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1/3 of 'extinct' animals show up again

cpwill

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Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said.

A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.... The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.
 

1069

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Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said.

A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.... The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.

Um... good?
I've read about one species of bird, assumed to be extinct since the 1940s, that was recently sighted on an island somewhere in Asia.
I had no idea it was a third of all extinct species.
That defies credulity.
But like I said: if it's true, that's good.
 

1069

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Ah.
Further on, the article states:

"More than a third of mammal species that have been classified as extinct or possibly extinct, or flagged as missing, have been rediscovered."



That makes a bit more sense.
Still, good news.
 

cpwill

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well, 1/3 of animals. but yes, it certainly throws into question some of the no-need-for-debate assumptions that have swirled around extinction threat/rate issues
 

Deuce

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That's pretty hilarious. No sightings for 80 years and then they finally get declared extinct, only to pop up again. "HAHAH FOOLED YOU, STUPID HUMANS!"

I've always thought that animals definitely have a sense of humor.
 

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Great, so they went from being extinct back to being critically endangered.

I'm glad they still exist but that doesn't mean we should breathe a sigh of relief and assume the problems are gone.

Wildlife are part of this planet's heritage and much of them have something to teach humans. Most of our innovations originate from observing natural behaviours, and most pharmaceuticals originate from studying plant extracts and their interactions.

Preserving ecosystems wherever possible is only of benefit to us.
 

rathi

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well, 1/3 of animals. but yes, it certainly throws into question some of the no-need-for-debate assumptions that have swirled around extinction threat/rate issues
Not really. It is roughly comparable to finding that someone presumed dead is actually in a hospital in Mexico comatose and missing both kidneys. There is a wide gap between "worst-case scenario" and "everything is peachy".
 

molten_dragon

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I can't say I'm really surprised about this. The earth is a big place, and if there are only a few dozen or even a few hundred of a particular species left alive, it would be real easy to overlook them.
 

Aunt Spiker

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If a species, though, is extinct due to an inability to adapt - then why do we really *need* them to survive?
So we're not the "reason" for their extinction? Good old human guilt - emotional preservation. It happens - but it better not be *our* fault.
 

rathi

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If a species, though, is extinct due to an inability to adapt - then why do we really *need* them to survive?
So we're not the "reason" for their extinction? Good old human guilt - emotional preservation. It happens - but it better not be *our* fault.
Extinction kills of a lot of otherwise useful species that have use in scientific or medical applications. We would be better off ignoring cute and worthless animals in favor of organisms vital to the planets ecosystem or have other practical uses.
 

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Extinction kills of a lot of otherwise useful species that have use in scientific or medical applications. We would be better off ignoring cute and worthless animals in favor of organisms vital to the planets ecosystem or have other practical uses.
While I don't believe any animal is "worthless", I see pandas as being somewhat of a genetic dead-end.
They're not part of the food chain; they don't eat any other animal, and nothing eats them. The only plant they eat is bamboo, which does nothing for the environment; it's not like they're needed to keep the bamboo in check.
And to top it all off, we practically have to dress up in lingerie and fellate them ourselves in order to get them to breed.
Sure, they're "cute". I suppose.
But it seems our energies could be better spent.
 

Orion

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If a species, though, is extinct due to an inability to adapt - then why do we really *need* them to survive?
So we're not the "reason" for their extinction? Good old human guilt - emotional preservation. It happens - but it better not be *our* fault.
If they are going extinct due to natural means, then I say let them slip away. I no longer consider human industrial activities to be part of nature, so if our activities are destroying them then we need to stop. We may have unnatural societies but our healthy biology still relies on a healthy environment and balance with nature.
 

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If a species, though, is extinct due to an inability to adapt - then why do we really *need* them to survive?
So we're not the "reason" for their extinction? Good old human guilt - emotional preservation. It happens - but it better not be *our* fault.
The problem is once you start doing that, you run the risk of a systemic collapse. I hate to trot out the "web of life" metaphor but it's an apt one, if you start cutting strands based on your own value judgement, you run the risk of a failure in the ecosystem because you've removed too many parts that you cant put back.
 

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So what's the worst case scenario that's come from believing these animals have been extinct?
Or an actual species *going* extinct quite officially?

I see nothing that's really negative except for emotional aspects or human related issues (dependence for food, etc) - though I do agree that if it's remotely *because* of our activities (hunting, science use, etc) we *should* make strong efforts to avoid it because we're subverting nature.

I consider natural extinction to be part of that life cycle - an intricate part - which is what brings the end to many of these species, it seems. And after considering these species and others that have gone extinct - I don't see where nature has suffered extensively without recovering. (IE: whatever benefit that one species might have brought it simply found in another species.)
 

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Further, from the article:
‘Mammals missing in the 20th century were nearly three times as likely to be rediscovered as those that disappeared in the 19th century,’ Dr Fisher added.
That's a pretty damning commentary on modern "ecological science."

I remember reading back in the early nineties about an Arizona rancher who shot a striped tiger (like a Bengal tiger) on his land. It turned out that the critter used to be a native of those parts, but none had been sighted since 1910.

Black-footed ferrets were once thought to be extinct, until a rancher discovered a colony on his land near Meeteetse, Wyoming. The Fish & Wildlife Service promptly came and collected all 15 of them, for "safekeeping." The captured critters promptly caught distemper, and they all died. So the F&WS went back to the ranch and got some more, taking better care of them this time. My conclusion is that either (a) the wildlife biologists can't count, or (b) that they haven't really mastered their craft of knowing what's out there. In either case, I find it hard to take their conclusions about "endangered species" as seriously as they would like me to.
 

