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Tag: extinction

The Marshall Islands: A nation that fears it's on the brink of extinction

The Marshall Islands: A nation that fears it's on the brink of extinction

World
The Marshall Islands, a tiny nation of islands and atolls located between Hawaii and Australia, are in a fight for survival. In a battle between man and nature, officials say climate change is threatening the islands' existence. The most extreme predictions say that rising sea levels could make the nation uninhabitable as soon as 2030. The capital city of Majuro is only 300 feet wide in most places, yet the thin strip of land is home to over 27,000 people. Charlotte Jack, one of the city’s residents, lives just steps from the water’s edge — her front yard is the ocean. At 16 years old, she has grown up feeling its fury made worse by unpredictable weather. “One day it could be like… just the perfect day,” she said. “Tomorrow it could be li...
Humans 'off the hook' for African mammal extinction

Humans 'off the hook' for African mammal extinction

Science
New research has disputed a longstanding view that early humans helped wipe out many of the large mammals that once roamed Africa.Today, Africa broadly has five species of massive, plant-eating mammal; but millions of years ago there were many more types of giant herbivore.Why so many types vanished is not known, but many experts have blamed our tool-using, meat-eating ancestors.Now, researchers say the mammal decline began long before humans appeared.Writing in the journal Science, Tyler Faith, from the Natural History Museum of Utah, and colleagues argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions.This mainly took the form of an expansion of grasslands, in response to falling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂)...
'Test tube trees': An insurance policy against extinction?

'Test tube trees': An insurance policy against extinction?

Science
A tiny oak tree emerges from a test tube in the laboratory. The seedling of the mighty oak has had an unusual start in life. Raised using techniques pioneered in fertility labs, it is the product of new efforts to preserve the seeds of wild plants.The world is losing plants at an unprecedented rate, with about one in five thought to be at risk of extinction. "It's an insurance policy against extinction in the wild," says Dr John Dickie of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst in West Sussex. "In situ conservation, in a reserve, is always the best, because then evolution can happen all the time. This is a very cost-effective back-up in case that system fails." As a ba...
'Super-sized' mice threaten seabird colonies with extinction

'Super-sized' mice threaten seabird colonies with extinction

Science
Super-sized mice are killing millions of seabird chicks on a remote island in the South Atlantic, threatening some rare species with extinction. According to a study from the RSPB, the mice have learned to eat the eggs and chicks of the many millions of birds that make Gough Island their home.The group says that without action, the endangered Tristan albatross is likely to go extinct.A campaign is planned to eradicate the mice entirely in 2020. Restoring South Georgia's wildlife paradise Same-sex mice have babies Gough Island is a remote UK Overseas Territory, considered to be one of the world's most important seabird colonies, hosting more than 10 million birds. Mice...
Lord of the Rings toad on brink of extinction

Lord of the Rings toad on brink of extinction

Science
A toad named after the character Gollum in the fantasy novel Lord of the Rings has joined the latest list of animals deemed at risk of extinction.The amphibian lives not in the Misty Mountains, but on a Malaysian mountain.The toad got its name from Gollum, also known as Sméagol, in Tolkien's trilogy because scientists saw similarities between the two."Smeagol from Lord of the Rings is a semi-aquatic creature," said Dr Chan Kin Onn of the University of Singapore."[It has] large eyes, occurs up in the mountains and has long thin limbs. And funnily enough his digits are also extended. These are all characters that this little stream-toad also has."The toad, which goes by the scientific name, Ansonia smeago, is classed as Vuln...