Timeline of extinctions

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This timeline of extinctions is an historical account of species that have gone extinct during the time that modern humans have occupied the earth.

The following is a selective list made by sampling a very small proportion of some of the well-known extinct species in the recent history. For a more elaborate list see List of extinct animals. Also see Holocene extinction for more information.

10th millennium BCE[edit]

9th millennium BCE[edit]

8th millennium BCE[edit]

7th millennium BCE[edit]

6th millennium BCE[edit]

5th millennium BCE[edit]

4th millennium BCE[edit]

3rd millennium BCE[edit]

Cape lion

2nd millennium BCE[edit]

1st millennium BCE[edit]

1st millennium CE[edit]

2nd millennium CE[edit]

11th century[edit]

  • c. 1000 - Extinction of four species of moa-nalo on the Hawaiian Islands. The moa-nalo were large ducks and the island's major herbivores.

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

  • c. 1500 - 1550 - The Waitaha penguin of South Island became extinct.[7]
  • New Zealand's Haast's eagle, a giant bird of prey, becomes extinct. The eagle's main prey was the moa, which went extinct in the 15th century. Debate looms as to if the Haast's eagle went extinct in the 15th or 16th century.

17th century[edit]

  • 1627 - The last known aurochs died in Poland. This large wild cattle formerly inhabited much of Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, central Asia, and India.[8]
  • 1662 - The last definite sighting of a Mauritius dodo was made.[5] The extinction was due to hunting, but also by the pigs, rats, dogs and cats brought to the island by settlers. The species has become an iconic symbol of animal extinction.[9]
    The moa was one of the largest birds that ever existed.

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

  • 1800 - The last known bluebuck was shot, making the species the first African antelope to be hunted to extinction by European settlers.[12]
  • 1852 - The last sighting of a great auk was made off the coast of Newfoundland. The bird was driven to extinction by hunting for its fat, feathers, meat, and oil.[5][13]
  • 1860 - The string tree from the island of St Helena becomes extinct because of habitat destruction.
  • 1860 - The sea mink becomes extinct because of hunting for its fur.
  • c. 1879 - The last known Atlas bear, Africa's only native bear, is killed by hunters in Morocco. The bear was heavily hunted and used for sport in the Roman Empire.[14]
  • 1886 - The red alga known as Bennett's seaweed from Australia disappears because of the massive human activities.
  • 1896 - The eastern elk, a subspecies of elk in the US and Canada, dies out in Minnesota. They were over-hunted for food, clothing, sport and decoration for the Jolly Corkers who used their teeth as symbols.

20th century[edit]


  • 1905 - The last known Honshū wolf of Japan dies in Nara Prefecture.
  • 1909 - The last known tarpan, a Polish wild horse, died in captivity.


  • 1910 - The Usambara annone from Tanzania no longer grows in the tropical forests.
  • 1914 - The last passenger pigeon died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. Excessive hunting contributed to its extinction; it was formerly one of the world's most abundant birds.[17]
  • 1918 - The last Carolina parakeet died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo. The bird, formerly inhabiting the southeastern United States, was driven to extinction by exploitation, deforestation, and competition with introduced bees.[18]
The thylacine was exterminated into extinction.



  • 1933 - The cry pansy from Europe becomes extinct due to habitat loss and overcollection in the only place where it grew, France.
  • 1936 - The last thylacine died in captivity. Hunting, habitat loss, disease, and competition from domestic dogs all may have contributed to the extinction of the species.[21]
The great auk was hunted for its down until its extinction around 1844.


  • 1942 - The last confirmed sighting of the Barbary lion, although unconfirmed reports surfaced until 1970.[22]



  • 1964 - The Hawaii chaff flower of the Hawaiian islands becomes extinct because of habitat loss.
- Last sighting of the yellow-blossom pearlymussel, an American mussel.[23]


  • c. 1970 - The Caspian tiger becomes extinct. Nearly exterminated in the early 20th century the last of its population succumbed to deforestation and hunting.


- The 24-rayed sunstar (Heliaster solaris) likely becomes extinct due to climate change.[25]
  • 1985 - The gastric-brooding frog or platypus frog (Rheobatrachus silus) became extinct probably because of habitat destruction and disease
- The Atitlán grebe (Podilymbus gigas) dies out.


