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Lord_Brendan
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:55 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:30 am 
 

I thought it would be a good idea to discuss extinct animals, both from millions of years ago to say 10,000 years ago. It'd also be interesting to talk about evolutionary theories of past and future. I have always had an interest in animals, but especially extinct animals, ranging from Australian Megafauna to dinosaurs and everything between. Evolution is also a huge interest and it is cool to think of what could exist once humanity is wiped out by whatever. I believe it will happen somehow and quite soon (in terms of Earth's lifespan), not sure how exactly of course

So, are there any extinct animals that interest you immensely and why? Do we know much about what caused said animal to become extinct? What have their common ancestors done? And what do you think will happen once humanity is gone and evolution is allowed to thrive?

Of course, pics would be interesting but please use spoiler tags for large pics and discuss at length your views, rather than just name drop animals and turn this into a list thread
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mindshadow
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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:36 am
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:35 pm 
 

Reading this post I wondered how human overpopulation and our continued urban sprawl affects animal evolution (if at all?). Found this about Easter Island, -

Spoiler: show
Lesson from Easter Island

The effects of human overpopulation have been documented in the history of Easter Island, where a human population with finite resources was nearly wiped out when their consumption increased beyond what the island could sustain. An island once lush with diverse plant and animal species and fertile volcanic soil became nearly uninhabitable 1,300 years later. The population peak on the island has been estimated between 7,000 and 20,000 people. Trees were cut down for firewood, canoes, and wooden sleds for transporting the carved stone heads for which the island is known. Because of deforestation, the islanders lacked the resources necessary to make ropes and seaworthy canoes. Fishing from shore was not as effective as fishing out on the ocean. Also, without canoes, the islanders had nowhere to go. They wiped out sea birds, land birds, lizards and snails. Deforestation also led to erosion, which made it difficult to grow crops. Without adequate food, the population crashed. A rich and complex society that erected now-iconic stone monuments was reduced to living in caves


I've often read about how Mammoths could be brought back (some found well preserved in Siberia) but I'm not sure it's right, they would just be curiositys, would that be fair on them? Maybe they would be no worse off than elephants?

I've often wondered at the possibilities of extracting DNA from insects in amber, but have read scientists agree DNA doesn't survive in amber? (good topic for movies but seems like it will always be in the realm of fiction?).
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Lord_Brendan
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:55 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:43 pm 
 

That is quite depressing but interesting about Easter Island

Without humanity and the safety of some animals near us, and the eradication of many species happening today, evolution would have free range to do whatever "it" pleases. Say, we die out. What would animals be like in say 10 million years? An ice age would have happened by then (probably), so there may be a kind of mass extinction. What species would adapt and survive, or even thrive?
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Grave_Wyrm
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
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Location: Into the darkness, into the grave
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:44 pm 
 

mindshadow wrote:
how human overpopulation and our continued urban sprawl affects animal evolution (if at all?).

Environmental effects on the whole have a huge effect as far as natural selection. Evolution, as I think you're imagining it, takes much longer.

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Pippin_Took
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:28 pm
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Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:29 pm 
 

Haven't heard of any actual DNA preserved in an insect- instinctively I'm not convinced it's possible, but that's far from my area of expertise. Something that's interesting though, mindshadow, is a recent study performed by some of the researchers in the museum I work at in DC, where they identified what seemed to be blood proteins in the engorged body of a mosquito trapped in Eocene sediments. There's an article published in PNAS about it, which I've not read, and I guess is paywalled. The short piece in the department newsletter ought to be available to view though and there was certainly a fair bit of media coverage about the story last year.

Cool topic. I really like the idea of gigantic marine beasts roaming the ancient oceans. Especially those big armoured fish!

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painfulserenity
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Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 160
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:28 pm 
 

Yeah, we can never in a million years bring the dinosaurs back because there is absolutely no DNA. Mammoths and other relatively recently extinct animals are a different story. However, even though we have found intact Mammoths with usable DNA, the DNA sample decay before they can be used in any way. It sucks, but unless we can find some way to keep the DNA preserved long enough, we won't be seeing mammoths anytime soon.

I do think that our urbanization of the Earth will most certainly have an impact on other animals. Take the crow for instance; crows can often be seen placing nuts in intersections for cars to break the shells. Now that might seem like nothing unusual, but the crows actually pay attention to when the stop lights turn red, and know that the cars will not go on red. This is obviously an adaptation to urban world. Although the crow has evolved alongside humans for quite sometime so this shouldn't be too surprising. What will be really interesting is how animals lie deer and other wildlife will change as the Earth become more and more urban.

