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A new study recently proposed the idea that species can become extinct more than once.
In the biological sense, extinction occurs when the last creature of a species dies. But they can also be forgotten, according to Science Alert.
Scientists recently studied the concept of “societal extinction” in which a species completely vanishes from our collective memory and cultural knowledge.
They looked at various past studies to determine how this second extinction occurs: They analyzed different contributing factors, such as an animal’s symbolic or cultural importance, as well as how strongly it was connected to humans.
Their findings showed that societal extinction usually occurs following the biological one but sometimes, both happen at the same time. The latter phenomenon primarily occurs on how well known a specific species is.
The team suggested that living things that are not fully connected to civilization – for example, medicinal plants – lack a societal presence, which means they can be easily forgotten. With other species, however, their societal presence can break with reality after they disappear.
The researchers also noted how societal extinctions can also impact the human view of the environment and conservation efforts to protect it.
They emphasized that societies need to increase their efforts to prevent this phenomenon, as well as safeguard the memories and the records of extinct species to understand what’s been lost.