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Extinction, in biology, is the dying out or extermination of a species. Extinction occurs when species are diminished because of environmental forces (habitat fragmentation, global change, natural disaster, overexploitation of species for human use) or because of evolutionary changes in their members (genetic inbreeding, poor reproduction, decline in population numbers).
See the fact file below for more information on the Extinction or alternatively, you can download our 26-page Extinction worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Coextinction is when the loss of one species leads to the loss of another in a chain effect. A small impact in the beginning of an extinction can have an overall larger effect.
- It describes the loss of any interacting species, including competition with their counterparts, and specialist herbivores with their food source.
- One effect of coextinction is loss of evolutionary history. If the host becomes extinct, this can lead to the extinction of related parasites and the probable evolutionary potential it had over time.
- Mass extinction is a rare phenomenon. It happens every few million years but isolated extinctions are quite common.
- Most species that became extinct a million years ago were never scientifically documented. The only traces are those left through fossils.
- To date, scientists have categorized five major extinctions that happened on Earth.
- Permian Extinction – (265.1 million to 251.9 million years ago) – 95% of marine species like brachiopods and corals, and about 70% of land species including plants, insects, and vertebrates were wiped out.
- Ordovician – Silurian Extinction (443.8 million years ago) – 25% of marine families and 85% of marine species, e.g. brachiopods, bryozoans, conodonts, and trilobites were victims.
- Cretaceous – Tertiary Extinction (about 66.0 million years ago) – 80% of all animal species, including the dinosaurs, died out.
- End – Triassic extinction (201.3 million years ago) – 20% of marine families and some 76% of all extant species died out within 10,000 years. This is the period when an asteroid is believed to have hit Earth.
- Devonian extinctions (407.6 million to 358.9 million years ago) – 15–20% of marine families and 70–80% of all animal species and species perished, along with many corals, conodonts, and trilobites.
- According to some scientists, the Earth is now in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, but unlike the previous ones, humans are largely responsible for half of it.
- The presence of humans has caused several plants and animals to become extinct.
- Some human actions include hunting and overharvesting, the conversion of wetlands and forests to croplands and urban areas, and pollution.
- The introduction of invasive species, and other forms of human-caused destruction of natural environments has also resulted in the extinction of endemic animals.
- The increasing population size per country has also contributed to the loss of animals’ habitat.
- However, not all human-caused extinctions are detrimental; some are for the survival of the people and animals.
- The smallpox virus has already become extinct in the wild and polio is near to extinction.
OTHER CAUSES OF EXTINCTION
- Habitat degradation caused by natural causes such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and forest fires can also result in extinction.
- Invasive alien species can affect native species directly by predation, competition, and introducing pathogens or parasites that sicken or kill them.
- Climate change could also result in the extinction of animals. An area that was once green but turned into desert will kill many animals who fail to adapt to the changes in nature.
- Genetic pollution can also result in extinction. It is the the spread of altered genes from genetically engineered organisms to other, non- engineered organisms, especially by cross-pollination.
RESPONSES TO EXTINCTION
- Some scientists have proposed reviving extinct animals via cloning, using DNA from the remains of that species.
- For this to succeed, enough individuals would have to be cloned from the DNA of different individuals to create a viable population.
- The Pyrenean ibex, a subspecies of Spanish ibex that went extinct in 2000, was cloned. One clone was born alive in 2009, but died seven minutes later due to physical defects in the lungs.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Extinction across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Extinction worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Extinction, in biology, which is the dying out or extermination of a species. Extinction occurs when species are diminished because of environmental forces (habitat fragmentation, global change, natural disaster, overexploitation of species for human use) or because of evolutionary changes in their members (genetic inbreeding, poor reproduction, decline in population numbers).
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pop Star of the Past
- Correct Match
- Millennial Extinctions
- Modern Extinction
- Endangered Species
- Fauna Extinctions
- Humans in Danger
- The Call to Protect
- Response to Extinction
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Link will appear as Extinction Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
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