Extinct: the dolphin that could not live alongside man The Yangtze river dolphin is today declared extinct. It is the first large animal to be wiped from the planet for 50 years, and only the fourth entire mammal family to disappear in 500 years. And it was driven to its death by mankind. After more than 20 million years on the planet, the Yangtze river dolphin is today officially declared extinct, the first species of cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) to be driven from this planet by human activity. An intensive six-week search by an international team of marine biologists involving two boats that ploughed up and down the world's busiest river last December failed to find a single specimen. [snip] This is no ordinary extinction of the kind that occurs frequently in a world of millions of still-evolving species. The Yangtze freshwater dolphin was a remarkable creature that separated from all other species so many millions of years ago, and had become so distinct, that it qualified as a mammal family in its own right. It is the first large vertebrate to have become extinct for 50 years and only the fourth entire mammal family to disappear since the time of Columbus, when Europeans began their colonisation of the world. The three previous mammal families gone from the face of the Earth are the giant lemurs of Madagascar, which were eliminated in the 17th century, the island shrews of the West Indies, probably wiped out by the rats that accompanied Colombus on his voyage, and the Tasmanian tiger, the last known specimen of which died in captivity in 1936. (The most famous creature to have become extinct in the past 500 years, the Dodo, was a bird.) http://environment.independent.co.uk/wildlife/article2843953.ece What a shame. Once extinct, we can't get them back. I am afraid that there will be many more extinctions in our lifetimes due to humans.