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Re: harmony in nature...what I meant




Paul Cambridge wrote:
> A wolf in Yellowstone serves a very important niche to keep down deer 
> populations. We know that specifically because when we took the wolf out, the 
> deer overpopulated. That is what I mean by harmony. The wolf is "needed" to 
> fill the niche.

No it's not. Take away the predator, the prey species population
explodes. It may stress the local vegetation to the extent that famine
causes the deer population to crash again. Eventually the deer and the
plants will reach a new equilibrium (provided the deer don't kill off
all of their food supply, or the deer themselves don't all die first).

The wolves may appear to fill a "necessary" ecological role, but only in
the specific ecosystem they happen to exist in. That ecosystem has
reached a specific balance over time BECAUSE the wolves are there. Take
them away, a new balance will eventually be reached, and it would seem
that there had never been wolves there at all.

It may surprise many people to learn that some modern ecosystems that
appear "pristine", and to have remained so for millions of years, are
only a few thousand, often only a few centuries, old. There was an
excellent series on the ABC here in Australia called "Congo". It
mentioned that the "pristine" rainforest we see today is not as old as
it appears to be. At one time the Congo was broken up into isolated
pockets of forest surrounded by savannah. Giraffes and rhinos were
common in the area. In fact, a legendary horned beast that is still
talked about by the people of the Congo is probably just a rhino. They
apparently had never seen a live rhino, but when shown pictures of one
in a book they recognised it from descriptions in their oral traditions.

-- 
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Dann Pigdon                   Australian Dinosaurs:
GIS Archaeologist           http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.alphalink.com.au/~dannj/
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