The Recently Extinct Animals Database

The various recognised taxonomic groups have changed radically since Carl Linnaeus enumerated them in 1758 (Systema Naturae, tenth edition). With the creation of seemingly ever more trivial taxonomic ranks (e.g. McKenna & Bell, 1997) and the surgence of cladistics in the late 20th century, higher taxonomy has become both über dynamic and über complex. The situation is increasingly being recognised as artificial, since Linnaeus' taxonomic system is essentially predicated upon false bifurcations. While speciation (the evolution of new species) certainly entails genetic divergence, at the biological level it is far more subtle than incorrigible divisions. Populations often freely hybridise and introgress long after they have "diverged". In reality life is like a long, winding, labrinthyne river. It's salinity level may differ here and there, but such changes are just as natural as the clear continuity of one droplet with the next as they move together through genetic space and time. The odd one being liquidated through evaporation (i.e. extinction).

The conservation status assigned to each entry should be taken as, to varying degrees, tentative. Cases where there is no suitable habitat left are rare, and they may still persist in captivity (knowingly or not). Thus an airtight case for extinction is very difficult to build. While most cases of rediscovery are due to a failure to have previously surveyed significant parts of known or suitable habitat. Or the organism was not, or at least should not, have been feared extinct in the first place. Decades without a record means absolutely nothing in and of itself. While the taxonomic validity or synonymy of a given taxon is somewhat subjective, and there is the very slight risk that a taxon will be (consciously or subconsciously) synonymised in order to reduce the number of extinctions.


Phylum: Acanthocephala (Spiny-headed Worms)

Phylum: Amoebozoa

Phylum: Annelida (Earthworms, Leeches etc.)

Phylum: Apicomplexa

Phylum: Arthropoda (Arthropod Invertebrates)

Subphylum: Chelicerata (Spiders, Sea Spiders, Scorpions, Mites, Ticks etc.)

Subphylum: Crustacea (Crustaceans)

Subphylum: Hexapoda (Insects and their relatives)

Class: Entognatha (Springtails, Diplurans and Proturans)

Class: Insecta

Order: Blattodea (Cockroaches and Termites)
Order: Coleoptera (Beetles)
Order: Dermaptera (Earwigs)
Order: Diptera (Flies and Mosquitoes)
Order: [Embioptera (Webspinners)]1
Order: Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)
Order: Hemiptera (True Bugs)
Order: Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Sawflies, Wasps and Wood Wasps)
Order: Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Order: Mantodea
Order: Mecoptera (Fleas, Scorpionflies etc.)
Order: [Megaloptera (Alderflies, Dobsonflies and Fishflies)]
Order: Neuroptera (Net-winged insects)
Order: [Notoptera (Ice-crawlers and Gladiators)]
Order: Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Order: Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Locusts, Crickets, Wetas and Katydids)
Order: Phasmatodea  (Stick Insects or Walking Sticks)
Order: Phthiraptera (Louse)
Order: Plecoptera (Stoneflies)
Order: Psocodea (Lice)
Order: [Psocoptera (Booklice or Barklice or Barkflies)]
Order: [Thysanoptera (Thrips)]1
Order: Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
Order: [Zoraptera (Angel Insects)]

Subphylum: Myriapoda (Centipedes, Millipedes, Pauropoda & Symphyla)

Phylum: [Brachiopoda (Lamp Shells)]

Phylum: Bryozoa (Bryozoans)

Phylum: [Chaetognatha]

Phylum: Chordata (Chordates)

Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned Fish)

Subclass: Chondrostei (Cartilaginous Fish)

Subclass: [Cladistia (Bichirs and Reedfish)]1

Subclass: Neopterygii (New-Finned Fish)

Class: Amphibia (Frogs, Toads, Salamanders etc.)

Order: Anura (Frogs and Toads)

Order: Gymnophiona (Caecilians)

Order: Urodela (Salamanders, Newts, Axolotls etc.)

