Animals That No Longer Exist Because Humans Suck

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Humans are the most intelligent species on
Earth, even if sometimes we don’t behave that way. Yet all of our perceived shortcomings are
in fact evolutionary success stories. Our greed ensures that we survive at all costs-
in the wild it’s far better to overindulge today when food is available then try to ration
or be altruistic and risk famine or disaster tomorrow. Our complete disregard for the environment
is likewise the pinnacle of natural evolution- despite what your hippy best friend may tell
you, there is no balance in nature. Balance is achieved only through death- a
species will overpopulate and overconsume until resource scarcity forces it ‘into balance’
by starving most members to death. While we may be nature’s greatest success
story, we have exacted a terrible price on other animals that share the world with us. Hello and welcome to another episode of The
Infographics Show- today we’re taking a look at the top ten animals that went extinct because
Humans Sucks. 10. Quagga Quaggas were zebra-like animals that stood
about 4 to 4 feet 5 inches at the shoulder (125-135 cm). It had zebra-like stripes in the front half
of its torso, but perplexingly lost those stripes halfway down its body until it ended
in a stripe-free horse-like rear end. Unlike zebras though, the quagga’s stripes
were light on a darker background, though some argue that this was an optical illusion
and that the primary colors of the quagga were lighter with dark stripes. Quaggas had a very limited range even in their
prime, sticking to the very southern edges of traditional zebra territory in Africa and
mainly living south of the Orange River. Quaggas were observed in herds of 30-50, and
many accounts say they traveled in a very linear fashion. The name quagga comes from the distinctive
sound these animals made as they called out to each other. Ultimately it was overhunting and competition
with domestic cattle that led to the quagga’s demise, along with its extremely limited distribution
in the wild. Though a captive breeding program attempted
to save the species, only a single male was secured with no females and attempts to breed
with a horse resulted in a hybrid that did not bring back the original species. By 1878 the last wild Quagga died, and the
species went extinct. 9. Golden Toad Another species vulnerable to extinction,
the Golden Toad was a small toad that inhabited a small, high altitude region of 1.5 square
miles (4 sq km) in Costa Rica. First discovered in 1964, the last sighting
of a golden toad occurred on 15th May 1989, and since its extinction it has become the
poster child for the amphibian decline crisis. From their first discovery in 1964, population
surveys of about 1500 members were recorded until 1987. Knowing how fragile the toad was and the limited
amount of habitable space for this highly specialized species, a reserve of 4 square
kilometers was established, and eventually expanded to cover 105 square kilometers. Conservation efforts proved in vain though,
and in 1988 only ten or eleven toads were observed. The last observed toad was on May 15th, 1989,
and the species is now extinct. Many blame global warming for its extinction,
but the theory has since been disputed and other alternates put forward. 8. Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) Due to its geographic isolation, mammals in
Australia took a weird evolutionary path after the fall of the dinosaurs, resulting in an
explosion of marsupials that are unique to the continent. One of these predatory marsupials was the
Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger because of its distinctive striping that ran along its back. Once native to Australia, Tasmania, and New
Guinea, the Thylacine was a shy, nocturnal creature that was the size of a medium or
large dog. Thanks to human hunting and brushfires, the
Thylacine had already become extremely rare prior to the arrival of British settlers. An increase in human population starting 4,000
years ago, and the arrival of the dingo which directly competed for food, saw Thylacine
numbers plummet. After going extinct on mainland Australia,
a surviving population eked out an existence on the island of Tasmania. Yet falsely portrayed as a threat to livestock,
bounties on Thylacine heads- including pups- were paid out by local governments which paid
as much as 1 pound (100 pounds in today’s money) per head. Persecuted by hunters and farmers, the last
known thylacine killed in the wild was shot in 1930 by farmer Wilf Batty. 7. Megaladapis (Koala Lemur) Megaladapis, or the Koala Lemur, was one of
three extinct species of lemurs that inhabited Madagascar. About 4 to 5 feet (1.3 to 1.5 meters) in length
and 110 lbs (50 kg) in weight, Koala Lemurs would have been one of the biggest lemurs
on the island. Perfectly evolved to live in trees, its body
was squat and built more like a modern koala- hence the name- and it had long arms with
fingers, feet and toes specialized for grasping trees. Unlike other lemurs, the koala lemur had curved
hands and feet and its ankles and wrists lacked the stability needed to travel on the ground. Soon after the arrival of humans on Madagascar
2,300 years ago, the island’s giant lemur populations went into steep decline. As humans cleared the jungle with controlled
burns to make room for farmland, the exposed land turned to grassland which did not suit
the lemurs. This led to a population crash which ended
in extinction 500 to 600 years ago. 6. Steller’s Sea Cow From the same family as the dugong, Steller’s
Sea Cows were giant ocean-faring mammals that grew to 30 feet (9 meters) in length and weighed
up to 10 tons. It fed mainly on kelp and communicated with
sighs and snorts. Discovered in 1741, they were named after
naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller who observed the mammals while shipwrecked on Bering island. Like many animals on this list, the sea cow
was already vulnerable to extinction, having a highly limited range that covered the Commander
islands in the Bering Sea. Valued for its meat, fat, and hide, the very
slow-moving sea cow was hunted to completely extinction 27 years after its discovery. 5. Syrian Wild Ass Once ranging across present-day Iraq, Palestine,
Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, the Syrian wild ass was the smallest of all
equines, reaching only one meter at the shoulder. Yet despite its small stature, the Syrian
wild ass was completely untameable, and compared to thoroughbred horses for its beauty and
strength. European travelers during the 15th and 16th
centuries reported large herds of the animal, but over hunting started dropping its numbers
in the 18thand 19thcenturies. Its numbers were further impacted by the chaos
that ensured during World War I, and the last known wild specimen was shot in 1927. 4. Elephant Bird Weighing it at a whopping 1,600 pounds (730
kg) and standing 9.8 feet (3 meters) tall, the Elephant Bird was one of a family of huge
flightless birds that lived on the island of Madagascar. Laying eggs that weighed up to 22 pounds (10
kg), elephant birds were an impressive specimen indeed, and their eggs would have made for
a hell of an omelette. Originally widespread, scientists believe
that the arrival of humans led to a decrease in bird populations. Due to its small landmass, one theory known
as the Blitzkrieg hypothesis states that humans very quickly over-hunted the elephant bird
populations in Madagascar. An alternate theory however states that it
was the transfer of diseases from domesticated birds the humans brought with them, such as
chickens, that led to extinction for the elephant birds of isolated Madagascar. In all likelihood it was a combination of
the two- as European explorers reported regularly finding remains of their giant egg shells
among native villages, with huge pieces of egg shell at times used as bowls. Overhunted or wiped out by disease reports
on the ultimate extinction date vary but most believe they were wiped out by 1,000 AD. 3. Caucasian Wisent The Caucasian Wisent was a species of buffalo
that roamed the Caucasus mountains of Eastern Europe. Hunted for centuries, its numbers remained
relatively steady until the 17thcentury when human settlement in the mountains intensified. By the end of the 19th century its range had
shrunk to a mere one tenth of its previous habitat. In 1860 its population numbered about 2,000,
but by 1917 only 500-600 remained. Four years later in 1921 its numbers plummeted
to just 50. With local poaching of these magnificent beasts,
the last three Caucasian wisents were killed in 1927. Descending from a single bull born in 1907
and kept in captivity in Germany, hybrid wisents survive to this day in low numbers. Yet these hybrids are mostly made up of American
bison hybrids, and they are today described as a different subspecies. 2. Caribbean Monk Seal The only seal known to inhabit the Caribbean,
the Caribbean Monk Seal was a species of monk seal native to the warm waters of the tropical
latitudes. They were also some of the largest specimens,
reaching sizes of up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in length and weighing in between 375 and
600 pounds (170 to 270 kg). Colored brownish and/or grayish, these monk
seals had a lighter underside similar to many sharks today- this helped them avoid being
spotted from above or below by prey animals. Their bodies also hosted growths of algae,
giving some of them a slightly greenish appearance. The first mention of the Caribbean monk seal
comes from the second voyage of Christopher Columbus, when in August 1494 his ship laid
anchor off the island of Alta Velo and a party of men went ashore and killed 8 seals they
found on land. Records throughout the colonial period make
many mention of the docile seals being hunted for meat, and ultimately in the 18th and 19th
centuries the seals would be hunted exhaustedly for their meat and oil. After a 5 year search, the species was officially
declared extinct in 2008. 1. Russian Tracker The Russian Tracker is an extinct breed of
dog that was for hundreds of years used to herd cattle and chase off wild wolves. Related to today’s yellow russian retrievers,
the Tracker was by all accounts an extremely hardy dog that weighed in at 100 pounds (45
kg) and stood 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulder. This fierce and stalwart companion was valued
for its fearless nature and its ability to chase off wolves and wild bears, keeping its
flocks safe. Highly intelligent, legend says that a Tracker
could keep itself and its flock alive for months with no human help whatsoever. Unlike the rest of the animals on this list,
the Russian Tracker met its extinction via cross-breeding, suffering the same fate as
many cat and dog breeds of yesteryear. It’s not known exactly when it went extinct,
but purebreds could still be found well into the late 1800s. Humanity has exacted a terrible toll on the
species of this world, but even though it can be tempting to think we are unnatural
freaks and somehow ‘apart’ from nature, the truth is that we are simply nature in its
finest, most successful form. Life routinely overconsumes and edges out
lesser suited competitors into extinction, and the only balance ultimately comes from
death. Evolution it seems is a force hellbent on
mass murder, giving us all the natural qualities that we have indulged in for thousands of
years that have made us the most successful, and the most terrible of species. Yet ultimately it’s on us to use the one gift
evolution gave us to put an end to the cycle of death, because unlike any other species
to have ever walked the face of the earth, we alone can look back on the trail of corpses
left in our wake and feel remorse. Only we alone can overcome nature and paradoxically,
protect her. Or, we can choose not to- nature doesn’t care
either way and long after we have destroyed the world and ourselves, she’ll pick up the
pieces and start again. Exactly as she has many times before. Which of these extinct animals would you like to have seen? If humanity could bring one of these animals
back Jurassic Park style, which would you choose, and why? Let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check out our other video,
How Many Lions Would It Take To Kill A T-Rex! Thanks for watching! Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe! See you next time on The Infographics Show!

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