Half of migratory animal species are in decline – many face extinction

The wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) is classed as vulnerable to extinction imageBROKER.com GmbH & Co. KG /Alamy Hundreds of migratory species – from humpback whales to wandering albatrosses – are under threat because of human activity, according to the first United Nations report on the animals. The State of the World’s Migratory Species report, released … Read more

The Last of its Kind review: How the great auk left an enduring legacy

The great auk was driven extinct by a scientific market for its eggs and stuffed remains Oscar Dominguez/Alamy The Last of Its KindGísli Pálsson (Princeton University Press Out now in the US; in the UK 2 April) IN 1858, John Wolley and Alfred Newton, two British scientists, travelled to Iceland to study the great auk, … Read more

New ‘Chicken from Hell’ Discovered

The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. Were dinosaurs already on their way out when an asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago, ending the Cretaceous, the geologic period that started about 145 million years ago? It’s a question that has vexed paleontologists like us for more than 40 … Read more

Epic 600-Mile Travels of One Wooly Mammoth May Hold Clues to Their Extinction : ScienceAlert

About 14,000 years ago, the tusk of a 20-year-old female mammoth ended up at a campsite in Swan Point, Alaska. How the tusk got there will likely remain a mystery – perhaps the campsite owners hunted her, or came across her remains and took the tusk home with them. Fortunately for us, the extinct mammoths’ … Read more

Which Lost Species May be Found Again? Huge Study Reveals Clues

Gison Morib was home lying in bed, sick from exhaustion after a month-long jungle expedition, when his phone buzzed and a black-and-white photograph appeared. Morib ran outside, jumped on his motorbike and sped through the city of Sentani on Indonesian New Guinea to his colleagues’ expedition and research base—where he broke down in tears. “I … Read more

Why huge ape Gigantopithecus went extinct up to 295,000 years ago

Gigantopithcus blacki probably lived in “a mosaic of forests and grasses” Garcia/Joannes-Boyau (Southern Cross University) The largest known primate went extinct between 295,000 and 215,000 years ago, probably driven by its inability to adapt its food preferences amid a changing climate. A relative of today’s orangutans, Gigantopithecus blacki, known as “Giganto”, was 3 metres tall … Read more

AI Safety Research Only Enables the Dangers of Runaway Superintelligence

After underachieving for decades, artificial intelligence (AI) has suddenly become scary good. And if we’re not very careful it may become quite dangerous—even so dangerous that it constitutes an “existential risk” to humanity. Geoffrey Hinton, one of the more credible “doomers” because he worked for Google for many years and is known as “the godfather … Read more

There’s a 5% chance of AI causing humans to go extinct, say scientists

AI researchers predict a slim chance of apocalyptic outcomes Stephen Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo Many artificial intelligence researchers see the possible future development of superhuman AI as having a non-trivial chance of causing human extinction – but there is also widespread disagreement and uncertainty about such risks. Those findings come from a survey of … Read more

Sharp decline of African birds of prey puts them at risk of extinction

Bateleurs have declined by 87 per cent in three generations Andre Botha Dozens of species of African birds of prey are in steep decline, with many now considered at risk of extinction, according to an analysis of data from across the continent. Farming and pesticide use, poisoning by poachers and the proliferation of infrastructure like … Read more