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So what's the worst case scenario that's come from believing these animals have been extinct?
Or an actual species *going* extinct quite officially?
We stop conservation efforts, believing the species has gone extinct and the species really DOES go extinct.

I see nothing that's really negative except for emotional aspects or human related issues (dependence for food, etc) - though I do agree that if it's remotely *because* of our activities (hunting, science use, etc) we *should* make strong efforts to avoid it because we're subverting nature.

I consider natural extinction to be part of that life cycle - an intricate part - which is what brings the end to many of these species, it seems. And after considering these species and others that have gone extinct - I don't see where nature has suffered extensively without recovering. (IE: whatever benefit that one species might have brought it simply found in another species.)
Extinction IS a natural part of the life cycle, but we have to recognize that it's a gradual process. Evolution weeds out species that are not fit to survive in favor of stronger species. What we are doing is categorically wiping out whole sections of the chain with little regard for the consequences.

We are introducing ourselves as a new evolutionary pressure in the natural world and thereby changing what natural selection is favoring.
 

Diogenes

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Extinction IS a natural part of the life cycle, but we have to recognize that it's a gradual process. Evolution weeds out species that are not fit to survive in favor of stronger species. What we are doing is categorically wiping out whole sections of the chain with little regard for the consequences.
True, and the trick is not to confuse the two causes. The Spotted Owl controversy is a case in point: The logging industry in the Pacific Northwest was cut back severely because of claims that the destruction of old-growth forest would wipe out the owls. Now, years later, it turns out that theory was totally off base and the spotted owls do *NOT* require old-growth forest, but they are being eliminated by a more aggressive species of owl coming up from California.

There is a lot more heat than light generated by the so-called "environmental science" which is little more than a convenient vehicle for rabble rousers.
 

Hoplite

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True, and the trick is not to confuse the two causes. The Spotted Owl controversy is a case in point: The logging industry in the Pacific Northwest was cut back severely because of claims that the destruction of old-growth forest would wipe out the owls. Now, years later, it turns out that theory was totally off base and the spotted owls do *NOT* require old-growth forest, but they are being eliminated by a more aggressive species of owl coming up from California.

There is a lot more heat than light generated by the so-called "environmental science" which is little more than a convenient vehicle for rabble rousers.
If your criticism is based solely on the fact that ESci doesnt always bat a perfect game, you have a lot to learn about science.
 

Manc Skipper

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If one third of "extinct" mammals are rediscovered, then two thirds are accurately described, and gone forever. Is this somehow more acceptable?
 
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bowerbird

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Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said.

A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.... The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.
But does not diminish the 2/3 that DO become extinct.

She listed from 1500 but today many animals are only classified as "presumed extinct" - I think even the thylacine is classified that way - because we cannot be 100% sure that there is not a breeding pair somewhere in Tasmania
 

bowerbird

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True, and the trick is not to confuse the two causes. The Spotted Owl controversy is a case in point: The logging industry in the Pacific Northwest was cut back severely because of claims that the destruction of old-growth forest would wipe out the owls. Now, years later, it turns out that theory was totally off base and the spotted owls do *NOT* require old-growth forest, but they are being eliminated by a more aggressive species of owl coming up from California.

There is a lot more heat than light generated by the so-called "environmental science" which is little more than a convenient vehicle for rabble rousers.
Since most of that old growth forest would go to making toilet paper for delicate American Tushies I would have to say that saving it would be a GOOD thing. How many other species were saved by the reduction of logging?
 

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If one third of "extinct" mammals are rediscovered, then two thirds are accurately described, and gone forever. Is this somehow more acceptable?
Or, perhaps, the other 2/3 simply haven't been reported yet. Trying to prove extinction is like trying to prove a negative. Just because you can't find any doesn't mean they are all gone.

At any rate, the hypothetical threat of "extinction" or other environmental "disaster" (based on the track record to date) is a pretty flimsy foundation for disrupting human lives.
 

bowerbird

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Or, perhaps, the other 2/3 simply haven't been reported yet. Trying to prove extinction is like trying to prove a negative. Just because you can't find any doesn't mean they are all gone.

At any rate, the hypothetical threat of "extinction" or other environmental "disaster" (based on the track record to date) is a pretty flimsy foundation for disrupting human lives.
True, true and any time you want to you can join the hunt for the Tasmanian Tiger - last seen early last century
 

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The problem with saying that human-caused extinctions are bad is that its asserting that somehow humans aren't a part of nature. We evolved from nature, we're reliant on nature (even if we do adjust it to our needs and wants, we still are reliant), we exist in nature, we're related to nature. How the hell are we not natural? We're not even the only species that changes its environment to suit itself. Ants create (relative to their size) large underground colonies by changing their environment. Cyanobacteria polluted the Earth's atmosphere to the point that over 20% of it is now oxygen! And that pollution killed off a far larger percentage of life on Earth than we've managed to. Frankly cyanobacteria puts humanity to shame in terms of pollution (in comparison Humans can't even get CO2 to 1% of the atmosphere). are creatures of nature no matter how much we try to deny it either explicitly or implicitly and thus human-caused extinctions are natural extinctions.

There is no morality involved with the survival or extinction of a species, not even humanity. There is simply the course of nature which we are an integral part of. However, if humans like surviving with the most ease possible we will hold back from causing the extinction of certain species that are useful to us. Any other reason for opposing extinction is an attempt to place humans in a situation they are not in: namely that of being above or outside of nature.
 

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Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said.

A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.... The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.
Really good to hear that they still exist, a very informative post btw.
 
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