Class: Aves (Birds)

Superorder: Galloanserae

Order: Anseriformes (Waterfowl)
Order: Galliformes (Francolins, Junglefowl, Mound-builders, Pheasants, Turkeys, etc.)
Order: †Gastornithiformes (Dromornithids or Mihirungs)

Superorder: Neoaves

Order: Accipitriformes (Eagles, Hawks, Kites, Secretarybirds, Ospreys, Old World Vultures etc.)
Order: Apodiformes (Hummingbirds, Swifts and Treeswifts)
Order: Bucerotiformes (Hornbills, Hoopoes, Scimitarbills, and Wood Hoopoes)
Order: Caprimulgiformes (Frogmouths, Nightjars, Oilbirds, Owlet-nightjars and Potoos)
Order: Cariamiformes (Seriemas and Terror Birds)
Order: Cathartiformes (New World Vultures)
Order: Charadriiformes (Auks, Gulls, Terns and Waders)
Order: Ciconiiformes (Adjutant's, Jabirus, Openbills and Storks)
Order: [Coliiformes (Mousebirds)]
Order: Columbiformes (Doves and Pigeons)
Order: Coraciiformes (Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Motmots, Rollers, Todies)
Order: Cuculiformes (Anis, Couas, Cuckoos, Ground-Cuckoos etc.)
Order: Eurypygiformes (Kagus and Sunbitterns)
Order: Falconiformes (Caracaras, Falcons, Kestrels, etc.)
Order: [Gaviiformes (Loons)]
Order: Gruiformes (Crakes, Cranes, Fluftails, Gallinues, Limpkins, Rails, Trumpeters, Wood-Rails, etc.)
Order: [Leptosomiformes (Cuckoorollers)]
Order: [Mesitornithiformes (Mesites)]
Order: Musophagiformes (Turacos, Go-Away-Birds and Plantain-Eaters)
Order: [Opisthocomiformes (Hoatzin)]
Order: Otidiformes (Bustards, Floricans and Korhaans)
Order: Passeriformes (Passerine Birds)
Order: Pelecaniformes (Egrets, Herons, Ibises, Pelicans, Shoebills, etc.)
Order: [Phaethontiformes (Tropicbirds)]
Order: Phoenicopteriformes (Flamingos)
Order: Piciformes
Order: Podicipediformes (Grebes)
Order: Procellariiformes (Albatrosses, Petrels, Shearwaters and Storm Petrels)
Order: Psittaciformes (Cockatoos and Parrots)
Order: Pteroclidiformes (Sandgrouse)
Order: Sphenisciformes (Penguins)
Order: Strigiformes (Owls)
Order: Suliformes (Boobies, Cormorants, Darters, Frigatebirds and Shags)
Order: [Trogoniformes (Quetzals and Trogons)]

Superorder: Notopalaeognathae

Order: †Aepyornithiformes (Elephant Birds)
Order: Apterygiformes (Kiwis)
Order: Casuariiformes (Casowaries and Emus)
Order: †Dinornithiformes (Moa)
Order: Rheiformes (Rheas)
Order: Tinamiformes (Tinamous)

Superorder: Struthionimorphae

Order: Struthioniformes (Ostriches)

Class: Chondrichthyes (Sharks, Rays etc.)

Class: Hyperoartia/Petromyzontida (Lampreys)

Class: Mammalia (Mammals)

Infraclass: Australosphenida (includes Monotremes: Echidnas and Platypuses)

Infraclass: Eutheria (Placental Mammals)

Superorder: Afrotheria

Order: Afrosoricida/Tenrecoidea (Golden Moles and Tenrecs)

Order: Macroscelidea (Elephant Shrews)

Order: Proboscidea (Elephants, Mammoths and Mastodons)

Order: Sirenia

Order: Tubulidentata (Aardvarks)

Superorder: Boreoeutheria

Order: Artiodactyla (Even-toed Ungulates)

Order: Carnivora (Carnivores)

Order: Chiroptera (Bats)

Order: Eulipotyphla (Moles, Shrews, Solenodons)

Order: Lagomorpha (Rabbits, Hares, Pikas)

Order: †Litopterna (Macraucheniids)

Order: †Notoungulata (Notoungulates)

Order: Perissodactyla (Odd-toed Ungulates)

Order: Pholidota (Pangolins)

Order: Primates (Apes, Monkeys, Lemurs, Lorises, Tarsiers, Aye-aye)

Order: Rodentia (Rodents)

Superorder: Xenarthra

Order: Cingulata (Armadillos)

Order: Pilosa (Anteaters and Sloths)

Infraclass: Metatheria (Marsupials)

Superorder: Ameridelphia

Order: Didelphimorphia (Opossums)

Order: [Paucituberculata]1

Superorder: Australidelphia

Order: Dasyuromorphia (Tasmanian Devil, Thylacine, Quolls, Dunnarts, Numbat etc.)

