Many animals and insects have called this planet their home in the past, even though they aren't around now. Over millions of years, numerous species have gone the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo bird. Today, the conservation of endangered species is a major concern of environmental authorities. However, some of the most incredible discoveries have been of species we believed were long gone, like underwater creatures that supposedly went extinct millions of years ago, and others that disappeared more recently but reappeared when we least expected. Without further ado, here are 10 species that we thought were extinct but still roam the planet today!
This species was declared extinct in 1948 until one was spotted in 2009. They are native to the South Asian nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and India. Since being rediscovered, this species has been listed as endangered. Major threats to the continued existence of this species are habitat loss and excessive hunting, as its musk glands are used in perfume.
(By Dave Pape, Wikimedia Commons)
The Chacoan peccary is a member of the pig family found in the Gran Chaco or Dry Chaco areas of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. A fossil of its nearly-identical ancestor, the Platygonus, that was unearthed in 1930 led experts to believe that this species had disappeared nearly 11,000 years ago. However, the species was re-discovered in 1971 in Argentina's Chaco region and is currently endangered with a population of only 3.000 peccaries left.
The goblin shark is a species commonly referred to as a living fossil because much like the peccary, it is the last living descendant of the 125 million-year-old species Mitsukurinidae. They typically live at Ocean depths between 400 and 1000 feet. That coupled with a population of less than 50 made them impossible to spot alive, which is why they were believed to be extinct until 1898.
(By U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons)
As you can guess from its name, this micro-bat is endemic to the state of Papua New Guinea. The species was declared extinct in 1890. However, in 2014, experts identified a live specimen of this species caught in a bat trap set up by experts in 2012. The species remains critically endangered due to severe and continued habitat loss.
(By Patti McNeal, Wikimedia Commons)
This dog is named for its unique vocalization and is also native to the island of New Guinea, most specifically the New Guinea Highlands. The species was considered to be extinct by experts for decades, throughout the second half of the 20th century. In 2016, however, a population of this species was discovered in the Highlands. While there are some populations now in captivity and breeding programs, there is still not much that is known about the wild populations.
(By Granitethighs, Wikimedia Commons)
This odd-looking insect was also called the Lord Howe Island stick insect, as it was found in the Lord Howe Island group in Australia. In 1920, when a supply ship collided with the island releasing rats into the ecosystem, the species was declared extinct. However, in 2002, 12 pairs of the insect were discovered in a single bush by Australian scientists. The numbers still remain low but repopulation is underway via selective breeding programs.
(By Nkansah Rexford, Wikimedia Commons)
This underwater creature is one of the most well-known examples of a living fossil, as it was believed to have gone extinct about 66 million years ago! It has been dubbed by many as the earliest known evolutionary step between fish and terrestrial beings. They usually live as deep 2,000 feet below the surface, which is why the species wasn't rediscovered alive until 1938 by a South African museum curator.
(By Obsidia n Soul, Wikimedia Commons)
This semi-terrestrial turtle found mostly in Myanmar was believed to have gone extinct in 1908. However, in 1994, almost a century later, they were found once again in an Asian food market. This is because of the traditional belief that there are medical and mystical benefits that can be extracted from these turtles. The species is not extinct but it is critically endangered.
This blend of neon green and black is a small parrot endemic to Australia that goes by many names. This bird was presumed to be extinct because for 6 decades, between 1912 and 1979, there were zero sightings of this bird. However, one was spotted in 1979 and few have been spotted since making it a favorite for bird-watchers. Records state 50-250 night parrots remain in the wild, making it an endangered species.
Here's one member of the Tarsier family, a group of tree-dwelling nocturnal primates, that was thought to have gone extinct in the early 20th century. However, an unfortunate accident with a rat trap revealed that there were still some individuals of this species roaming the forests of Indonesia. A few have since been caught, tagged, and released into the wild to be monitored and protected.
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