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Sticks
2006-Jan-25, 11:30 AM
As reported in Newsweek International Edition (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10964628/site/newsweek/)


By resurrecting the woolly mammoth and other species, scientists want to restore nature's balance.

I would have thought we should be putting our efforts into preserving what he have left.

ryanmercer
2006-Jan-25, 01:16 PM
Interesting.

NEOWatcher
2006-Jan-25, 01:56 PM
I would have thought we should be putting our efforts into preserving what he have left.
I mostly agree with that, although maybe having some re-introductions in an isolated preserve would prove both an entertainment and scientific curiosity.

I think this sums up the theme of the article:


The strategy calls for repopulating the earth with bygone or endangered species as the best way to repair an environment that is out of kilter

I would like to know why extinct species would repair it? Things are far from what they were back then. It almost sounds like they want to add more scientific justification for what they are doing.

Huevos Grandes
2006-Jan-25, 02:04 PM
Perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea. Human population has been responsible for the wholesale extinction of thousands of species, in what has been a relatively short period of time. New Zealand and Hawaii's indigenous animals have been devasted, with Australia and North America close behind.

Whatever we do though, we are responsible. Resurrecting the mammoth and dumping it on, say- Alaska, would be a tricky proposition. Mammoths likely required massive ranges for their herds, and with no natural predators (perhaps a polar bear could kill a baby or juvenile), herd population levels could get too high, and require culling.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-25, 02:22 PM
I agree that overhunting has killed quite some species that wouldn't have been exticnt otherwise. (I don't know about the mamoth but that doesn't matter here).

I just don't agree with "mankind disturbs nature's balance" wording for two reasons:
*nature has no balance.
*we're part of nature!! If you think about it, NYC is pristine nature. Not that I would ever use this argument to go building things everywhere, I do like my forests and other "nature".

Huevos Grandes
2006-Jan-25, 02:40 PM
*nature has no balance.
That's true semantically, but humanity has an obligation to ensure the planet's health doesn't go too far out of sync. Global warming, red tides, deforestation, etc., are all things caused directly by man's hand. Merely over-hunting a species or two isn't good enough, if that species isn't hardy enough to survive.


*we're part of nature!! If you think about it, NYC is pristine nature. Not that I would ever use this argument to go building things everywhere, I do like my forests and other "nature".
No single species has the right to control Nature. Nature wasn't capable of producing a species capable of explosions as powerful as those at Nagasaki or Bikini Atoll, until we arrived. The we-can-do-whatever-we-want-because-Nature-produced-us-once-a-long-time-ago argument is moot at best, and an complete indictment of our morality at worst...

Daffy
2006-Jan-25, 03:02 PM
Humans are part of nature, but we are the only species on this planet that has intelligence and technology able to negatively influence our environment beyond the limits of our own population. We also have the intelligence and technology to be a positive influence.

So, while we are part of nature, we have a role no other species does. Seems to carry a fair amount of responsibility, IMO.

NEOWatcher
2006-Jan-25, 03:29 PM
So; it sounds like we are all saying we need to preserve and protect the health of the Earth. Essentially we need to protect the balance. My issue is with the balance itself. We can say what balance is best, but how can we say what makes up that balance.
(warning: untested analogy)
For instance: We all need a healthy balanced diet. But does it matter if that balance is brocolli vs brussel sprouts?
So; if we have elephants, what would be different with wooly mammoths?
And, would the effect be the same with other changes that have happened since then?

So; I repeat my question: Why would re-introducing a species repair the balance?

Swift
2006-Jan-25, 04:07 PM
Just my 2 cents....
The idea of restoring recently extinct species is interesting and may be worthwhile for environmental restoration (let's say, species from within the last 100 years or so). But the idea that restoring species gone for 10,000 years will "restore the balance" is silly. The environment of today is not that of 10,000 years ago, and reintroducing mammoths into the Artic will upset the current balance more than restore it (what will happen when the mammoths eat the food supply the caribo have come to depend on?).

The implication in the subtitle of the article ("By resurrecting the woolly mammoth and other species, scientists want to restore nature's balance") that "scientists" agree with this is insulting. I'm a scientist and I don't remember voting on this. ;)

I think, closer to the truth is this quote (my bold)..

