CREO's Publication and Database
data, by being publicly accessible, can be carefully scrutinized, tested,
and reviewed. Moreover, published data have already undergone some degree
of professional review and assessment of reliability. Thus, CREO recognizes
that published information should be the principal route for disseminating
extinction evidence, and references to this evidence should be provided
in any analysis of a species' extinction.
Yet, recent extinctions of
species are rarely addressed as a primary issue in research papers because
there is no publication route specifically designed to serve this purpose.
Therefore, much of the relevant information on extinctions is very difficult
to locate in the literature, and some extinction data are not published
at all, but exist only within the notes of experts working in the field.
If there were several venues
specifically designed for the publication of extinction-related information,
- there would be an increased
amount of pertinent extinction information available,
- extinction data would be
more easily located in the literature, and data collection and analysis
could become more expedient in the future,
- the content and quality of
extinction data would be standardized.
We are looking for funding
and/or venues to support these publications:
- IBOY Book Project
A proposal by CREO and Systematics
Agenda 2000 International to produce a new survey of recently
extinct species has been accepted as part of DIVERSITAS
2001 program: International
Biodiversity Observation Year (IBOY). This volume will present
extinction data that have been reviewed critically according to a
CREO-developed extinction criteria and categories.
It will therefore be the most comprehensive and reliable reference
book available on recent extinctions.
We would like to develop a serial publication, or a regular
column in an existing publication, that would become the recognized
route for the collection and dissemination of any newdata on
extinctions, ranging from minor notes on the presence or absence of
a species as noted by recent fieldwork, to the election of species
to extinction categories. By monitoring data from this publication
we could quickly and accurately update extinction lists with the new
This series, or regular column, would allow authors to provide a comprehensive
summary of information pertaining to one particular extinct species.
The catalog series, Mortal Remains, would be specifically designed
to list the location of all known remains of extinct species preserved
in collections of museums, academic or research institutions, and
CREO's planned publications are designed
to streamline the process of data collection and provide a system for thorough
and reliable data capture. In this way, all extinction information gathered
through CREO publications could easily be incorporated into a database.
Our priority is to develop a database
that includes species information and an associated bibliography, however,
all of the information components described below would be useful to incorporate
in a searchable database:
- Species Information
Fields representing information-level design should include: hierarchical
taxonomic designations, species name and systematic history, common
names, extinction status, type locality, geographic descriptors, ecosystem
descriptors, former distribution, sampling history, extinction causes,
extinction date, diagnosis, notes on related species and threat status,
history of collection/observation, information compilers, and notes.
- Mortal Remains Information
Fields representing information-level design should include: museum
name, museum location, type status, registry numbers, collection date,
collection locality, collector, identifier, condition, size, loan/use
policy, preparation, age class, and notes.
- Bibliographic Information
All bibliographic information pertaining to recent species' extinctions
that is collected through the CREO research program should be incorporated
into the database. Users should be able to search by author, date, and
a variety of subject descriptors.
- Image Information
Fields representing information-level design should include: depicted
image, image source, photo or drawing, and use policy.
A database on recent extinctions
built from data compiled through the CREO research program would represent
a central repository and resource that would be unrivalled in terms of
scope, detail, and practical value. Information in the database would
be constantly maintained and updated, and peer-reviewed for accuracy,
so that it would provide an essential resource to scientists, policy-makers,
and educators with an interest in biodiversity issues. Furthermore, this
database (and the CREO publications from which the database is derived)
would provide a focus for the interaction of taxonomists, ecologists,
conservation biologists, and anthropologists whose research is related
to extinction processes.
the CREO Extinctions Database
Presently, the CREO
Extinctions Database consists of two separate lists for mammals and
fish only. Additional lists are under construction and will be added when
they become available.
The databases can be accessed
on line via Web browser or email.
The extinctions databases exists
in the form of tab delimited files which can be downloaded and imported
into any standard Unix, Windows or Macintosh database or spreadsheet application.
The data in the files are contained in 31 separate fields and, once imported,
can be searched and/or sorted according to any field.
The fields can be grouped in many
different ways, depending on what sort of search you are interested in
making. Here is one convenient grouping, which should help in answering
some of the commoner questions people ask about extinct species: What
is the technical (taxonomic ) information on the species? Where did this
species live? How is it known that the species is extinct?
(Answers these questions: What
is the species valid name? Does it have a common name? Where is
it located within the taxonomic hierarchy? Who described the species,
and what other names [synonyms] exist for it?)
Synonym of valid taxon
Distributional and Collection
Information on Species
(Answers these questions: Where
did the species formerly live, and what was its habitat like? How many
specimens of this species are there? What other information is available
on this species?)
Former distribution comments
Island vs mainland
History of collection
Specimens in collections
Extinction Status of
(Answers these questions: Is the
species extinct according to CREO criteria? If it is judged to be extinct,
what CREO criteria were used to determine this, and how good is the assessment?
How does the IUCN classify the extinction status of this species? Who
saw or collected the "last" specimen, and when did that happen? Is it
known or surmised how the species become extinct? Has anyone looked for
it recently, and what was the result?)
CREO status justification
EED (estimated extinction date)
AEC (alleged extinction cause)
here to download the CREO Extinctions Database.xls files.
CREO List of
Mammal Extinctions since AD 1500
by Ross MacPhee and Clare Flemming
Department of Mammalogy
American Museum of Natural History
CREO List of Fish Extinctions
since AD 1500
by Ian J. Harrison and Melanie L.J. Stiassny
Department of Ichthyology
American Museum of Natural History
Department of Education
American Museum of Natural History