The 7 Most Beautiful Extinct Animals

Many magnificent species have perished as a result of humanity’s effect on the environment during the last ten thousand years. This post will show you photos and details about some of extinct animals that are sure to pique your interest.

In contemporary times, there have been two major eras of anthropogenic extinction (part of the ongoing “Anthropocene” mass extinction event). Many extinctions occurred around ten thousand years ago as a result of retreating ice following the end of the last glacial period (early Holocene epoch), which harmed the habitats of numerous species. Humans, on the other hand, contributed by hunting numerous bigger species (megafauna).

The second period began approximately 500 years ago, and it corresponds to the age of human exploration, colonialism, and industrialisation. Many species were unprepared for the arrival of people and farm animals into their ecosystems, and as a result, they were hunted or their habitats were destroyed, leading to extinction. Human society’s industrialisation has hastened habitat degradation both directly (via hazardous waste) and indirectly (through pollution) (with climate change).

  1. Irish Elk (5,200 B.C.)
    Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus) inhabited most of northern Europe towards the end of the last glacial era, from Ireland to Siberia. They are more accurately termed as “giant deer” since they had little in common with existing elk species. They may reach a shoulder height of seven feet and a weight of 700 kg. They had the biggest antlers of any deer species, measuring up to 12 feet in breadth. Males utilized their massive antlers to frighten rivals and impress females, thus it’s likely that they evolved through sexual selection.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
Irish Elk first appeared roughly 400,000 years ago and died out about 5,000 years ago. Hunting was most likely a factor in their demise. However, when the ice receded, other plants flourished, perhaps leading to a deficiency in nutritional micronutrients. Calcium was particularly important for the animal’s enormous antlers to develop.

2. Woolly Mammoth (2,000 B.C.)
In the early Holocene, the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) occupied much of the northern hemisphere’s arctic tundra (just after the last glacial period, 11,700 years ago). These huge beasts could grow to be 11 feet tall and weigh six tons, making them almost the same size as African elephants, albeit the Asian elephant is their closest cousin. It was, however, coated in brown, black, and ginger fur, unlike the elephant. To avoid frostbite, it had a shorter tail.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
Humans coveted the Woolly Mammoth’s long tusks, which were used for warfare and foraging. They were also hunted for food, but climatic change at the end of the last glacial era likely hastened their demise. The retreating ice destroyed much of their habitat, decreasing their population to the point that humans were able to hunt them down and exterminate them. While the majority of the population went out approximately 10,000 years ago, tiny groups survived in isolated places until 4,000 years ago.

3. Smilodon (10,000 B.C.)
Although it had existed as a separate species for nearly 2.5 million years, the Smilodon (saber-toothed cat) lived in North and South America during the end of the last glacial era (115,000 – 11,700 years ago). Smilodon populator, the biggest subspecies, could weigh 400 kg, be three meters long, and stand 1.4 meters tall at the shoulder.

Despite its name, Smilodon was formed more like a bear than a tiger, with short, strong limbs that were not adapted for speed. Its remarkable canines, which could reach a length of 30 cm (one foot), were delicate and were mostly employed for biting into sensitive neck tissue once its victim had been subdued. It possessed a 120-degree opening of its jaws, but a feeble bite. Smilodon hunted megafauna (bison, deer, and tiny mammoths) but also scavenged, implying that it was a communal animal.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
The extinction of Smilodon occurred at the same time as the introduction of humans, who were known to have hunted numerous local animals. This may or may not have included Smilodon, but it very certainly included its megafauna prey, perhaps resulting in a food shortage. Because of its stocky form, Smilodon would have had a harder time hunting smaller, nimbler prey, which may have led to its death. Climate change (retreating ice) was also a factor, since it damaged its habitat as well as that of its prey.

4. Great Auk (1852)
The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) was a flightless bird that looked like a penguin today. It was a strong swimmer, stored fat for warmth, nested in dense colonies, and married for life, just like the penguin; however, it possessed a hefty hooked beak. It resided in the north Atlantic Ocean and could grow to over three feet in height.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
Europeans began hunting the Great Auk in the 16th century in order to obtain its prized down feathers for pillows. Later, the bird was hunted for fishing bait in North America, and it was frequently subjected to horrors such as being skinned and burnt alive for feathers and food. Because Great Auks don’t fly, they’re easy to trap. Museums and collectors wanted their own (dead) specimens as the species got rarer, eventually driving the bird to extinction in 1852.

The British Parliament established one of the first environmental protection laws in history in the 1770s, prohibiting the slaughter of Auks in the United Kingdom, but it was too late.

5. Atlas Bear (1870)
The Atlas bear (Ursus arctos crowtheri) is a North African extinct bear subspecies. After an English serviceman called Crowther brought it to the public’s notice in 1840, zoologists recognized it as a distinct species. This bear was larger and more robust than the American black bear. It was Africa’s sole native bear that made it to the present day.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
In the late twentieth century, the Atlas Bear became extinct. Environmental changes and habitat loss are likely to have contributed to a fall in populations for this species, as they have for many others on this list. Local tribes’ overhunting and the arrival of modern guns, which made it easier to kill bears, both played major roles.

6. Quagga (1883)
The Quagga (Equus quagga quagga), a remarkable half-zebra, half-horse creature, is really a zebra subspecies that split about 200,000 years ago and went extinct in the nineteenth century. Quagga was a South African tribe named from the sound they made (onomatopoeic).

Why Did They Go Extinct?
It was hunted to extinction in 1883 to protect the area for agricultural animals, as well as for the meat and skins it provided. Settlers saw Quagga as a threat to their sheep, goats, and other animals. Furthermore, because many people referred to zebras as “Quaggas” in general, no one recognized their decrease until it was too late.

7. Tasmanian Tiger (1936)
The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) evolved approximately 4 million years ago and was the biggest carnivorous mammal of the modern period. It went extinct in the 1930s as a result of overhunting by farmers who blamed it for the deaths of their sheep and poultry. A lack of habitat due to agriculture, illness, and the introduction of dogs were further causes. From head to tail, this amazing monster existed in Tasmania, Australia, and New Guinea, and could grow to over two meters in length.

The Tasmanian Tiger (apex predator) was at the top of the food chain, ambushing prey such as kangaroos, wallabies, possums, birds, and small animals at night. It could expand its jaws 120 degrees and distend its stomach to swallow enormous amounts of food, allowing it to live in sparsely inhabited places. It was a unique marsupial in that both sexes possessed a pouch, which the male utilized to cover his genitals when racing through the bush.

Why Did They Go Extinct?
The Tasmanian Tiger quickly gained a reputation as a nuisance and a severe menace to cattle, however others argue that these allegations were greatly overblown. While the government paid over 2,000 bounties to exterminate the species, scientific data shows that population fragmentation was also caused by competition with canines, habitat degradation, and shifting fire regimes. Finally, in the 1920s, illness spread across the population.

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