This is a question we get asked quite a lot. The simple answer is that there are many ‘real’ extinct animals featured in our Rockford’s Rock Opera stories.

By ‘real’ we mean animals that have either been known to man like the Passenger Pigeon, the Thylacine, the Great Auk or the Dodo or creatures who have been discovered in the fossil record like the Moa bird. However, we also thought it was important to imagine and introduce other animals, like the Cocklebur Ick or Herculous Bird that could have existed, not only as a part of our story but also to support the truth that there is so much we don’t know about extinction and about life on this planet before we were around.

Here’s something to think about:

National Geographic magazine says, “Scientists estimate that there are around 8.7 million species of plants and animals in existence on the Earth today.” However, according to the World Animal Foundation, the latest research and data says only around 2.16 million species have been identified and described so far, most of which are insects.

However, it’s been postulated by science that 99.9% of creatures who have ever existed are now extinct.

So, if 9,000,000 species alive today equals 0.1% of animals the earth has ever supported, then the remaining 99.9% will be on the Island of Infinity.

9,000,000 x 199 = 1,791,000,000. So that’s a total of around 2 billion species living on our island.

As you may know, the island of Infinity has no accommodation problem, every year the spiral arm of the island grows as more and more extinct creatures arrive, so space isn’t an issue. However, in relation to questions we’ve been asked about Rockford’s Rock Opera, about all the creatures that live on the island… there are obviously many, many thousands, millions and, in fact, billions of creatures to meet that are as yet unknown to science. Why limit ourselves to the 0.1% we know about?

If you look at our website characters page, you’ll find a list of our key animals and you’ll see which ones are ‘known to science’ (real) and which we have, for the purposes of the story, imagined… ‘unknown to science’.

However, it’s important to say that no matter how amazing the creatures we’ve imagined may seem, they are probably nothing like as incredible as reality.

One perfect example of this is the four-winged Herculous Bird who invented based on the fact that when man first began to fly, technology was such that two or three sets of wings were needed to provide the lift required to get the first planes off the ground. So, we thought, when dinosaurs first took to the skies they must have needed more than single wings to get them aloft.

And so, the Herculous bird was born with his four flapping wings and huge tail. Little did we know a few years after we created him that the creature would indeed be discovered in the fossil record, which had four wings. I wonder when a wind-powered dinosaur will be found?

Whether or not a Herculous Bird, a Cocklebur Ick, a Hullaballoo, or any of the other creatures we have mentioned will soon turn up in the fossil record we can’t say, but no matter what we imagine there are probably far more amazing things to be discovered.  And we hope you’ll enjoy, not only working out which of our characters are real, but also imagining what other amazing creatures we don’t know about yet live happy and free of the Island of Infinity.

For more information and updated statistics, visit: The World Animal Foundation