Species are organisms that share common characteristics and can reproduce with each other. Speciation is the process of one species splitting into two new species. Extinction is when a species dies out completely and no longer exists. It can happen naturally or as a result of human activity. Humans have caused the extinction of numerous species throughout history, and this threatens the delicate balance of nature.
Species, Speciation and Extinction
Speciation: The process by which a new species is formed from a pre-existing species through the accumulation of genetic changes. Extinction: The death of all members of a species, making it impossible for it to reproduce and create new members. Endangered Species: Species which are in danger of becoming extinct because of a decrease in their population or habitat destruction.
Species can speciate due to geographical barriers, such as a mountain range or an ocean, that prevent members of the same species from breeding with one another. Extinction can occur when a species is unable to adapt to changing environmental conditions or when their habitat is destroyed. Species that exist today can actually be the result of speciation events that occurred millions of years ago.
Did you know?
What is the difference between a species and a subspecies?
What are some examples of species that have gone extinct in the past?
What do you think is the most important factor in species preservation?
What impact might the extinction of a species have on the environment?
Brain break: Draw a piece of toast doing a backflip
Question: What would happen if a species went extinct? Discuss the effects on the environment, other species, and why this extinction might have occurred. Clues: • Think about the food chain and how an extinction could disrupt it. • Consider how the environment may be affected by the removal of a species. • Research how speciation (the formation of new species) can influence extinction. In pairs: Select and solve one of the tasks: A. Draw a diagram that illustrates the effects of a species going extinct. B. Explain the effects of a species going extinct to a partner.
What is the primary cause of speciation?
- Reproductive isolation
- Natural selection
What is the term used to describe the formation of a new species?
'Endangered' is a status given to species that are at risk of:
- Habitat destruction
Which type of extinction occurs gradually over an extended period due to environmental changes?
- Background extinction
- Mass extinction
- Catastrophic extinction
Which animal was declared extinct in 2018, after being declared
- The northern white rhino
- The Tasmanian tiger
- The passenger pigeon
Work together in pairs: What is the difference between a species becoming extinct and a species going through speciation?