Order: Diprotodontia (Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wombats, Possums etc.)

Order: [Microbiotheria]1

Order: [Notoryctemorphia (Marsupial Moles)]1

Order: Peramelemorphia (Bandicoots, Bilbies and Pig-footed Bandicoots)

Class: [Myxini (Hagfishes)]

Class: Reptilia (Snakes, Lizards, Tortoises etc.)

Order: Crocodilia/Crocodylia

Order: Rhynchocephalia (Tuataras and their extinct relatives)

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Amphisbaenia (Worm Lizards)
Suborder: Ophidia (Serpentes)
Suborder: Sauria (Lacertilia)

Order: Testudines

Class: [Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish)]1

Phylum: Ciliophora (Ciliates)

Phylum: Cnidaria (Jellyfish, Coral, Sea Anemones etc.)

Phylum: [Ctenophora (Comb Jellies)]1

Phylum: [Dicyemida]

Phylum: Echinodermata (Echinoderms: Starfish, Sea Cucumbers etc.)

Phylum: [Entoprocta]

Phylum: [Gastrotricha]

Phylum: [Gnathostomulida]

Phylum: Hemichordata (Acorn Worms etc.)

Phylum: [Kinorhyncha]

Phylum: [Loricifera]

Phylum: Mollusca (Snails, Bivalves, Chitons etc.)

Class: [Aplacophora]

Class: Bivalvia (Mussels, Clams, Oysters etc.)

Class: Cephalopoda (Cuttlefish, Nautiluses, Octopuses, Squid etc.)

Class: Gastropoda (Land Snails, Sea Snails etc.)2

Subclass: Caenogastropoda

Subclass: Heterobranchia

Order: Aplysiida [Anaspidea]
Order: Cephalaspidea
Order: [Ellobiida]
Order: Nudibranchia
Order: [Pleurobranchida]
Order: [Pteropoda]
Order: [Ringiculida]
Order: [Runcinida]
Order: Stylommatophora
Suborder: Achatinina
Suborder: [Scolodontina]
Suborder: Helicina

Infraorder: incertae sedis

Infraorder: Arionoidei

Infraorder: Clausilioidei

Infraorder: Helicoidei

Infraorder: Limacoidei

Infraorder: Oleacinoidei

Infraorder: Orthalicoidei

Infraorder: Pupilloidei

Infraorder: Rhytidoidei

Infraorder: Succineoidei

Order: [Systellommatophora]
Order: [Umbraculida]
Superorder: Hygrophila
Superorder: Pylopulmonata
Superorder: Sacoglossa
(informal): "Lower Heterobranchia"

Subclass: [Neomphaliones]

Subclass: Neritimorpha

Subclass: Patellogastropoda (True Limpets)

Subclass: Vetigastropoda

Class: [Monoplacophora]

Phylum: [Nematomorpha]

Class: Polyplacophora (Chitons)

Class: Scaphopoda (Tusk Shells)

Phylum: Nematoda (Nematodes)

Phylum: Nemertea (Ribbon Worms)

Phylum: Onychophora (Velvet Worms)

Phylum: [Orthonectida]

Phylum: [Phoronida]

Phylum: [Placozoa]

Phylum: Platyhelminthes (Flat Worms)

Phylum: Porifera (Sea Sponges)

Phylum: [Priapulida]

Phylum: [Rotifera]

Phylum: [Sipuncula]

Phylum: Tardigrada (Water Bears or Moss Piglets)

Phylum: [Xenacoelomorpha]



1 Taxonomic ranks encompassed by square brackets (i.e. "[" and "]") have no relevant subordinate taxa. That is, none of the species or subspecies included therein both a) survived at least until the late Pleistocene and b) are considered missing, extinct, rediscovered, or have been removed from these former categories due to taxonomic invalidity. This juxtaposition of non-empty and empty taxonomic units helps to identify potential instances of taxonomic bias in recent extinctions, and by extension those groups of organisms that may have an innate buffer against extinction.

2 Gastropod taxonomy follows (Bouchet et al., 2017).