Also, there is a book series called "Meg" about megalodons rising from the Mariana trench. So if extinct creatures is your thing, I recommend checking it out. Just a forewarning, the books all have essentially the same plot and you don't learn much about the megalodon scientifically other than its' size.

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volutetheswarth
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:37 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:14 am 
 

I've always been fascinated with the extinct large gorillas Gigantopithecus blacki, although not King Kong size, at almost 10 ft tall they still would have been incredibly scary to encounter. I hope at some point they find more fossils to determine how it actually appeared.
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Byrain
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Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:45 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:08 pm 
 

painfulserenity wrote:
I do think that our urbanization of the Earth will most certainly have an impact on other animals.


This is very true, except it has already happened, will continue to happen and its not only animals effected, for instance most of the plants in my area are not native. Humans have done lots of damage on the ecosystem with urbanization and deforestation among other things. Take the logging in the rainforests and the sheer number of insect species which are both disappearing and still unknown to science. Or how few mycorhizal fungi are found in the central Californian valley. I'm sure we could fill a whole page of examples...

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elf48687789
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:03 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:58 am 
 

These are fascinating, relatively small though: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/18/weird-youth-animal-kingdom/

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Lord_Brendan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:51 pm 
 

elf48687789 wrote:


Very interesting
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Erotetic
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:57 am 
 

Caustic Soda recently did an episode about megafauna :)
http://www.causticsodapodcast.com/2013/08/11/megafauna/
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Metal_Jaw
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:57 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:26 am 
 

GIANT. FUCKING. CROCODILES. There were beasts called Deinosuchus and Sacrosuchus that were big enough to eat dinosaurs. The concept of a crocodile that can eat a dinosaur blows my mind.

Also a creature called Megalania. It's basically an older realative of the komodo dragon, except like twice as big, if not bigger. It's believed that these creatures died out fairly recently; theories show that original Australian natives may have encountered them.

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Lord_Brendan
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:18 am 
 

Metal_Jaw wrote:
GIANT. FUCKING. CROCODILES. There were beasts called Deinosuchus and Sacrosuchus that were big enough to eat dinosaurs. The concept of a crocodile that can eat a dinosaur blows my mind.

Also a creature called Megalania. It's basically an older realative of the komodo dragon, except like twice as big, if not bigger. It's believed that these creatures died out fairly recently; theories show that original Australian natives may have encountered them.


I know a bit about Megalania and it is heaps scary :lol: Australian megafauna was strange. A carnivorous bilby, a 2 ton pre-curser of the wombat, giant kangaroos. Very interesting stuff
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Erotetic
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:02 pm 
 

Metal_Jaw wrote:
GIANT. FUCKING. CROCODILES. There were beasts called Deinosuchus and Sacrosuchus that were big enough to eat dinosaurs. The concept of a crocodile that can eat a dinosaur blows my mind.

Also a creature called Megalania. It's basically an older realative of the komodo dragon, except like twice as big, if not bigger. It's believed that these creatures died out fairly recently; theories show that original Australian natives may have encountered them.


I'm big enough to eat a dinosaur.
not any dinosaur, but maybe one of the closer relatives to, say, chickens...
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Lord_Brendan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:41 am 
 

:lol: Erotetic
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Kahalachan
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 1:46 am
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:51 am 
 

What I find interesting are those that are so different from their modern day relatives.

Megatherium - A giant sloth. Sloths being so docile and weak now, it's hard to believe one existed that could kill the big cats.

Spoiler: show
Image


Glyptodon - The fact our human ancestors saw these giant armadillos is really cool. You only hear of mammoths with cavemen, but they saw tons of other really cool animals.

Spoiler: show
Image


Last month I watched a documentary on Titanaboa on Netfilx.

Spoiler: show
Image



elf48687789 wrote:


That looks like some alien life form. Awesome

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Lord_Brendan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:31 am 
 

Agreed Kahalachan. What was the name of this documentary?
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Kahalachan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:53 pm 
 

Lord_Brendan wrote:
Agreed Kahalachan. What was the name of this documentary?


Titanoboa: Monster Snake

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/we ... ster-snake

Many of the other animals I posted can be seen on Walking with Beasts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_with_Beasts

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Lord_Brendan
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:55 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:35 am 
 

Kahalachan wrote:
Lord_Brendan wrote:
Agreed Kahalachan. What was the name of this documentary?


Titanoboa: Monster Snake

http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/we ... ster-snake

Many of the other animals I posted can be seen on Walking with Beasts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_with_Beasts


Thanks for that. I will be looking it up

I have been reading a lot about the first dinosaur species. Very interesting stuff
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