If a group of devotees has its way, this shaggy ice-age mascot—and a host of other bygone megafauna besides—may yet walk again. .
I have no problem with a research effort to bring mammoths back - to study, maybe even stick in a zoo. But releasing them to the wild is a bad idea, IMHO.

Soltras
2006-Jan-25, 04:37 PM
Even in a zoo this is a bad idea.
For example, we have no ideas what diseases they could transmit.. Mammoths sucked at surviving, so they're extinct. Hey - story's over! :)

Daffy
2006-Jan-25, 05:17 PM
Even in a zoo this is a bad idea.
For example, we have no ideas what diseases they could transmit.. Mammoths sucked at surviving, so they're extinct. Hey - story's over! :)

Cloning them wouldn't bring back their diseases...and I should think any exisiting diseases that favor them wouldn't start attacking other species as well. Or am I missing something (very possible)?

NEOWatcher
2006-Jan-25, 05:31 PM
Cloning them wouldn't bring back their diseases...and I should think any exisiting diseases that favor them wouldn't start attacking other species as well. Or am I missing something (very possible)?
Ditto;
On the other hand, we have new germs, and old germs that have morphed into something that could be fatal to a mammoth.

Hugh Jass
2006-Jan-25, 05:43 PM
So; it sounds like we are all saying we need to preserve and protect the health of the Earth. Essentially we need to protect the balance. :SNIP:
And, would the effect be the same with other changes that have happened since then?

So; I repeat my question: Why would re-introducing a species repair the balance?

I’ve thought long and hard about this one for years and years. I think, it depends on two things really, the impact the loss of that creature has on the particular environment it was in right now, and the impact re-introduction will have on the environment that has most likely adapted since the decline/disappearance of the creature.

These factors are huge variables for each and every animal “on the brink” or already extinct. Generally I’m all for giving some support to already established populations and if they migrate to places they used to be, wonderful, but in many cases re-introduction of a species where they no longer exist, whether it was a direct cause of people or not, is playing with fire, even its just been 10 years or so, the environment adapts and re-introduction of a species can be as harmful as introducing a non-native species.

I guess to sum up… generally bad, but taken case by case there are always some good exceptions, ie wolves in Yellowstone, I think a good idea. Mammoths into a wild population? I don’t think I would EVER be convinced that was ok.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-25, 06:27 PM
That's true semantically, but humanity has an obligation to ensure the planet's health doesn't go too far out of sync. Global warming, red tides, deforestation, etc., are all things caused directly by man's hand. Merely over-hunting a species or two isn't good enough, if that species isn't hardy enough to survive.


No single species has the right to control Nature. Nature wasn't capable of producing a species capable of explosions as powerful as those at Nagasaki or Bikini Atoll, until we arrived. The we-can-do-whatever-we-want-because-Nature-produced-us-once-a-long-time-ago argument is moot at best, and an complete indictment of our morality at worst...

Like I said, it's the wording that I disagree with, not what is implied by it. I agree with your post (I'm not going into a GW debate :)), I just think "mankind disturbs nature's balance" is an overly incorrect use of words. But my opinion is that indeed because we have enormous possiblities compared to other animals, we should use them to make the Earth as good as we can for all species.

In order not to derail the thread, I think it's best to drop this now and continue with wether cloning extinct animals is a good way to do this or not.

I think it might be good for very recently extinct animals that were definately killed by over hunting, if cloning would be perfected. For other instances like Mammoths: while it would be cool, I think we should have more info on why they went extinct first, and have info on the risks.

Huevos Grandes
2006-Jan-25, 07:05 PM
Like I said, it's the wording that I disagree with, not what is implied by it. I agree with your post (I'm not going into a GW debate :)), I just think "mankind disturbs nature's balance" is an overly incorrect use of words. But my opinion is that indeed because we have enormous possiblities compared to other animals, we should use them to make the Earth as good as we can for all species.
"Should", yes. But then it's a question of morality. Historically though, man has never made "the Earth as good as we can for all species"; instead we excel at making it better only for us. Deforestation, pollution of the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and over-hunting, are only some of the examples. "Balance" is a liquid concept, and the Earth has always been able to adjust prior to our dominance. Now, however, I'm not so sure.


