Discover the World's Recently Lost and Rediscovered (Sub)Species!
Explore this website to learn more about the many recently extinct and rediscovered plants, animals and other living things!
This website attempts to tell the stories of the many recently lost and refound forms of life that do not have their own voice. Or at least cannot communicate their (near) fatal experiences to us. I hope to capture as many of the last rays of the dying light of species as they fade away as possible; to echo the sorrow felt and expressed by the lingering ghosts of species we have sent into oblivion as they wander, swim, fly, grow and otherwise move, now silently and invisibly, through their former habitat. To shine a torch on a global problem of planetary proportions. Outer space may hold many biological treasures that we will never see, but species on this planet are out of space and out of time. Life will exist on Earth as long as it itself exists, but that does not mean that the enivitable eventual loss of all biodiversity in a supernova renders premature extinction any less anachronistic.
As one mere individual working alone (but not in isolation) I cannot reasonably hope to possess a complete knowledge of my ghostly quarry. Much of the information that existed has been lost in the mists of rainforests, deserts and oceans. And what remains is but a shadow of a former living, breathing, monolith. Still there is no point dwelling on what is already lost if that would exacerbate the problem, wasting time and resources that could be used to prevent the loss of yet more life forms hanging by a ligament or a tendon. But there is every reason to think that studying the past can help to determine the future. As our teacher, to ignore the lessons she provides would be the epitome of complacency, something we humans are all too well known for. We wouldn't just be sealing our fate, we would be failing at evolution. We are killing ourselves so subtley that our exponential growth as a global population is itself the mechanism of our downfall. Ergo, death by über flourishing.
As I study extinction I become ever more conscious of my own personal demise, my individual extinction. Which is why this website is all the more important (to me). Like abiogenesis, I hope that this website helps not merely to cease the increase in entropy but to help actively reverse it. To not merely record for posterity the lives of those who came and went before us in vastly different guises, but to encourage people to take up a career in conservation biology, or at least become actively aware of the plight of non-human species on this Planet of the Ape (since we also threaten our taxonimically close cousins, the other Apes). We think we are guerilla fighters, as if the biological world en masse is somehow a greater threat to us than we are to it, even though we depend so heavily upon it that we could not exist without it. We don't bite the hand that feeds us, we poison it and rejoice at it's slow and painful death. We grasp the situation infinitely less than that dying hand grasps the air in it's writhings. We as a species are pathetic.
In the future accurate statistics for every single taxonomic group will be available here. At present the database (accessible here) contains 8,700+ taxa. This includes 8,000+ animals, 1,700+ plants and a handful of other entries.