Top 10 EXTINCT ANIMALS Caught On Tape
Hey YouTube, Jim here! Welcome to Top 10 Archive! The Earth is billions of years old and in that time has hosted an unfathomable number of species of plants and animals. While many of them existed before we ever did, there are entire species that have lived—and died—in our time here on Earth, allowing us the opportunity to capture these incredible creatures on camera, like these ten extinct animals.
Perhaps one of the most unique-looking animals on this list, the thylacine looked a bit like a cross between a tiger and a wolf. Native to Tasmania, as indicated by its name, the thylacine even acted like a combination of those two animals and shared the same carnivorous diet. One of the most interesting aspects of this animal is its ability to open its jaws to a 120° angle, which it used as a defense when it felt threatened. The last of its kind died in captivity in a zoo in Tasmania in 1936, but it is unknown what the specific cause of its extinction was. Some blame climate change while others point a finger at the introduction of the dingo to both Tasmania and mainland Australia.
Western Black Rhino
This large Savannah animal’s tale of extinction is fairly shocking as its population numbered in the millions in the early 1900s. As the century progressed, this number decreased to less than 5,000 animals and the trend continued until the species was officially declared extinct in 2011. The black rhino was actually gray in color and could move fairly quickly in spite of their large size and bulky shape. Their double horns were highly prized on the black market, which accounted for poachers hunting them into extinction throughout the duration of the 20th century.
Another beautiful bird that used to exist in extremely high numbers, the heath hen was hunted nearly into extinction in the 1800s due to how easy they were to find and eat. By the early 20th century, there were only fifty birds left, but they were protected on Martha’s Vineyard and reproduced rapidly, bringing them nearly out of danger by 1915. However, in the following years, a series of disasters led to their end. Between a fire that erased their new habitat and illness killing what remained of their population, the last living heath hen died in 1932.
A rather small fish native to western North America, the pupfish had blunt heads and a full row of teeth that were mainly used to eat larvae and algae. Though their coloring tended to camouflage them from their predators, overfishing was a small contributing factor to their extinction. In addition to this, their native spring in California became a popular tourist attraction, causing an increase in industry and construction in the area, which both limited and polluted their homes. Since it happened more quickly than they could adapt, the pupfish slowly died out and the very last one was caught in 1970, though they were not officially declared extinct until 1981.
This flightless bird was indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands until it was declared extinct in 1944. They were very quick on the ground and liked to eat insects and the unprotected eggs of other birds. The Laysan crake, or Laysan rail, could also be rather aggressive and defensive of its food. It is thought that the rabbits and guinea pigs introduced to the island ate much of the vegetation, causing a domino-like effect by reducing the habitats of many of the species the crake used as food.
Baiji River Dolphin
This freshwater dolphin was already extremely rare before it vanished in 2006. It was native to bodies of water in China, and was a carnivore that ate small fish. They were rather small compared to other dolphins, and had a characteristically bulbous head and long skinny nose. Many things contributed to their extinction, including illegal fishing, water contamination, and collisions with boats. There was an attempt to save their population with a conservation, but, as happens with many other endangered species, it was too late and no more of this rare dolphin have been seen.
This beautiful amphibian hasn’t been seen since 1989, and its extinction was actually the first to be blamed on global warming. It was a small and bright orange toad that was native to Costa Rica and mostly feasted on small insects. This tiny amphibian was believed to have spent the majority of its life under ground or in water, and was, on average, only two inches long. Scientists are no longer sure if global warming was actually the cause of the golden toad’s extinction and are now examining whether deforestation, pollution, or UV radiation could have been contributing factors.
Ivory Billed Woodpecker
This enormous woodpecker, the third largest in the world at one time, was native to Central America. The forests it called home were destroyed, causing their numbers to decrease drastically into the 1800s, and by the next century, there were only a couple left in the world. The ivory billed woodpecker is thought to have officially gone extinct somewhere in the middle of the 20th century, with the last confirmed sighting being in 1944. Their diet consisted mostly of beetle larvae that they found by scraping the bark off trees with their huge bills. Identification of this aerial noisemaker was by the unique noise they made while pecking tree trunks.
Caribbean Monk Seal
One of the earliest sightings of this animal was by Christopher Columbus himself, who referred to them in his journals as “sea wolves,” but unfortunately it was confirmed in 2008 that they were officially extinct. The Caribbean Monk Seal, named “monk” because it reminded scientists of Monks due to its bald head and rolls of skin around its neck. While they haven’t technically been sighted since 1952, they did have a widespread range in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. They were known for their non-aggressive behavior, making it that much easier to target them for their hide, meat, and fat.
This small bird native to Hawaii was one species of several other ‘o’o birds that preceded it into extinction. It was said to officially have disappeared as late as 1987, when its distinctive flute-like call was last heard. It was small and rather demure in color, being only brown or black. The extinction of the Kauai ‘O’o is blamed mostly on humans inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands and damaging habitats as well as the introduction of non-native species. Before being declared extinct, they were extremely rare for the duration of the 1900s and were mostly only identified by their distinctive call.