Encyclopedia Article


The cultural or biological process of reduction resulting in the eventual disappearance of a language, tradition, cultural group, or species. Although extinction is often linked to a group's failure to "adapt,", extinction usually occurs due to violent and coercive external influences on the practice, group, or species under consideration. For example, the forced acquisition of colonial languages and social and religious practices, or modern development practices and associated resource extraction, lead to the loss of socio-cultural environments and habitats necessary for the perpetuation of cultural identities, practices, and even memory, or the loss of an entire species.

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"Skeleton of an extinct cave bear, May 19, 2013" by Zátonyi Sándor is licensed under CC BY.

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