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Tag: Extinct

Extinct Madagascan species named 'world's largest bird'

Extinct Madagascan species named 'world's largest bird'

Science
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- After decades of disagreement and debate, scientists have agreed to name Vorombe titan, an extinct Madagascan species, the "world's largest bird." Some 12,000 years ago, Madagascar was home to several colossal, flightless bird species, dubbed elephant birds. The birds belong to the family Aepyornithidae, but disagreements over the structure of the family tree has led to confusion over which of the species deserved the title of world's largest bird. Through the years, various studies have described the existence of 15 different species of elephant birds belonging to two different genera. The latest research -- published this week in the journal Royal Society Open Science -- suggests there are only four distinct elephant bird species. The four species belonging to three ge...
Mystery extinct ape found in ancient Chinese tomb

Mystery extinct ape found in ancient Chinese tomb

Science
An ape that is new to science has been discovered buried in an ancient tomb in China.The gibbon has already become extinct, suggesting humans wiped out primate populations long before the modern age.Living primates are in peril, with many on the brink of extinction.The new gibbon, named Junzi imperialis, may be the first to vanish as a direct result of human actions, according to scientists led by the Zoological Society of London."All of the world's apes - chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and gibbons - are threatened with extinction today due to human activities, but no ape species were thought to have become extinct as a result of hunting or habitat loss," said lead researcher Dr Samuel Turvey."However, the discovery of the re...
New species of extinct gibbon found in tomb of Chinese emperor's grandmother

New species of extinct gibbon found in tomb of Chinese emperor's grandmother

Science
June 21 (UPI) -- Scientists have discovered a new extinct species of gibbon. The ape's skull was discovered inside the tomb of the grandmother of an ancient Chinese emperor. Lady Xia was the grandmother of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, who came to power in 221 BC and ordered the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors. The noblewoman's tomb was first excavated in 2004. Inside the tomb, researchers discovered several animal burial pits. New analysis of a 2,200-year-old ape skull recovered from one of the pits suggests Lady Xia kept as a pet a gibbon unlike any modern species. "Having gibbons as pets appears to have been common among Chinese royals during ancient times," Alejandra Ortiz, a researcher at New York University, told NPR. Though researchers we...
DNA tests reveal plant species thought to be extinct

DNA tests reveal plant species thought to be extinct

Science
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- With the help of DNA testing, researchers at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis have rediscovered a plant species thought to be extinct.Dracaena umbraculifera was initially described in 1797. It was believed to be native to Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, 1,200 miles from the coast of southern Africa. After multiple attempts to locate the species on Mauritius, botanists declared the species extinct.Despite the declaration, D. umbraculifera continued to be cultivated at botanical gardens around the world.Researchers at the Missouri Botanical Garden set out to determine where the species truly originated and whether the species really was extinct in the wild. Scientists began by sequencing the species genome and comparing it to its closest relatives. Th...
The other Dodo: Extinct bird that used its wings as clubs

The other Dodo: Extinct bird that used its wings as clubs

Science
The extinct Dodo had a little-known relative on another island. This fascinating bird ultimately suffered the same fate as its iconic cousin, but we can reconstruct some of its biology thanks to the writings of a French explorer who studied it during his travels of the Indian Ocean.In the middle of the 18th century, at around the time the US was signing the declaration of independence, a large flightless bird quietly became extinct on an island in the Indian Ocean. Today this bird is all but forgotten. Early explorers to the tiny island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean described a "Dodo" living on the forested island. Males were grey-brown, and females sandy, both having strong legs and a long, proud necks... but despite outward similarities to the iconic Mauritian bird, this wasn't in fac...