More Evidence for Climate Change and ExtinctionsPosted: April 8, 2008
ABC News is reporting on a presentation in Adelaide today by Professor Alan Cooper , examining some of the reasons for the various mass extinctions we have seen over the last tens of thousands of years. This issue is newsworthy for many reasons, one of them being that more evidence is now being found explaining what has happened to the mega-fauna of Australia. There have been two main sides to this issue, one side promoting the humans are responsible for their extinction and another promoting it was due to the gradual drying of Australia.
Other places on the planet have had their mass extinctions of large creatures and any principals found that affected them could well have affected ours as well. Issues like the rate of change of the environment and the ability for creatures to adapt, or is usually case go extinct, are crucial if we are going to use science to give an evidence based reasons for changing our current behavior.
However pictures of cute animals that people are familiar with only go so far and in some cases peoples concern over pretty animals is potentially leading to more important creatures not being saved. Being cute in the eyes of humans is no real indication as to the value of a creature in a real ecosystem.
Professor Nigel Stork has urged greater focus on invertebrates and local extinctions as reported by the ABC in this story. Unfortunately the bias the media has towards the big creatures means that issues affecting fungi for example are sadly missed. The way things are however ,creatures lost off the top part of the food chain have a much lesser impact than the small but much more numerous animals and plants down near the bottom. However studying fungi simply isn’t seen as sexy by those with the purse strings, even if it does give support that rapid climate in now occurring.
All in all, the more science the better, the more news the better and if we can gain a better understanding of how the natural world works then at least the process of science is working. Understanding the complexity of the planet we live on might be a huge and difficult task however considering we live in the 21st century one would think this isn’t a too tedious task. At this point in the blog I was going to put a link to the excellent educational material the local newspaper, the Advertiser, put out recently. However when I search their website I again get bluntly reminded that the media does not exist to educate. I could not find it. They don’t even have a menu item for science. They do however have one for Horoscopes under the free stuff section. Complete with a link to an astrologer.
That’s priorities for you.