If you’ve been following the news, then you may have heard that something called a “Siberian Unicorn” was recently discovered to have become extinct a mere 29,000 years ago, which is recent enough to have coexisted with early humans.
Its relatively recent existence could explain why Unicorns still exist in folklore, even though this creature has much more in common with a rhino than a horse. Scientists had thought that the giant animal, which stood at 6 feet tall and was 14 feet long, had gone extinct almost 350,000 years ago, which is why it was so surprising when new dating found that it may have existed much more recently.
Of course, this is not the first time that a creature has been found to go extinct much later than expected. The Woolly Mammoth, for instance, is one of the more famous extinct creatures, if for nothing else the fact that it basically was a furry, giant elephant.
Woolly Mammoths actually existed on the mainland of North America, Russia, and Europe until about 10,000 BC, which was when scientists believed they had gone completely extinct, largely due to hunting and the warming after the Ice Age. It turns out that an isolated population of the fuzzy pachyderms managed to exist on St. Paul Island in Alaska until a little over 6,000 years ago, and on Wrangel Island as recently as 1700 BC. In the case of Wrangel Island, the Mammoths went extinct around the same time that humans showed up, but also there has been no direct evidence of Mammoth hunting.
Suspicious circumstances aside, much of the mega fauna that existed during the Ice Age, became extinct at the end, either by hunting, or loss of prey. It is unfortunate, since humans have hunted some animals recently to extinction, such as the Dodo bird, which existed on the island of Mauritius until 1682.
Once Dutch sailors showed up on the island in 1598, the Dodo proved to be a favorite target, as it was large, flightless, and frankly not too bright. A combination of hunting, invasive species, and animals brought by sailors as pets, sealed the fate of the creature.
One of the more unfortunate animals to go extinct recently is the West African Black Rhino.
Once widespread in Africa, a combination of loss of habitat and extreme poaching led to the extinction of this species. It is believed that the West African Black Rhino was extinct by 2006, which is probably when you were doing your best Borat impression.