The Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) was last recorded by researchers in 2003. Subsequent local surveys failed to spot any individual.
A new study based on a comprehensive large-scale survey in 2017 and 2018 and statistical analysis of previous records suggest that the species most likely went functionally extinct by 1993 and completely extinct by 2010.
There’s always the possibility that individuals of a species declared extinct still survive somewhere, but in the case of the Chinese paddlefish that’s highly unlikely, researchers say.
The factors that contributed to the paddlefish’s extinction, including the construction of a dam that split its population, also threaten other species unique to the Yangtze River basin.