23 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Engineering Away Extinction, Ecological Functioning

Or might the threatened animal be just one of several subspecies that all perform approximately the same ecological function? In that case its extinction might be inconsequential. That was the reality when the Galapagos giant tortoise ‘Lonesome George’ died in June 2012 and was mourned worldwide. Dubbed ‘the rarest living creature’, he was (probably) the last of his subspecies. Ecologists shrugged. Taxonomists shrugged. There are 10 more subspecies of Galapagos tortoise. Their populat...
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The American Chestnut is an example of engineering life to thrive and refill its function in the ecosystem. Tortoises are other examples.

03 OCT 2013 by ideonexus

 Specialization is the Way to Extinction

Now let us examine more closely what we know scientifically about extinction. At the annual Congress of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as held approximately ten years ago in Philadelphia, two papers were presented in widely-separated parts of the Congress. One was presented in anthropology and the other in biology, and though the two author-scientists knew nothing of each other's efforts they were closely related. The one in anthropology examined the case histories o...
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Specialization comes at the cost of general adaptability. So when the environment changes, the highly-specialized go extinct.

25 DEC 2012 by ideonexus

 Should Smallpox be Made Extinct?

A few decades from now, we may make a brutal,calculated decision to totally eradicate a particular form of life. We already are 99 percent of the way along that path. Even conservationists, who publicly deplore the extinction of innumerable species of animals and plants through neglect, ignorance, or financial greed, have applauded this conscious, murderous act to be carried out by a UN agency. I speak of smallpox virus. Since 1967, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been systematica...
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1978 article on the state of the smallpox virus, driven to extinction by the United Nations, asks whether it should be preserved in deep freeze for science?

06 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Reasons the Dinosaurs Went Extinct

Why Become Extinct? Authors with varying competence have suggested that dinosaurs disappeared because the climate deteriorated (became suddenly or slowly too hot or cold or dry or wet), or that the diet did (with too much food or not enough of such substances as fern oil; from poisons in water or plants or ingested minerals; by bankruptcy of calcium or other necessary elements). Other writers have put the blame on disease, parasites, wars, anatomical or metabolic disorders (slipped vertebral ...
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A long list of crazy hypotheses.