Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yangtze river dolphin driven to extinction

The Yangtze river dolphin is now extinct. The freshwater marine mammal, which could grow to eight feet long and weigh up to a quarter of a ton, is the first large vertebrate forced to extinction by human activity in 50 years, and only the fourth time an entire evolutionary line of mammals has vanished from the face of the Earth since the year 1500.

Complete story here.

Here is a list of recently extinct mammals. Humans have played a significant role in the extinction of species prior to historic times but the true extent of such anthropogenic impacts during the Holocene (the last 11,000 years) remains unclear. However, after 1500 AD it is clear that humans are responsible for most recorded extinctions.

Major threats to ecosystems and biological diversity (biodiversity) are: Habitat Loss and Fragmentation; Over Exploitation; Pollution; Invasive Alien Species Co-Extinction; Climate Change (global warming).

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