Aug 3, 2009
Two Extinct Species Discovered ecology” />
Twice in the last 36 hours there’s been an announcement that a once-extinct species is still walking the Earth, despite our best efforts against it.
Javan, or Malay? You decide. Image from guideborneo
First there was Swinshoe’s softshell turtle, and then the Javan Elephant. Is this more commonplace than we might believe?
Frankly, no. Despite the occasional hubbub over an animal science has lost track of– say, the Coelacanth– we’ve witnessed something extraordinary. Swinshoe’s turtle was previously believed to be extinct in the wild, with only three remaining in captivity, and therefore every one of these 300-pound turtles is a critical find.
The Javan elephant, is something else entirely– a species that may have been misclassified since the 1800s. Essentially, there are no Javan elephants in Java, as they’re extinct there, but the pygmies in Borneo represent a small group owned by the Sultan of Sulu. That group thrived, and their progeny are presently known as the Malaysian Pygmy Elephant– or were, until the discovery that they were, in fact, the last of the Javans.