Throughout history, species have come and gone. Remember the dinosaurs? Well, maybe not, seeing as they were gone from this planet over 50 million years before humans (or a hominid ancestor) set foot on it.
The process of extinction is complex, and involves various factors. In ecology and biology, extinction is considered the end of an organism, namely, a species. It occurs when the last member of that species dies off, and the reproductive cycle can no longer continue. Throughout history, various extinctions have taken place, primarily caused by natural, planetary occurrences. But in recent history, humans have had an ever-increasing presence on planet Earth, one that has lead hundreds of species to the brink of, and ultimately on to, extinction.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Schmidt, MyShot.
The latest notable extinction occurred on Monday, as the giant tortoise “Lonesome George” of the Pinta Island subspecies of Galapagos tortoise passed away at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, where he was residing. George is estimated to have been around 100 years old, although scientists are not sure of his exact age.
Calling all students: Explore the world of science–and the Galapagos Islands!
National Geographic is excited to be co-sponsoring the Google Science Fair, the world’s biggest science competition for students ages 13 through 18. This competition invites students to submit creative scientific projects that could help shape our present and their future. The deadline to participate in the contest is April 4, 2011, so students are strongly encouraged to enter their projects immediately (and to make certain to get parental consent first)!!
Curious yes? Here are some more details about the contest: