The Chinese paddlefish’s sharp, protruding snout made it one of the largest freshwater species in the world. Since scientists declared it extinct in a research paper published last week, Chinese internet users and media outlets have been paying tribute to the hefty creature.
“It’s farewell at first sight,” said China Youth Daily, noting that many were lamentably unfamiliar with the paddlefish before learning of its demise. Users shared similar sentiments on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.
So named for its distinctive shape, the Chinese paddlefish, or Chinese swordfish, had a lineage dating back at least 34 million years, scientists believe. It could grow as long as 7 meters (23 feet), but in the end, it couldn’t survive the overfishing, habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity in its native Yangtze River, according to a research paper in the Science of The Total Environment, a peer-reviewed environmental science journal.