In order not to derail the thread, I think it's best to drop this now and continue with wether cloning extinct animals is a good way to do this or not.

I think it might be good for very recently extinct animals that were definately killed by over hunting, if cloning would be perfected. For other instances like Mammoths: while it would be cool, I think we should have more info on why they went extinct first, and have info on the risks.
Sure. I don't see this proposal as anything damaging. The reality is that human population has directly and indirectly created new species since the beginning of human civilization. If it's not a new, super-resistant bacteria, or a type of virus to aid genetic & protein engineering, then it's been creating sub-species of dogs, birds, or plants. None of these things have threatened the planet so far (only older species have gone extinct so far); even genetically-produced corn hasn't killed anyone yet.

publiusr
2006-Jan-25, 07:51 PM
So much for my pet Mosasaur.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-25, 08:49 PM
"previously extinct animals are not allowed in the shop, unless not hairy"

Gillianren
2006-Jan-25, 09:06 PM
See, I'm going to agree with the "recently extinct, fine; more than a couple centuries, not so much" school. Maybe dodos; that'd be nice. Maybe the hummingbird that pollinates vanilla orchids. (I think that's the extinct species I'm thinking of.) But mammoths? That seems impractical.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-25, 09:09 PM
I just hope they are careful on what DNA they use so we don't have an actual movie based freak accident like Jurrasic Park.:D

Swift
2006-Jan-25, 09:34 PM
How come everyone talks about mammoths: finding preserved ones, recreating them, and no one every talks about bringing back giant Ground Sloths (http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/sloth.html). It just doesn't seem fair. http://www.eknent.com/etc/smileys/pout.gif
Those scientist are probably just too lazy. :eh:

:doh:

Hugh Jass
2006-Jan-25, 09:38 PM
Funny when I saw JP in the theater I was screaming at the screen (ok screeming in my mind the actual vocalization was "hmmff... c'mon amphibian dna?") What about some birds?

I'd still like to see a mamoth in a zoo, and a tassie tiger. Any number of the giant flightless bird species that have gone extinct over the last 200 or so years as well. But I'd really only agree with them in a zoo.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-25, 09:38 PM
Well, Giant Ground Sloths could be very dangerous, for defense they have HUGE claws that could cut you in half with one swipe, they can also just about eat a hole tree in a few hours.:D But they are neat, and I would like to see one in person.

Swift
2006-Jan-25, 09:51 PM
Well, Giant Ground Sloths could be very dangerous, for defense they have HUGE claws that could cut you in half with one swipe, they can also just about eat a hole tree in a few hours.
So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.
:shifty:

Sticks
2006-Jan-25, 09:57 PM
This would effectively be genetic engineering this project mixed with cloning. Anyone who knows how dolly the sheep suffered should give pause as to wether this would work to get one healthy creature, let alone a herd that would be released.

Jurrasic Park was the fantasy, Dolly was the reality.

Since we know how that went wrong, would it not make sense to try and preserve what we have left.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-25, 10:02 PM
Thing with Dolly is that she was pure DNA from her host, in the case of Jurassic Park, they introduced Frog DNA with it which was needed to complete the missing links (which was reproduction) suggesting that the same could be done if you can remove the parts of the DNA that occur with age, replace it with that of a baby and you get a whole new Sheep.

Although it is a crap ton harder then that it can be done.

Huevos Grandes
2006-Jan-26, 12:23 AM
Thing with Dolly is that she was pure DNA from her host, in the case of Jurassic Park, they introduced Frog DNA with it which was needed to complete the missing links (which was reproduction) suggesting that the same could be done if you can remove the parts of the DNA that occur with age, replace it with that of a baby and you get a whole new Sheep.

Yes, but Jurassic Park was science fiction. The whole "Yeah, well whatever DNA is missing from the amber, we'll just add frog DNA" was just dreaming. Which genes were they replacing ? Since the frog genome wasn't mapped at the time of screening, how did they even know which genes to splice into a vector ? Recombinant gene splicing techniques have improved since 1993, when the first movie appeared, but we're nowhere near the ability to create a genetically distinct "new" individual from host material. Such is what would be required for any resurrected animal that didn't have at least one cell with an intact DNA chain.

