Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Articles related to extinction

Browse: Introduced Megafauna Are Rewilding Ecosystems Browse: Small Crater Responsible for the Great Dying
An Australian scientist believes he has identified the crater responsible for the greatest extinction in our planet’s history.
Browse: Most Megafauna Extinctions Precede Humans
The passionate debate about the cause of the extinction of Australia’s megafauna has taken yet another turn, with the publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of a paper claiming evidence that most of the giant species were gone before the first humans arrived.
Feature: Islands of Extinction
Native mammals are disappearing rapidly as an aggressive invader takes over in forests fragmented by a hydroelectric dam.
Feature: Volcanoes Sheltered Life through Ice Ages
Researchers studying the diversity of life in Antarctica have found surprising evidence that many plants and animals survived past ice ages by huddling close to warm volcanoes.
short-eared rock wallabies
Feature: Mammals on the Brink
Traditional ecological knowledge and western science have combined to address one of Australia’s most pressing biodiversity conservation issues – the decline of its native mammal species.
Feature: Rewilding Australia
Sometimes the best way to conserve biodiversity is to stand back and let wild animals do the hard work of ecological management.
Cover Story: New Ideas about the Neanderthal Extinction
Were modern humans so superior that they drove Neanderthals to extinction, or did their lonely existence leave them genetically vulnerable?
Browse: NZ Penguin Extinction Dated to Polynesian Arrival
 Credit: BirdImages/iStockphoto
Feature: Flower Evolution from the Birds to the Bees
Walking around in the Australian bush we can see a dazzling array of different flower colours, but have you ever wondered how and why these evolved?
Feature: A Solid Grip on the Moa Extinction
Were humans responsible for the extinction of New Zealand’s moa, or were they already in decline?
Feature: Hacking the Illegal Trade in Wildlife
Hackers should be deployed to disrupt a $23 billion online market in wildlife and wildlife parts.
Feature: Is Australia Undergoing an Insect Armageddon?
Long-term studies all over the world show a dramatic decline in insect diversity and numbers, but we know little about the health of Australian insect populations.
Browse: Mass Extinction Event When Australia Split from Antarctica
Browse: Australian Volcanoes Caused First Mass Extinction
Feature: Surviving Extinction in the Abyss
A new study finds evidence that deep-sea creatures survived periods when the oceans contained little or no oxygen.
© Yukon Government, Art by George "Rinaldino" Teichmann
Feature: Frozen in Time: What Caused the Extinction of the Ice Age Megafauna?
A new study of ancient DNA preserved in permafrost has revealed that Ice Age megafauna varied considerably in their ability to survive climate change and the spread of humans.
Credit: Angus McNab
Feature: Conservation Needs More Bite
What role can devils and dingoes play in curbing Australia’s rate of species extinctions?
DNA analysis of moa bones
Feature: DNA Points to Human Role in Moa Extinction
A new study of ancient DNA has revealed that New Zealand’s giant flightless moa were well-adapted to deal with the effects of climate and habitat change, leaving only overhunting and habitat destruction by humans as reasons for their extinction
Feature: Top 10 Science Stories of 2014
A recap of the top science stories in 2014, from Ebola's spread and a Facebook experiment that wasn't "liked" to the discovery of Richard III's remains and the world's largest dinosaur.
Excavations at Colosseum Chamber. Credit: Gilbert Price
Feature: The Ice Age Lizards of Oz
A chance finding in a Queensland cave has revealed that giant and dangerous lizards still lived when the first humans reached Australia.
Feature: The Giant Rats of Timor
Giant rats coexisted with humans for 40,000 years on the island of Timor. Their extinction is a cautionary tale about the ecological consequences of deforestation in South-East Asia today.
Credit: Peter Trusler
Feature: An Ancient Case of Mistaken Identity?
The megafaunal bird Genyornis was six times larger than an emu. Why, then, was its egg the same size? Or was it?
Feature: Fool’s Gold & the Ascent of Man
Ancient samples of pyrite, or fool’s gold, have revealed the role of plate tectonics in bursts of evolution and mass extinction events. Did man ultimately originate from mega-mountains?
Feature: Can Sea Turtles Cope with Climate Change?
Rising temperatures due to climate change are skewing gender ratios among turtles and increasing the mortality rate of hatchlings. Can they adapt?
Feature: Mountains Drove Bursts of Evolution and Extinction
Bursts of evolution and mass extinction events coincide with mountain-building events that have influenced nutrient levels in the oceans.
Credit: Bernard Dupont
Feature: Know Your Enemy
An ingenious experiment has tested whether shared evolutionary history enables bilbies to detect threats from dingoes but not feral cats.
Browse: Nature Arks Are Sinking
A Nature study of 60 tropical reserves established to protect bio­diversity reveals that many are experiencing high rates of extinction.
Browse: Bounty Was Sole Cause of Thylacine Extinction
Human factors alone were enough to wipe out the Tasmanian tiger, modelling suggests.
Browse: Final Megafauna Extinctions Not Climate-Related
A study of Australia’s climate and vegetation over 135,000 years has cast doubt on the possibility that the last megafauna extinctions could have been climate-related, while confirming a 20-year-old prediction about the after-effects of the final wave of extinctions.
Browse: Pesticides Are Destroying Aquatic Ecosystems
Pesticide run-off from agriculture has been blamed for a crisis in aquatic ecosystems despite laboratory studies supporting current regulatory levels.
Browse: Climate Effects on Megalakes Led to Megafauna Demise
Browse: Cause of Native Mammal Declines in Northern Australia Revealed Browse: Evidence that Climate Change Caused Thylacine’s Mysterious Loss from Australia’s Mainland
Cool Careers: Darwinian Relic Survives
DNA analysis reveals that a species with a significant place in scientific history may not be extinct after all.
Eco Logic: The Reality of Biodiversity Offsets
Many of the expectations for biodiversity offsetting remain unsupported by evidence.
Eco Logic: Are Two Fences Better Than One?
Conservation fences are very effective in allowing threatened animals to breed, but when the population grows too much, managers must decide between extending the existing fence or building a new enclosure.
Eco Logic: Grieving for the Past, Hoping for the Future
Many conservation scientists may be suffering from grief over the loss of species and habitats. If this is true, can an understanding of the grieving process be useful?
Eco Logic: Balancing Species Numbers and Phylogenetic Diversity
The current extinction crisis can be thought of as a fire in the genetic library of life. In the scramble to save as much as we can, we want to save as many books (i.e. species) as possible but we also want to save as much total information (i.e. unique genes) as possible.
Eco Logic: Looking after Our Nomadic Species
The range of many Australian nomadic birds can contract to a very small area, making them much more vulnerable to extinction.
Eco Logic: Conserving Freshwater Crayfish in Australia
Australia has a rich diversity of freshwater crayfish, but many of our species are at risk.
Eco Logic: Beyond Threat Maps
Targeting threats alone won’t save our wildlife.
Expert Opinion: Australia's Megafauna Extinctions: Cause and Effect
Australian research has found new evidence that human hunters were primarily responsible for the disappearance of Australia’s giant vertebrates about 40,000 years ago, and concluded that the extinctions caused changes to the Australian landscape.
Expert Opinion: The Call for Nuclear Energy to Stop Biodiversity Loss
Adelaide ecologists Prof Barry Brook and Prof Corey Bradshaw have called for the promotion of nuclear power to mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity in an open letter published in Conservation Biology.
Expert Opinion: The Biodiversity Benefits of Limiting Warming to 1.5°C
Global temperatures are on track to rise by 3.2°C by 2100. A new study estimates that if this occurs, 26% of vertebrates, 49% of insects and 44% of plants would be unable to survive in about half of the areas they currently inhabit, compared with just 4% of vertebrates, 6% of insects and 8% of plants if warming is limited to 1.5°C.
Fossil File: A New Cause for Three Global Mass Extinction Events
Dangerously lows levels of trace elements might be implicated in three mass extinctions.
Fossil File: Solving the Mysteries of the Australian Megafauna
Two new papers have narrowed the date of Australia’s megafauna extinctions as well as the cause of their demise.
Lowe Tech: If a Taxonomist Falls in the Forest...
Taxonomists are so under-resourced it would take them 400 years to describe all of Australia’s species, which means that species are going extinct before we even know about them.
Quandary: Global Catastrophic Risk
A report calculates that we’re more likely to die in an extinction event than in a car crash.
Online Feature: De-extinction is about as sensible as de-death
Efforts to attempt to bring extinct animals back to life are fanciful.
Online Feature: Celebrity pandas and tigers hog the extinction limelight
Worldwide, around 20,000 endangered animal species are competing for scarce conservation funds – but just 80 ‘celebrity species’ are hogging most of the attention.
Online Feature: The bark side: domestic dogs threaten endangered species worldwide