Hilton-Taylor, Craig Red List Unit, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:April 2019
Show previous versions
- Past extinction events
- Present-day extinctions
- Species approaching extinction
- Causes of extinction
- Why does extinction matter?
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The death and disappearance of a species. The extinction of a species usually represents an end point in a long series of population extinctions. During the extinction process, unique evolutionary history is lost at every stage, but the death of the last individual of a species represents the permanent loss of one of life's unique evolutionary and functional forms. Based on the fossil record, the species present today represent only 2–4% of all species that have ever lived. The species comprising the remainder are extinct, with the vast majority having disappeared long before the arrival of humans (Fig. 1). See also: Animal evolution; Evolution; Extinction (paleontology); Fossil; Macroevolution; Plant evolution; Speciation; Species concept
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 39 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information