conuropsis carolinensis ): like the passenger pigeon recently wiped out by hunting
  • Cervalces scotti : comparable to the European giant deer
South and Central America
  • Elephant birds (Aepyornithidae): a whole family of large ratites that reached a head height of 3.5 meters and weighed 500 kilograms. The last species of this family are said to have lived until the 17th century.
  • Giant Lemurs : three types of primates that come from two different families, the koala lemurs and the sloth lemurs. They probably lived until the 15th century
  • Dodo or Dronte ( Raphus cucullatus ): a flightless bird that was exterminated around 1690.
Arctic Ocean
  • Steller's sea cow or Steller's sea cow , Riesenseekuh , Borken animal ( Hydrodamalis gigas ): a Seekuhart who was caught for their meat and eradicated within a few years after their discovery.

Current situation

Development of species extinction according to "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice" 2017

The latest surveys assume that the current extinction rate of 3 to 130 species per day is 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural value. According to a study by the Stockholm Resilience Center from 2009, the limit value determined for the manageable extinction of species has already been exceeded by over 1,000% and is therefore the greatest ecological problem even before climate change ; it is thus also an essential characteristic of an Anthropocene .

Originally, the UN wanted to stop the global extinction of species with its Biodiversity Convention of 1992 by 2010, the international year of biodiversity . With the Nagoya Protocol, however, this goal was postponed to 2020. According to the United Nations report on biodiversity, up to 130 animal and plant species are now dying every day. The following are named as decisive influences:

  • the type of land use (agriculture and forestry) with its rapid land consumption and the associated forest destruction and soil degeneration
  • the so-called invasive species , which displace native species
  • the current climate change
  • the chemical pollution of our environment and agriculture.

A report published on behalf of the “UN Biodiversity Commission” in the spring of 2010 draws a catastrophic balance sheet : one author compares the current situation with that before the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. One sees "the harbingers of the 6th mass extinction during the earth's history" and fears " tipping points ": sudden, unpredictable situations or events that can immediately trigger a whole cascade of incalculable consequences within complex, entire systems, including for humanity. The transition from gradual species extinction to catastrophic losses , which is very difficult to reverse, is described. The effects of our population development and consumption patterns would have to be integrated into the balance sheet of our economic activity. Biodiversity and biology should also become the main guidelines for climate policy. As a counter-strategy, a radical change of direction with the introduction of a global carbon tax and u. A. The creation of a World Biodiversity Council analogous to the institution of the "World Climate Council" IPCC proposed. However, the target of limiting global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius is too much for our ecosystem. The report was discussed before the UN General Assembly in autumn 2010, shortly before the World Biodiversity Summit in Japan.

According to a study by Brown University from September 2014, the current extinction rate could be a lot worse than previously assumed: The background extinction rate is 10 times lower than previously assumed (the currently caused extinction rate is accordingly higher). By global warming , the extinction of species is significantly accelerated: Lack of action to combat climate change made 16% of all world's species at risk of extinction as a 2015 Science Review published study showed. The individual values ​​on which this study is based were up to 54%. If the two-degree target is met , this rate could be reduced to 5.2%.

The annual report 2014 of the environmental foundation World Wide Fund For Nature ( WWF ) shows that the situation of many species is deteriorating, sometimes dramatically, such as rhinos (of one subspecies, the “northern white rhinoceros”, there are only five specimens left), elephants ( poachers in Africa killed more elephants than offspring were born), lions (in West Africa they are on the verge of extinction, in India there are only remnants) and walruses (they would be victims of climate change, their resting places on ice floes would disappear with the retreat of the arctic pack ice ) . Many other animals lose their habitat , apes such as bonobos lose their last reserves , as is planned, for example in a national park in Congo oil production. In the primates to 94% would find now on the Red List (as of 2014) in one of the three highest risk categories. Overall, biodiversity has suffered greatly since the 1970s and the number of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish has halved on average since then.

"Humans are causing the greatest global extinction of species since the disappearance of the dinosaurs"

- Eberhard Brandes, Head of WWF Germany

Every two years by WWF together with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN) created Living Planet Report ( Living Planet Report ) reported the end of October 2016 more than 14,000 studied animal populations worldwide decline of livestock by almost 60% in the past 40 years; the stocks of animals in rivers and lakes have declined by an average of 81 percent worldwide.

The report of the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES Conference on the Conservation of Species in Paris) , published in May 2019, sees between half a million and one million species threatened with extinction worldwide. A quarter of all cataloged animal and plant species has already been lost. Species decline is currently ten to a hundred times faster than the average over the past ten million years. According to WWF, the wild animal population has decreased by 60 percent worldwide since 1970, and by 89 percent in Central and South America.

