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Year 8 Extinction

Extinction occurs when there is no more individuals of the species left. This may seem harsh, but actually 99.99% of all species which lived on earth are now extinct.

An extinct species is gone forever, however some scientists hope to bring back some species through genetic engineering.

Environmental changes (disease, predators, climate and competition) can causes extinction of a species. If the organisms can’t adapt to the new changes then they will be unable to compete and die.

The meteorite that smashed the earth was 10 km-wide. The impact caused forest fires, Tsunamis several kilometres high and an impact winter (the dust blocked out the sun for months or years).

The dinosaurs were blasted, roasted and frozen in that order. This theory of how the dinosaurs died is called the impact theory

The Dodo is a good example of how human competition caused the extinction on an animal.

It was a slow, flightless, fearless bird which became extinct in the 17th century. Humans disturbed their habitats and introduced new species, like dogs.

Since it wasn’t afraid of humans and slow, it only took 100 years after its discovery to become extinct.

Endangered species are groups which are extremely close to extinction. Currently the panda and gorilla are on the endangered species list.

The Quagga is a type of zebra, which became extinct in 1883.

The problem is, when a species population become so low, their genetic diversity is significantly reduced.  

This means they are more susceptible to diseases and biological issues.

Keep diversity in plants is also very important.

Deep inside a mountain on a remote island in the Svalbard archipelago lies the global seed vault.

This vault holds the largest collection of seeds in the world.

Poster activity on Extinction

In groups Create a poster

1. Research an animal which has become extinct.

I.e. Dodo, T-rex, megalodon, woolly mammoth, Quagga, Bubal Hartebeest, Saber tooth tiger, Tasmanian tiger, Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, Homo erectus, Australopithecus afarensis etc…

Start by getting a picture of the animal. Be careful on the image that you get, the older the animal is, the more unsure we are of what exactly it looked like.

Place the image in the centre of the poster. You can draw it or print an image out.

Around the image you must include the following information

2. Explain what the habitat it lived in.

I.e. rain forest, desert, etc

3. List two other organisms which made up the community of this animal

4. List 3 competitors of the animal and explain what they where in competition for.

I.e. food, shelter etc

4. Explain the structural adaptations of the animal

I.e. claws, teeth, fur, colour, eyes, etc

5. Link its structural features to the environment, lifestyle and Diet.  

I.e. it has sharp teeth because it was a carnivore and had to tear into its prey.


It had blunt teeth, because it was a herbivore and it had to grind and cut leaves off the branch.

6. Make a food chain up to a 3rd order consumer based on this animal

I.e. Plant - 1st order consumer - 2nd order consumer - 3rd order consumer


7. List 3 other competitors the animal had during its existence

8. If the animal was alive today, list 3 competitors  

9. Explain why this animal is now extinct.