In the case of the mammoth, I assume there exists somewhere multiple frozen, intact nuclei, so in layman's terms, just pop several hundred nuclei each into some African elephants' eggs (with no nucleus), wait for implantation, and immunosuppress the hell outta them. If there isn't a complete nucleus, or worse, incomplete genome- then you're just fantasizing about taking potshots with froggy DNA.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-26, 12:42 AM
No, what I mean is that it just happened to be a perfect example, if you correctly splice the DNA from a baby and that of an adult, you can remove the aging process that affected Dolly so much.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 01:00 AM
How come everyone talks about mammoths: finding preserved ones, recreating them, and no one every talks about bringing back giant Ground Sloths (http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/sloth.html). It just doesn't seem fair. http://www.eknent.com/etc/smileys/pout.gif
Those scientist are probably just too lazy. :eh:

:doh:

Or those huge horselike creatures that lived together with mankind? (in an old an very inaccurate book at least :D). I forgot their name. I think they might have had a tiny slurf, but I'm not sure either.

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-26, 01:04 AM
I don't care what they bring back as long as it isn't a V-Raptor...they were just way to smart to be hanging around now a days.:naughty:

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 01:07 AM
A modest Diplodocus having a seat on my car would be inconvenient as well. Just to be sure, I did not buy a car yet :D. Stick to the Tasmanian tiger (though it ain't even completely sure that one is indeed extinct :)), Dodo and everything else that is portable. ;)

Dragon Star
2006-Jan-26, 01:12 AM
I would like to see some cloning with the Bald Eagle so we get more populations growing back again...I have seen 2 in my life, both in Florida, one was sitting in a nest high in a tree by the shore, the other swooped down for some fishing landed on a branch and ate it. One of the best things I can remember ever seeing on both accounts.

mickal555
2006-Jan-26, 03:13 AM
Yeah!

Reserect the moa! and the giant gowanna, sloth, kangaroo and wombat!

And all the other mega fauna, that would be cool :D

Ilya
2006-Jan-26, 03:39 AM
Ditto;
On the other hand, we have new germs, and old germs that have morphed into something that could be fatal to a mammoth.
In which case we'd be exactly where we are now -- no mammoths. Thus cloning them will at worst leave us no poorer than we are now, and at best will enrich us by having a new species alive.

Ilya
2006-Jan-26, 03:41 AM
How come everyone talks about mammoths: finding preserved ones, recreating them, and no one every talks about bringing back giant Ground Sloths (http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/sloth.html). It just doesn't seem fair.
Unlike mammoths, giant ground sloths were never in the habit of preserving themselves in permafrost.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 12:28 PM
Anyone know which huge horselike creature I'm talking about yet? I want one! :D

ryanmercer
2006-Jan-26, 01:07 PM
Or those huge horselike creatures that lived together with mankind? (in an old an very inaccurate book at least :D). I forgot their name. I think they might have had a tiny slurf, but I'm not sure either.

Hrmm... define Giant...

I know you don't mean the Eohippus... as it was rabbit sized... and the Pliohippus was the closest thing to modern day horses.

Fram
2006-Jan-26, 01:09 PM
Hippidion? (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/vertpaleo/fhc/hippidion.htm)

Sticks
2006-Jan-26, 02:13 PM
Anyone know which huge horselike creature I'm talking about yet? I want one! :D

How about a modern day Shire Horse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_horse)

No need to muck about with dangerous genetic engineering :naughty:

eburacum45
2006-Jan-26, 02:25 PM
You are probably talking about the Chalicotherium;
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/449.shtml
There were several species of chalicothere, some more horse-like than others, some more closely contemporary with human species.

Other extinct giant horse like creatures include the indricotheres
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/444.shtml
the largest land mammals ever,

and the titanotheres
http://home.hetnet.nl/~alad/page18.html
which resemble rhinos more than horses (but rhinos are, like titanotheres and indricotheres, a member of the same order as the horse, the odd-toed ungulates).