Species protection

In order to preserve or restore the diversity of species , attempts are being made to secure the existence of threatened species through protected areas , process protection and species protection programs - for example in zoological gardens ; Further measures in the context of species protection programs are the creation of conservation breeding and conservation cultures (for example in botanical gardens ) and the establishment of gene banks in which DNA samples of these species are stored.

Conservation breeding

Many in some countries in Europe or across Europe in historical extinct time types, if the species is not extinct worldwide in breeding programs recorded and played back in suitable habitats reintroduced . In addition, attempts are being made to replace the extinct European ancestral forms of domestic animals with back- breeding .

"Revival" of extinct animal species

In March 2013, the University of New South Wales succeeded in growing living embryos of the southern gastric nesting frog ( Rheobatrachus silus ), a species from the genus of gastric breeding frogs , by implanting thawed (“dead”) genomes from cryopreservation in egg cells of a distantly related frog species . Although the resulting embryos did not survive the early stage, their cells are to be used in the further course of the “ Lazarus Project ” to “revive” an extinct animal species for the first time by means of cloning .



  • Michael Miersch: Business for Beetle counters. Are three species going extinct every hour? In: The time. No. 50, 2001, p. 37, accessed on December 29, 2011


  • Monsters we met in the Internet Movie Database (English), dt. People against monsters - The fight for our planet , deals with the extinction of many large animal species in relation to the spread of humans.
  • Hubert Sauper : Darwin's Nightmare , German Darwin's Nightmare , F / B / AU, 2004, documents the ecological and economic catastrophe on East African Lake Victoria after the economically motivated release of the Nile perch and the subsequent extinction of over 400 different fish species.


  • The retreat of diversity - focus on the International Year of Biodiversity. In: Aktuell, September 20, 2010 , dradio.de, accessed on December 29, 2011
  • Susan Weber: Glan cattle, bronze turkey and saddle pig. More and more farm animals are threatened with extinction. In: SWR2 Wissen , May 28, 2008 , swr.de (with text and audio file), accessed on December 29, 2011

See also

Web links

Commons : Extinct Species  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Species extinction  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Overview in: Judith M. Rhymer, Daniel Simberloff: Extinction by hybridization and introgression. In: Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. Volume 27, 1996, pp. 83-109. doi: 10.1146 / annurev.ecolsys.27.1.83
  2. ^ IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, Version 3.0 , p. 14.
  3. ^ Russell Lande: Risks of population extinction from demographic and environmental stachasticity and random catastrophes. In: American Naturalist. Volume 142, No. 6 1993, pp. 911-927.
  4. Graeme Caughley: Directions in Conservation Biology. In: Journal of Animal Ecology. Volume 63 1994, pp. 215-244.
  5. ^ John H. Lawton: The science and non-science of conservation biology. In: New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 21 (2), 1997, pp. 117-120.
  6. ^ Russell Lande: Risk of population extinction from fixation of new deleterious mutations. In: evolution. Volume 48, No. 5, 1994, pp. 1460-1469.
  7. ^ Ling-ling Chen, Cang Hui: Habitat destruction and the extinction debt revisited: The Allee effect. In: Mathematical Biosciences. Volume 221, No. 1, 2009, pp. 26-32. doi: 10.1016 / j.mbs.2009.06.003
  8. ^ J. John Sepkoski Jr .: Rates of speciation in the fossil record. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London. Series B, 353, 1998, pp. 315-326. doi: 10.1098 / rstb.1998.0212
  9. for mammals cf. Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich: Mammal Population Losses and the Extinction Crisis. In: Science. Volume 296, 2002, pp. 904-907.
  10. ↑ there are currently two types of mammals: saber antelope and David deer Jan Schipper et al. : The Status of the World's Land and Marine Mammals: Diversity, Threat, and Knowledge. In: Science. Volume 322, 2008, pp. 225-230. doi: 10.1126 / science.1165115
  11. ^ Jared Diamond : Overview of recent extinctions. In: D. Western, M. Pearl (Eds.): Conservation for the Twenty-first Century . Oxford University Press, New York 1989, pp. 37-41.
  12. Miguel Clavero, Emili Garcıa-Berthou: Invasive species are a leading cause of animal extinctions. In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Volume l20, No. 3, 2005, p. 110.
  13. cf. z. B. for the dodo : Samuel T. Turveya, Anthony S. Cheke: Dead as a dodo: the fortuitous rise to fame of an extinction icon. In: Historical Biology. Volume 20, No. 2, 2008, pp. 149-163. doi: 10.1080 / 08912960802376199
  14. JD Reynolds, NK Dulvy, CR Roberts: Exploitation and other threats to fish conservation. In: PJB Hart, JD Reynolds (Eds.): Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries. Volume 2: Fisheries. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford 2002, pp. 319-341.
  15. ^ CW Clark: Mathematical Bioeconomics: The Optimal Management of Renewable Resources. John Wiley & Sons, New York 1976.
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