The Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is an example of an extinct species.
The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), is a single-celled prokaryote
External mold of the extinct Lepidodendron from the Upper Carboniferous of Ohio
An amoeba is a single-celled eukaryote
Skeleton of various extinct dinosaurs; some other dinosaur lineages still flourish in the form of birds
Polypore fungi and angiosperm trees are large multicellular eukaryotes.
The dodo of Mauritius, shown here in a 1626 illustration by Roelant Savery, is an often-cited example of modern extinction.
Precambrian stromatolites in the Siyeh Formation, Glacier National Park. In 2002, a paper in the scientific journal Nature suggested that these 3.5 Gya (billion years old) geological formations contain fossilized cyanobacteria microbes. This suggests they are evidence of one of the earliest known life forms on Earth.
The passenger pigeon, one of the hundreds of species of extinct birds, was hunted to extinction over the course of a few decades.
LUCA may have used the Wood–Ljungdahl or reductive acetyl–CoA pathway to fix carbon.
Scorched land resulting from slash-and-burn agriculture
The golden toad was last seen on May 15, 1989. Decline in amphibian populations is ongoing worldwide.
The large Haast's eagle and moa from New Zealand
Tyrannosaurus, one of the many extinct dinosaur genera. The cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event is a subject of much debate amongst researchers.
Georges Cuvier compared fossil mammoth jaws to those of living elephants, concluding that they were distinct from any known living species.
A great hammerhead caught by a sport fisherman. Human exploitation now threatens the survival of this species. Overfishing is the primary driver of shark population declines, which have fallen over 71% since 1970.

Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species.

- Extinction

More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived are estimated to be extinct.

- Organism
The Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) is an example of an extinct species.

4 related topics

Alpha

Lucretius

Evolution

Change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations.

Change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations.

Lucretius
Alfred Russel Wallace
Thomas Robert Malthus
In 1842, Charles Darwin penned his first sketch of On the Origin of Species.
DNA structure. Bases are in the centre, surrounded by phosphate–sugar chains in a double helix.
Duplication of part of a chromosome
This diagram illustrates the twofold cost of sex. If each individual were to contribute to the same number of offspring (two), (a) the sexual population remains the same size each generation, where the (b) Asexual reproduction population doubles in size each generation.
Mutation followed by natural selection results in a population with darker colouration.
Simulation of genetic drift of 20 unlinked alleles in populations of 10 (top) and 100 (bottom). Drift to fixation is more rapid in the smaller population.
Homologous bones in the limbs of tetrapods. The bones of these animals have the same basic structure, but have been adapted for specific uses.
A baleen whale skeleton. Letters a and b label flipper bones, which were adapted from front leg bones, while c indicates vestigial leg bones, both suggesting an adaptation from land to sea.
Common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) has evolved resistance to the defensive substance tetrodotoxin in its amphibian prey.
The four geographic modes of speciation
Geographical isolation of finches on the Galápagos Islands produced over a dozen new species.
Tyrannosaurus rex. Non-avian dinosaurs died out in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.
The hominoids are descendants of a common ancestor.
As evolution became widely accepted in the 1870s, caricatures of Charles Darwin with an ape or monkey body symbolised evolution.

It is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules.

Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped by repeated formations of new species (speciation), changes within species (anagenesis) and loss of species (extinction) throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

Diagram of a fly from Robert Hooke's innovative Micrographia, 1665

Biology

Scientific study of life.

Scientific study of life.