3rd millennium CE[edit]

21st century[edit]


  • 2000 - "Celia", the last Pyrenean ibex, was found dead on 6 January 2000. However, in 2009, a female was cloned back into existence, but died shortly after birth due to defects in the lungs.
  • 2003 - The last individual from the St. Helena olive, which was grown in cultivation, dies off. The last plant in the wild had disappeared in 1994.
  • 2006 - A technologically sophisticated survey of the Yangtze River failed to find specimens of the baiji dolphin, prompting scientists to declare it functionally extinct.[26]
  • 2008 - The Liverpool pigeon (Caloenas maculata) is thought to have become extinct.


  • 2010 - The Alaotra grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus) is declared extinct.
  • 2012 - The Japanese river otter (Lutra lutra whiteneyi) has been declared extinct by the country’s Ministry of the Environment, after not being seen for more than 30 years.
  • 2013 - The Scioto madtom, a species of fish, is declared extinct.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Haynes, Gary (2009). American megafaunal extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene. Springer. pp. 27–31, 133, 152–153, 172. ISBN 1-4020-8792-6. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kurtén, Björn; Anderson, Elaine (1980). Pleistocene mammals of North America. Columbia University Press. pp. 364–365. ISBN 0-231-03733-3. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  3. ^ a b c d Martin, Paul S.; Klein, Richard G. (1989). Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution. University of Arizona Press. pp. 52, 54–55, 64–65, 76, 82, 85. ISBN 0-231-03733-3. Retrieved 2014-07-10. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au Turvey, Sam (2009). Holocene extinctions. Oxford University Press. pp. 20–33, 42–50, 352. ISBN 0-19-953509-4. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d Adams, Jonathan; Adams, Jonathan S. (2009). Species richness: patterns in the diversity of life. Springer. pp. 239–255. ISBN 3-540-74277-8. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  6. ^ MacPhee, R. D. E. (1999). Extinctions in near time: causes, contexts, and consequences. Springer. p. 394. ISBN 0-306-46092-0. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  7. ^ a b Hume, Julian P.; Walters, Michael (2012). Extinct Birds. A&C Black. p. 320. ISBN 1-4081-5862-0. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  8. ^ Tikhonov, A. 2008. "Bos primigenius". IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. Downloaded on 9 October 2011.
  9. ^ Raphus cucullatus at the Recently Extinct Animals website
  10. ^ Domning, D., Anderson, P.K. & Turvey, S. (2008). "Hydrodamalis gigas". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  11. ^ BirdLife International (2008). "Prosobonia leucoptera (Tahitian Sandpiper)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Retrieved 2012-2-29.
  12. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Hippotragus leucophaeus (Bluebuck, Blue Buck)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Retrieved 2012-2-29.
  13. ^ BirdLife International (2008). "Pinguinus impennis (Great Auk)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Retrieved 2012-2-29.
  14. ^ "Ursus arctos crowtheri". Prehistoric Wildlife. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.wolfhowl.org/subspecies.php
  16. ^ "The Mysterious Disappearance of the Rocky Mountain Locust". Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ectopistes migratorius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  18. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Conuropsis carolinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Grizzly Bear". Valley Center History Museum. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  20. ^ Tirira, D., Dowler, R., Boada, C. & Weksler, M. (2008). "Nesoryzomys darwini". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. Retrieved 10-10-2011.
  21. ^ M. McKnight (2008). "Thylacinus cynocephalus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  22. ^ "Examining the Extinction of the Barbary Lion and Its Implications for Felid Conservation". PLOS ONE. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c "Three American mussel species go extinct". mongabay.com. 2008-08-10. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  24. ^ "Zalophus californianus japonicus (CR)". Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved June 8, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Extinctions on the rise in the Galapagos: fishing and global warming devastating islands' species". mongabay.com. 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  26. ^ "Lipotes vexillifer". IUCN Red List. February 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  27. ^ "Eastern cougar declared extinct, confirming decades of suspicion". CNN. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-11-14. 
  28. ^ Boettcher, Daniel (2011-10-11). "Western black rhino declared extinct". BBC. 
  29. ^ "Clouded leopards declared extinct in Taiwan". Tree Hugger. 6 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "Eastern Cougar extinct, no longer needs protection, says US conservation agency". The Guardian. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.