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Re: All other life...
Paul Willis asked "Should we (palaeontologists) be bringing this to bear on the
current environmental debates? If so, how? If not, why?":
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?
Yes, we have a unique understanding, but how this knowledge can be
translated into present environmental issues is beyond me. All that we
(palaeontolgists) can stress is that extinctions have been a feature of the
Earth since the development of life and will continue long after our
extinction. In addition, it can clearly be seen that extinctions have
increased dramatically since human evolution, and that it is not a natural
(or profitable) thing for Earth.
On that note,