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Tag: extinction

Extinction: Last chance to save ‘rhinos of the oceans’

Extinction: Last chance to save ‘rhinos of the oceans’

Science
Conservationists say a key wildlife summit could be the "last chance saloon" for saving sharks and rays pushed to extinction by the shark fin trade.About 100 million sharks are estimated to be killed each year for their fins and meat.On Sunday, countries will discuss giving more species of sharks and rays protection under wildlife trade rules.These include mako sharks and the little-known "rhino rays".Wedgefish and guitarfish are collectively known as "rhino rays", because of their elongated snouts. They are now the most endangered marine fish group, according to a recent scientific assessment. "With this new science just come out, fresh in everyone's minds a month ago, on these wedgefish and guitarfish, it's clearly last chance ...
Extinction: Humans played big role in demise of the cave bear

Extinction: Humans played big role in demise of the cave bear

Science
The arrival of human ancestors in Europe some 40,000 years ago coincided with the downfall of the cave bear, scientists have revealed.New evidence suggests humans hunted the bear and drove it from caves, putting it on the road to extinction.The fate of the species was sealed by other pressures, such as the onset of the last Ice Age, and shrinking food resources.The bear eventually died out 24,000 years ago."We see this dramatic drop in the population of the cave bear starting from 40,000 years ago, which coincides with the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe," said Prof Verena Schuenemann of the University of Zurich, who led the study."It is the clearest evidence we have so far that humans might have played a big role...
Plant extinction ‘bad news for all species’

Plant extinction ‘bad news for all species’

Science
Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years, according to a comprehensive study.The number is based on actual extinctions rather than estimates, and is twice that of all bird, mammal and amphibian extinctions combined.Scientists say plant extinction is occurring up to 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally.In May, a UN report estimated that one million animal and plant species were threatened with extinction. Researchers say their analysis of all documented plant extinctions in the world shows what lessons can be learned to stop future extinctions.Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few could name an extinct plant, said Dr Aelys Hum...
Declining fertility led to Neanderthal extinction, new model suggests

Declining fertility led to Neanderthal extinction, new model suggests

Science
May 31 (UPI) -- To better understand the decline of Neanderthals, researchers in France developed a population model and used simulations to determine which demographic factors had the largest effect on Neanderthal numbers. Their analysis, published this week in the journal PLOS One, showed declining fertility offers the likeliest explanation for the disappearance of the Neanderthals. Scientists have previously suggested the Neanderthal's extinction is best explained by catastrophe, like climate change or the spread of disease. But with limited empirical evidence, such hypotheses are difficult to test. Neanderthal remains suggest the hominin species died out over a period of 4,000 to 10,000 years. To better understand this decline, researchers built a model and ran simulations to test th...
Bedbugs survived the dinosaur extinction event

Bedbugs survived the dinosaur extinction event

Science
A study that began as an investigation into the "utterly bizarre" way in which bedbugs reproduce has revealed they have existed for far longer than humans. DNA samples from 30 species of bedbug revealed the insects had been around for at least 115 million years. The blood-sucking parasites predate their earliest known hosts - bats - by more than 50 million years. The surprising finding is published in the journal Current Biology.Prof Mike Siva-Jothy, from the University of Sheffield's department of animal and plant sciences, who was part of the research team, said its initial investigation had been into what is known as "traumatic insemination".Male bedbugs have a dagger-like penis, with which they stab the female to inseminate d...