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 02:49 PM
Indricothere was the one (I'm rather sure). It has 4 legs, just like a horse :o :D

Anyway, I want one! :razz:

Just to give you an idea of how correct that book was: they lived 25-30 million years ago...
The book depicted them eating leaves, with humans watching from a distance. It was a nice book, full of large mistakes about almost everything in history :D.

4.5m at the shoulder, that's about twice an African elephant? I've only seen Indian elephants in real life, and those seem to be about 2m at the shoulder.

eburacum45
2006-Jan-26, 03:32 PM
They were massive creatures;
I can imagine a squadron of genetically reconstituted indricothere cavalry, each animal carrying four archers and a mahout; on a far distant faux-medieval planet in the future.

Formidable prospect, against any enemy not carrying elephant guns or with more sophisticated weapons.

Fram
2006-Jan-26, 03:47 PM
Indricothere was the one (I'm rather sure). It has 4 legs, just like a horse :o :D

Anyway, I want one! :razz:

Just to give you an idea of how correct that book was: they lived 25-30 million years ago...
The book depicted them eating leaves, with humans watching from a distance. It was a nice book, full of large mistakes about almost everything in history :D.

4.5m at the shoulder, that's about twice an African elephant? I've only seen Indian elephants in real life, and those seem to be about 2m at the shoulder.
First site I came across (http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/elephant-war.htm): 2.5 to 3m for Indian Elephants.

And what's wrong with my Hippidion? Allright, it isn't so gigantic, but it lived together (well, at the same time) as humans, and it had (possibly) a small trunk.

Sticks
2006-Jan-26, 04:08 PM
Why reinvent the wheel when we already have Shire Horses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_horse)

Swift
2006-Jan-26, 04:51 PM
I would like to see some cloning with the Bald Eagle so we get more populations growing back again...I have seen 2 in my life, both in Florida, one was sitting in a nest high in a tree by the shore, the other swooped down for some fishing landed on a branch and ate it. One of the best things I can remember ever seeing on both accounts.
I don't think we need cloning to bring back eagles. We just needed to stop shooting them, preserve their habitat, and stop using DDT. There is a well established population in Ohio and I've seen them multiple times.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 05:13 PM
Why reinvent the wheel when we already have Shire Horses (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shire_horse)

We've got them twice already now! :).

I'm used to big muscular horses, coming from Belgium:

link (http://www.werkgroep-bos-t-ename.org/beelden/Jeanne/winterkap-2001jza.jpg)

Brabants trekpaard. Not the biggest horses, but very strong animals!

Another pic:
link (http://www.kvth.nl/Images/rassen6.jpg)
(do not overestimate the size of the horses: the man's into the ground up to his knees :))
Fram:

From another site:



The largest elephant on record was an adult male African elephant. It weighed about 24,000 pounds (10,886 kilograms) and was 13 feet (3.96 meters) tall at the shoulder! Most elephants don't get that large, but African elephants grow larger than Asian elephants.


So the largest African elephant ever was 4m at the shoulder, the largest Indricothere found was 4.5m shoulder height. Overall, he beast appeared a bit heavier and longer than an elephant to me though. I won't settle for an ordinary elephant, I want my Indricothere!! Mammy can I have it? Mammmyyyy!!! :)

There's nothing wrong with your Hippidion (I must cover myself in case you get one in the future :)), but Indricothere is bigger. :razz:

hewhocaves
2006-Jan-26, 06:40 PM
so long as we're cloning... i want a triceratops... and a smilodon.

mammoth herds, should they take root in alaska or siberia would provide hunters with something new and exotic to shoot, which might spur tourism in local areas. Of course the ethical values of cloning something just to kill it are ambiguous at best. btw, it helps to find it repulsive if you don't think about the last 20K years of selective breeding of cows, pigs, corn, wheat, etc... to achieve the same purpose.

Getting back to the OP, I don't think anyone's serioulsy advocated it, but I'd like to have it on record that "nature" and the "environment" aren't static and we shouldn't think of it as an unchanging set of standards. Having said that, we should be careful to not make wholesale chjanges to the current environment, especially when we are uncertain what the long term effects of those changes might be.
If, for example, as a planet we decide that the sea level is too high (we need the space) and intentionally drop the sea level 100 feet (perhaps putting all the excess water into nalegene bottles ;) ), then we should have a good idea of how that will effect the ocean currents, global climate, et all, possibly to the point of somehow artificially keeping the gulf stream going.

