March 25, 2013

ONLY DARWINISTS THINK NOTHING SHOULD GO EXTINCT:

Why such a fuss about extinction? (David Shukman, 3/24/13, BBC)

[T]aking a long view, extinction has been part of the natural order of things throughout Earth's history.

The most famous mass wipe-out was the loss of the dinosaurs. And four other great die-offs have been identified - one of them killing off something like 90% of species.

But there is so-called "background" extinction as well - species fading out year by year, creatures quietly losing out to others and disappearing. These losses might not be spectacular - in fact, they're routine.

The result is that the average species only lasts a few million years. Mammals do worst, surviving between one and two million years. Clams do better at five to seven million.

A few hardy survivors - the leatherback turtle is a prime example of a sturdy design - cling on for tens of millions of years.

But the blunt truth is that the living world is a restless, churning enterprise in which nothing endures forever. Astonishingly, almost every life form that has ever existed on the planet has died out.

It is worth pausing to absorb what that means. Something like 90% - or even 99%, according to some estimates - of every kind of sea creature or land animal or insect or plant that enjoyed a spell on Earth then vanished into oblivion.
Posted by at March 25, 2013 7:52 PM
  
blog comments powered by Disqus
« WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE SURLPUSES?: | Main | IT'S A START: »