Diagram of a fly from Robert Hooke's innovative Micrographia, 1665
In 1842, Charles Darwin penned his first sketch of On the Origin of Species.
In the Bohr model of an atom, electrons (blue dot) orbit around an atomic nucleus (red-filled circle) in specific atomic orbitals (grey empty circles).
Model of hydrogen bonds (1) between molecules of water
Organic compounds such as glucose are vital to organisms.
A phospholipid bilayer consists of two adjacent sheets of phospholipids, with the hydrophilic tails facing inwards and the hydrophobic heads facing outwards.
The (a) primary, (b) secondary, (c) tertiary, and (d) quaternary structures of a hemoglobin protein
Structure of an animal cell depicting various organelles
Structure of a plant cell
Example of an enzyme-catalysed exothermic reaction
Respiration in a eukaryotic cell
Photosynthesis changes sunlight into chemical energy, splits water to liberate O2, and fixes CO2 into sugar.
In meiosis, the chromosomes duplicate and the homologous chromosomes exchange genetic information during meiosis I. The daughter cells divide again in meiosis II to form haploid gametes.
Punnett square depicting a cross between two pea plants heterozygous for purple (B) and white (b) blossoms
Bases lie between two spiraling DNA strands.
The extended central dogma of molecular biology includes all the processes involved in the flow of genetic information.
Regulation of various stages of gene expression
Composition of the human genome
Construction of recombinant DNA, in which a foreign DNA fragment is inserted into a plasmid vector
Model of concentration gradient building up; fine yellow-orange outlines are cell boundaries.
Natural selection for darker traits
Comparison of allopatric, peripatric, parapatric and sympatric speciation
Bacteria – Gemmatimonas aurantiaca (-=1 Micrometer)
Archaea – Halobacteria
Diversity of protists
Diversity of plants
Diversity of fungi. Clockwise from top left: Amanita muscaria, a basidiomycete; Sarcoscypha coccinea, an ascomycete; bread covered in mold; chytrid; Aspergillus conidiophore.
Bacteriophages attached to a bacterial cell wall
Root and shoot systems in a eudicot
The xylem (blue) transports water and minerals from the roots upwards whereas the phloem (orange) transports carbohydrates between organs.
Reproduction and development in sporophytes
Negative feedback is necessary for maintaining homeostasis such as keeping body temperature constant.
Diffusion of water and ions in and out of a freshwater fish
Different digestive systems in marine fishes
Respiratory system in a bird
Circulatory systems in arthropods, fish, reptiles, and birds/mammals
Asynchronous muscles power flight in most insects. a: Wings b: Wing joint c: Dorsoventral muscles power upstrokes d: Dorsolongitudinal muscles power downstrokes.
Mouse pyramidal neurons (green) and GABAergic neurons (red)
Sexual reproduction in dragonflies
Cleavage in zebrafish embryo
Processes in the primary immune response
Brood parasites, such as the cuckoo, provide a supernormal stimulus to the parenting species.
Terrestrial biomes are shaped by temperature and precipitation.
Reaching carrying capacity through a logistic growth curve
A (a) trophic pyramid and a (b) simplified food web. The trophic pyramid represents the biomass at each level.
Fast carbon cycle showing the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans in billions of tons per year. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes, red are human contributions, white are stored carbon. Effects of the slow carbon cycle, such as volcanic and tectonic activity, are not included.
Efforts are made to preserve the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, Australia, without affecting visitors' access.

For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary information encoded in genes, which can be transmitted to future generations.

Conservation biology is the study of the conservation of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions.

Life

Characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.

Characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.

Adenovirus as seen under an electron microscope
Definition of cellular life according to Budisa, Kubyshkin and Schmidt.
The structure of the souls of plants, animals, and humans, according to Aristotle
Cyanobacteria dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms.
Deinococcus radiodurans is an extremophile that can resist extremes of cold, dehydration, vacuum, acid, and radiation exposure.
Animal corpses, like this African buffalo, are recycled by the ecosystem, providing energy and nutrients for living creatures

One popular definition is that organisms are open systems that maintain homeostasis, are composed of cells, have a life cycle, undergo metabolism, can grow, adapt to their environment, respond to stimuli, reproduce and evolve.

Extinction is the term describing the dying-out of a group or taxon, usually a species.

All adult Eurasian blue tits share the same coloration, unmistakably identifying the morphospecies.

Species

All adult Eurasian blue tits share the same coloration, unmistakably identifying the morphospecies.
A region of the gene for the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme is used to distinguish species in the Barcode of Life Data Systems database.
The cladistic or phylogenetic species concept is that a species is the smallest lineage which is distinguished by a unique set of either genetic or morphological traits. No claim is made about reproductive isolation, making the concept useful also in palaeontology where only fossil evidence is available.
A chronospecies is defined in a single lineage (solid line) whose morphology changes with time. At some point, palaeontologists judge that enough change has occurred that two species (A and B), separated in time and anatomy, once existed.
A cougar, mountain lion, panther, or puma, among other common names: its scientific name is Puma concolor.
The type specimen (holotype) of Lacerta plica, described by Linnaeus in 1758
Ernst Mayr proposed the widely used Biological Species Concept of reproductive isolation in 1942.
Palaeontologists are limited to morphological evidence when deciding whether fossil life-forms like these Inoceramus bivalves formed a separate species.
Horizontal gene transfers between widely separated species complicate the phylogeny of bacteria.
John Ray believed that species breed true and do not change, even though variations exist.
Carl Linnaeus created the binomial system for naming species.
Blackberries belong to any of hundreds of microspecies of the Rubus fruticosus species aggregate.
The butterfly genus Heliconius contains many similar species.
The Hypsiboas calcaratus–fasciatus species complex contains at least six species of treefrog.
Carrion crow
Hybrid with dark belly, dark gray nape
Hybrid with dark belly
Hooded crow
Seven "species" of Larus gulls interbreed in a ring around the Arctic.
Opposite ends of the ring: a herring gull (Larus argentatus) (front) and a lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) in Norway
A greenish warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides
Presumed evolution of five "species" of greenish warblers around the Himalayas

In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity.

Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer; new species can arise rapidly through hybridisation and polyploidy; and species may become extinct for a variety of reasons.