John

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 06:45 PM
Talking about large animals and extinction: how are the blue whale populations doing lately?

Ilya
2006-Jan-26, 06:48 PM
so long as we're cloning... i want a triceratops... and a smilodon.
Speaking of smilodon -- saber teeth evolved independently several times in feline family. It seems to be a good adaptation for a cat. There are no true saberteeth today, but South American jaguar has the longest fangs of any land carnivore even though it is much smaller than lion or tiger. Jaguar may be well on its way to evolving the next sabertooth cat.

hewhocaves
2006-Jan-26, 07:12 PM
Speaking of smilodon -- saber teeth evolved independently several times in feline family. It seems to be a good adaptation for a cat. There are no true saberteeth today, but South American jaguar has the longest fangs of any land carnivore even though it is much smaller than lion or tiger. Jaguar may be well on its way to evolving the next sabertooth cat.

sabreteeth... nature's way of evolving a cat which can open its own tin of tuna.

hmm... i have a cartoon in that theme somewhere. Let me see if I can find it!

publiusr
2006-Jan-26, 07:25 PM
There were even sabretooth marsupials in South America--before the take-over of placentals via the land bridge that was forged by spates of volcanism.

hewhocaves
2006-Jan-26, 07:45 PM
found it :) The cartoon dovetails nicely with the thread, two decades later...

http://www.deviantart.com/view/28207550/

from the happy year of 1988, when I should have been studying Geometry in HS.
if it's too small, click on the cartoon and it should give you a larger version

John

Hugh Jass
2006-Jan-26, 09:30 PM
Talking about large animals and extinction: how are the blue whale populations doing lately?

This (http://www.animalinfo.org/species/cetacean/balamusc.htm#tidbits) is a decent mostly unbiased info site. Basically they seem to be doing well, but this site doesn't really talk about the genetic diversity issues, there is some concern that because they are fairly loner type animals, there isn't a lot known of their breeding habits as far as whose breeding with who and congregating from what areas of the different oceans, but it maybe there is just not the genetic diversity in the different breeding groups to properly rebuild the population. They, like the right whale maybe headed for extinction, even though they are fairly well protected right now.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-26, 10:05 PM
Even if they survive (I really do hope they do) protecting them seems to have come at about the latest moment possible. Let's hope they have stopped a big mistake just in time after all.


An estimate of the recent rate of increase of blue whale abundance in some regions of the North Atlantic yielded a result of 5.2% per year

Let's hope this is true for the population in general. I want to see the day when the sheer amount of whaels (of all kinds) hinders ship traffic all over the oceans :) ;).

Sticks
2006-Jan-26, 10:06 PM
Re-iterating my point

There have been attempts at cloning, similar technology to the JP scenario, and it has had marginal and qualified results, such as Dolly. To bring back an extinct creature could be a blind alley, given the complexity of DNA.

Is it not a better use of our resources to preserve what we do have

JohnOAS
2006-Jan-27, 01:20 AM
I think most of us would find it cool to see whatever extinct animal is most vivid in our minds. However, there's no guarantee that re-introducing very small populations (even in zoos) wouldn't have consequences we have little ability to predict.

The concept of our stewardship of the earth seems noble at first, but it's really a sliding scale. Taken to it's obvious (if extreme) conclusion, we would be doing the "best" job if we had no impact on our environments at all. Even if we didn't drive cars, hunt animals and a myriad of other activities, we still have a significant impact on any system we inhabit, so this ideal is impossible. The other extreme is doing anything we deity-damn feel like whenever we want. The reality will always be somewhere in the middle, we're always going to have some effect, but most of us agree that thermonuclear holocaust would probably be a bad thing.

Put two people in a room and you'll almost certainly have some disagreement as to where the balance should lie. Make it a few billion, and well, the chance of agreement goes down somewhat.

