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Re: K-T Theories
>Well, there are still rabbits in Australia, if that is what you mean.
>They are often eradicated *locally*, but they tend to return in
>the next population boom.
This was the scenario I was wondering about. If the population
was in decline because of massive disease influx - more, probably
than just one disease, however virulent, could achieve - then how
much collateral damage needs to be inflicted to achieve extinction?
If Australia ever _does_ manage to eradicate the pest, we might
have an interesting data point to add the K-T argument, but it
seems fairly theoretical at this point.
>This whole thing is a fairly classic story of ecological imbalance.
>The rabbits were accidentally introduced into Australia (as pets?)
>and soon become the most common animal on the continent, due to
>a total lack of natural enemies and a nearly complete lack of any
>of the common diseases that kept the rabbits in check in their
Introduced as food. I gather this was a fairly common occurance
with European settlers to toss out a few rabbits on new islands
so they will make a ready source of meat. It was a devastating
practice, but they never noticed. They did it all over the world,
but most places had predators that could deal with them. I recall
reading that the thylacine was able to make a living off them, but,
of course, they were exterminated separately, partly, I suppose,
because they ate rabbits. I don't think Australia had any other
large predators at that time.