Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blogging Challenge Day 6: The Sad Tale of the Quagga
People thought this was the quagga. Go figure.

This animal was, at least in looks, quite hilarious to look at. With a zebra head and a horse body, some may say it looks like one of those games when you mix and match body parts. This appeal was also evident to zoos in Europe, and it was found in huge herds in the African Karoo and parts of the former Orange Free State. What extinguished this quirky creature?
(You know, if anyone's thinking of doing a guest post, this would be a GREAT animal pseudonym.)
Observe the head: that of a zebras? Move down, and it's a horse.
Hunting, competition with European colonizers for grass. Food. Leather. And also the fact that no one was really sure what a quagga was.
Yes, that's right. The quagga died because no one knew what it was.
You see, the quagga really isn't a separate species, but merely a genetic variation of the plains zebra. This genetic mutation was passed on and that's why it looks so individual, but really it IS a plains zebra, just with a different coat. That's a key factor in its extinction, believe it or not. The term 'quagga' was basically used to apply to any plains zebra, and when the last quagga died, no one really realized it was the last of its kind. Because no one knew what it was. A quagga could have been any zebra, so there were no last-ditch conservation efforts. It was only years after anyone actually looked around and said, "Hey, remember that weirdly-colored zebra? Where's that gone?" That's when they realized they had driven it to extinction, unwittingly. Then they accorded it the honor of being the first extinct animal whose DNA was analyzed, and they realized, that while it wasn't a separate species from the plains zebra, it was pretty darn close, and that now it was gone.
Tomorrow's the last day of the blogging challenge!
Comment if you think you'd like to use the quagga as a pseudonym for a guest post.

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