Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The End of an Entire Evolutionary Line

Not just a species, an entire line. Scientists have declared the Yangtze river dolphin to be officially extinct. Be sure to click on the photo gallery at the bottom for a look at some other endangered species from the river, as well as picture number three, which is a stunner.

Wikipedia has a decent article about the Baiji, as it is locally known. Note that the species was up to 25 million years old, and that it's the first aquatic mammal we've forced into extinction since the 1950s. What the articles don't note, though, is that it is accepted practice for a species not to be declared officially extinct for a longer period of time than was allotted here. My memory may be faulty, but it could be as long as 50 years, which means that the animal can not have been spotted for that length of time for it to be removed from functional extinction status. For this animal to be declared extinct so quickly after an unsuccessful survey in 2006 shows just how hopeless they consider the situation to be.

I remember the elation I felt over the purported find of the Ivory-billed woodpecker, and I still hold out hope it proves to be a solid find. Sadly, today is a day for the complete opposite feeling.

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]