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Re: All other life...
>In response to this I believe we (palaeontologists) can not, since >our role
in the development of the environment is "unnatural" and >this type of role
has never been played by any other species. >"Unnatural extinctions" are
highlighted by Paul, and this is very >true, so, how can we look into the
past and attempt to use it as a >future tool for current environmental issues
when this is the >first occurrence of such a phenomenon? >
I find this an interesting arguement. Just recently on Sci.Geology there
was some discussion of a naturally occuring nuclear reaction that erupted
many millions of years ago in the Sahara. (I wasn't paying enough attention
to actually remember the date). It very likeley wiped out a number of local
Would this count as a "natural" or "unnnatural" extinction?
When a giant asteroid drops down from space, is this "natural" or
"unnnatural"? Both are certainly uncommon!
Perhaps you mean "extinction caused with or without the use of tools",
which then Humans may be the only species that might appear guilty of this.
I suggest that that Chimpanzees may have brought to extinction some rare
subspecies of termite while using grass blades to eat them, or some African
Vulture has wiped out the last of a declining bird's species by dropping
rocks on their eggs, and I (for one) won't rule it out.
We Humans certainly are responsable for most of the extinctions occuring
on the planet for the last million years, but I argue that these extinctions
are no more "unnnatural" than any species unsuccesfully competing with a more
succesful species. (we appear to be a very succesful compettitor).
Besides, we'll get our turn soon enough.