COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- There are at least 8 million species of life here on Earth, but by 2050, that number will be down to 7 million. That means 1 million mammals, primates, fish and plants will become extinct! Who's to blame? What's the cause? Scientists recently ventured deep into the forest to find a long-lost primate -- one of the few animals that has come back from extinction.
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"It was like, 'Oh my gosh! We found it!'"
Anthropologist Sharon Gursky-Doyen, Ph.D., of Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas, traveled deep into the forest in Indonesia on a hunch -- a hunch she would find an animal last seen in 1930. It only took her two days to track down a pygmy tarsier and trap it.
"At first, I was going through my mind all the characteristics of pygmy tarsiers," Dr. Gursky-Doyen told Ivanhoe. "Is it really? Is it really? I was shaking so bad I could barely measure the tarsier. It was a very emotional time."
It's more common for animals to go on the extinction list than off. In fact, a new study says one in four mammals are at risk for extinction. The top ten on the list -- polar bears, Cross River gorillas, pygmy elephants, the rhino, a fish called the vaquita, the black-footed ferret, the Sumatran tiger, the langur, giant pandas and the giant catfish.
Who's to blame? We are. Six-point-seven-billion people cut down trees, take land, poach and trade animals, and leave their carbon footprint behind. That makes scientists like Dr. Gursky-Doyen a must -- willing to take the risk and find long-lost animals.
"It's important to know that the impact of humans on this planet has not caused the demise of at least this one primate," she said. "That's what so important to me."
Dr. Gursky-Doyen found three tarsiers on her trip. She put radio collars on each one and is now tracking their movements to find out more about the primates. She has already learned they travel further than first thought and they live in groups. Her research will help get funding to help the tarsiers survive.
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