I think we're kidding ourselves that we know enough about the interconnectedness of the ecological web to be able to "fix" things that we have determined need fixing. Reducing obvious negatives (like, say, agreeing not to hunt/farm certain animals to extinction) seems like a good idea, and I personally have no problem with this, but doing so may be preventing another species from flourishing.

As an aside, ever noticed how we all want to protect/save/restore from extinction the big/"cool" ones? No one wants to have a pet insert-extinct-insect-here. Considering their numbers, and their often large impact on their environments, ignoring the little guys can be a big mistake. Who's to say there's not some (currently) useless gene in the DNA of the flea which would allow it leverage the protein in mammoth fur to an entent giving it a huge survival/reproductive advantage over some other parasitic species, with perhaps even larger scale effects, for itself and other species as time goes on. This may be a poor example (I'm more a physicist, than a biologist), but, (I hope) you get the idea.

snarkophilus
2006-Jan-27, 07:15 AM
That's true semantically, but humanity has an obligation to ensure the planet's health doesn't go too far out of sync. Global warming, red tides, deforestation, etc., are all things caused directly by man's hand. Merely over-hunting a species or two isn't good enough, if that species isn't hardy enough to survive.

I don't know. Why is change such a bad thing? No matter what we do, life will go on. Maybe for our own sake we don't want to change stuff too much, but I don't see why we might have an obligation to do anything.


No single species has the right to control Nature.

If there's one thing about the natural world that is invariable, it is that might makes right.


The we-can-do-whatever-we-want-because-Nature-produced-us-once-a-long-time-ago argument is moot at best, and an complete indictment of our morality at worst...

Why is it moot? And what about those of us who don't believe in objective morality?

Nicolas
2006-Jan-27, 01:44 PM
I've tried this technique in order to create an ice age Fluffy Tail Giant Squirrel as a pet, but it's conflicting a bit with post- ice age technology. In order to make it feel more comfortable, I've cloned the ice age giant acorn as well :).

http://upload.talk2.nl/files/377961ice%20age%20(800%20x%20600).jpg

ryanmercer
2006-Jan-30, 02:00 PM
I've tried this technique in order to create an ice age Fluffy Tail Giant Squirrel as a pet, but it's conflicting a bit with post- ice age technology. In order to make it feel more comfortable, I've cloned the ice age giant acorn as well :).

http://upload.talk2.nl/files/377961ice%20age%20(800%20x%20600).jpg


That is friggin awesome

Nicolas
2006-Jan-31, 07:05 PM
These Previously Extinct Pets or PEPs (TM) are the thing of the future!

My ice age Giant Squirrel PEP is so much fun!!

You have to be faster than light though. Today, he was looking for a hollow spot inside my speakerbox to store his giant acorns. I spotted it in time, or it would have cost me a woofer!

http://upload.talk2.nl/files/470403iceagebeest%20003%20(800%20x%20600).jpg

But who could ever be mad at such a cute fluffy PEP squirrel?

http://upload.talk2.nl/files/669588iceagebeest%20002%20(800%20x%20600).jpg

Swift
2006-Jan-31, 08:29 PM
Are the Fluffy Tail Giant Squirrels aquatic? They seem to have flippers or webbed feet.

Maybe he doesn't like your choice in music. I bet he would like the Squirrel Nut Zippers (http://www.snzippers.com/)!

Nicolas
2006-Jan-31, 08:50 PM
Before jumping to conclusions on the aquatic capabilities of the PEP giant squirrel, I think we should investigate the limitations on the low cost production of promotional gadgets ;).

He does like my choice of music. Everybody likes my choice of music. They all happily bang along on the walls whenever they hear it.

Fram
2006-Feb-01, 08:37 AM
Try Tchaikovsky. He has made some music your squirrel will absolutely love...

Nicolas
2006-Feb-01, 10:16 AM
I've made Squ watch some WCW wrestling. Squ did not really like the nut crackers featured in that show. I'll give Tchaikovsky a go :).

Fram
2006-Feb-01, 02:28 PM
And if that doesn't help, try The Clash, London Calling...

Nicolas
2006-Feb-01, 04:18 PM
I've tried Vanilla Ice...

(OK this is getting BABBling :))