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Re: what's in a name?

On Mon, 18 Aug 1997 03:14:38 -0400 (EDT) JH6669@aol.com writes:
>I've been reading the messages here for a while, but this is my first 
>time to
>post, so if i make a fool of myself, please, be kind.
>In a message dated 97-08-18 03:05:06 EDT, you write:
><< >Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 08:08:32 +1000
> >From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
> excerpt:
> >(and let's face it, palaeontology is never
> >going to build alternative power plants or cure cancer)
> I think you underestimate the power of studying the past.  It's an 
> study of the environment, physiology, and behavior of animals who 
> 'control' of the planet far longer than we have and then  
>disappeared.  (No
> offense to our feathered friends).  By neccesity, the detective work
> consists of sifting for the teeniest of clues, building theories 
>around a
> tooth or footprint, and arguing the unanswerable.  Add to that the 
> power, education, and passion of the folks involved.  What awesome
> potential for discovery!
> Who can guess what breakthroughs and insights into the survival of
> individuals, species, or our battered little home world may emerge 
> this incredible field!?! >>
>There is a reason dinosaurs went extinct, and if we find out that 
>reason, it
>may help us to hold off our own extinction.  Learning of the past can 
>be a
>great help with the future.

Possibly true, but the difference is we are aware of possible threats to
human existence.  The dinosaurs weren't aware, and even if they were,
they probably couldn't have done anything about it!

The average life span of most species is on the order of a few million
years.  They either evolve into other species or go extinct.  How long we
will last as a species is anyone's guess.  But being self-aware, and also
aware of other extinctions, we may have an edge, as long as we pay
attention to the warnings and don't over-react to false alarms.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.