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The Extinction thread
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monopsOffline
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PostPosted: 22-12-2006 15:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to confess to crying when I read about the extinction of the baiji. It's bad enough that animals get wiped out that we don't even know about, but for a creature that we knew was endangered, and that we had a pretty good idea WHY it was becoming endangered...

...it's just appalling. As a species, we really need to get our act together and start realising that we're just a cog in a very large machine; just because we have opposable thumbs and the ability to communicate doesn't give us the right to ride roughshod over the world we live in and its other inhabitants.

Poor baiji. Iggore, your post about how it must have been for the very last one was heartbreaking. Sad
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 22-12-2006 17:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets face it, cetean conservation is geared towards the commercialy viable.

not the merely interesting.

I read once that the baiji had a lopsided skull....why?

Ganges river dolphins have curious sleep patterns to allow them to live in turbulent waters.
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IggoreOffline
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PostPosted: 23-12-2006 12:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, sounds like the chinese suck at teh environment. :v
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 23-12-2006 19:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless it involves pandas.
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monopsOffline
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PostPosted: 23-12-2006 19:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, well, they're cute and fluffy and make good PR, don't they? And improving their habitat doesn't involve affecting one of the busiest thoroughfares in the country (the Yangtze)...

Grrr.
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QuaziWashboardOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2006 10:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

It IS all very sad, but here's a question that made me think....if you could eradicate all forms of exinction, would you?
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2006 11:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, for that would mean there was no progress.

It would be playing into the hands of the creationists too
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monopsOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2006 12:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very, very good question. I'd want to eradicate all extinctions that were caused, directly or indirectly, by humans, but maybe not the ones that would have happened naturally...but how do you find out which are which? And where do you draw the line?

I suppose I'm so upset by the fate of the baiji because it was known that it was endangered for ages, and that it was because of increasing traffic and pollution in its habitat, but nothing was done, and now it's too late. But you make a very good point, QuaziWashboard.
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QuaziWashboardOffline
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PostPosted: 26-12-2006 12:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way I see it, every extinction is caused by something. Whether it's one species of animal (including us humans) out-competing another, or desease, or whatever...so what makes us so different that we grieve for a species that has become extinct? Well it's the fact that we, as apposed to any other species, are aware of it happening, have the knowledge to do something about it, but fail to do so. It makes us feel guilty. But in reality, if we saved every endangered creature and restocked them to numbers that would make them momentarily safe from extincton, there just wouldn't be enough of the planet's resources to go around and could actualy spark off a global extinction due to starvation. Quite a lot of endangered species' natural habitats are also in danger, either due to ourselves or natural global change, so if you could save such an endangered species, where would you put them?
In other words, save one species, you give them an unnatural advantage over another species, and it'll probably be at the expence of a different species later and we'd be responsible for yet another extinction.
Extinction is a natural process, that we, as a species ourselves are inextricably part of, that must continue in order for evolution to work correctly and the only way we can ensure that we are not personaly responsible for any other extinctions is to take ourselves out of the equasion either by destroying the entire human race (which would just be another extinction) or to leave our planet to it's own natural devices and go and find a different planet to inhabit. Which isn't going to happen any time soon.
In the meantime, I'm afraid we just have to live with it. It's sad, but not as sad as it would be if we managed to save every endangered species on the planet and keep things just as they are so no other species becomes extinct because then we'd effectively be halting evolution which would mean the extinction of all future species to come before they even had a chance to get started.
Yes we shall mourne this particular species of dolphin, but remember, with it's leaving, it's probably made room for a different species to fill a niech, grow and evolve into something wonderfull that's never been seen before.


There, does everyone feel better now? Rolling Eyes
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 26-12-2006 17:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paddlefish live in the yellow river, dont they?
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rynner
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PostPosted: 26-12-2006 20:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

QuaziWashboard wrote:
Yes we shall mourne this particular species of dolphin, but remember, with it's leaving, it's probably made room for a different species to fill a niech, grow and evolve into something wonderfull that's never been seen before.


There, does everyone feel better now? Rolling Eyes

No, because it's generally accepted that we are currently in a period of mass extinction (man made).

I very much doubt that anything 'wonderful' will replace this dolphin within humanity's remaining lifetime.
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 26-12-2006 21:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this is assuming that somehow humans are `outside` natural events?

(as opposed to a big meteorite, for example....and what would happen if by some means a big stike was prevented by humans???)
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QuaziWashboardOffline
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PostPosted: 27-12-2006 11:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner wrote:
QuaziWashboard wrote:
Yes we shall mourne this particular species of dolphin, but remember, with it's leaving, it's probably made room for a different species to fill a niech, grow and evolve into something wonderfull that's never been seen before.


There, does everyone feel better now? Rolling Eyes

No, because it's generally accepted that we are currently in a period of mass extinction (man made).

I very much doubt that anything 'wonderful' will replace this dolphin within humanity's remaining lifetime.


If there were more cats (or any other creature you want to imagine) than any other animal in the world, making them the most successful creature on the planet but in turn meaning that other species don't do as well and may even become extinct as a result of the cat's success, would you feel as much hatred for cats as you do for the human race?

It's probably already happened, with the dolphin gone something is bound to fill in the empty space left by it. Whether its microbial life or large vertibrate, something will have already homed in on the vacant habitat and will be taking full advantage of the dolphin's absence. As evolution is slow, you may be right, humankind may not survive long enough to see what evolves from this new nich becoming available, but some creature will gain an advantage with the dolphin's passing which will probably go on to evolve into something else eventualy. But whatever takes it's place, now or in the far future, it'll be alive, and seeing as how all living things are wonderful...it too will be 'wonderful'

I bet the fish in the river ain't complaining about the dolphin dying out! Wink
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monopsOffline
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PostPosted: 27-12-2006 11:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, the human race does behave as though ecology no longer applies to us...In a situation that you describe, where there was an explosion in the cat population, then yes, they would make an awful dent in the numbers of their prey species, but before they could eat them all the cats would feel the effects of not having many left; the following season they wouldn't breed as successfully, there would be less of them, and the prey species would have a chance to recover. We, on the other hand, just keep reproducing and reproducing and destroying habitats left, right and centre in our search for housing and food. I can't believe the world is meant to become a concrete wasteland with the odd dusty starling and urban fox to represent wildlife.

Yes, we are animals on this planet, and yes, we are supposed to fit in somewhere. But it seems to me that we've lost the ability to do so, to a point where the extinctions we are causing are senseless, dangerous and nothing to do with balance any more.
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QuaziWashboardOffline
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PostPosted: 27-12-2006 12:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've done exactly what almost every other creature does, we've tried to shape our enviroment to suit ourselves by building shelter just like ants and beaver do. We've encouraged the growth of animals like cows and sheep that are an advantage to us (in this respect you could say that we're having a symbyotic relationship with them and have given them an unnatural advantage over other species, but creatures of different species quite often teamup to the general advantage of both species) and moved competition like other predators out of the way, just like wild lions do, and occasionaly, when we find a resource that seems to good to be true, we use it up until it's gone, which is somethin dolphins have been known to do with rare fish stocks.
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