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Ancient people preserved images of the now-extinct

History at 30,000 feet: The Big Picture

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1stellarexplorer
Aug 2, 2011, 11:22pm Top

This article grabbed my interest:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/science/02creatures.html?_r=1&ref=science

Not the first example of images of extinct animals from prehistory (cf. bovids in Africa:
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2011/04/great_bubalus_rock_art.php or rhinos in France:
http://archive.cyark.org/rock-art-from-around-the-globe-blog ),

but this is a nice piece on a biologist's return to Australia in search of the image he once saw of an extinct marsupial predator. The image is preserved in 3000-year-old rock art. The article is also a poignant appeal for sanity in dealing with the still-wild places in the world. Interestingly and sadly, this animal, the Thylacine, survived in Tasmania until the last one died in a zoo in 1936.

2Feicht
Aug 2, 2011, 11:56pm Top

Thanks for this article dude! Awesome stuff

3binders
Aug 3, 2011, 12:12am Top

>1 stellarexplorer:
people still claim to see the Thylacine (tasmanian tiger) in the wild. Mind you, people claim to see a lot of things out in the bush. And iirc there was some talk about the possibility of using genetic material to whip some up in a lab (http://www.worldpress.org/Asia/633.cfm).

4timspalding
Aug 3, 2011, 12:48am Top

I recently finished Tasmanian Tiger: The Tragic Tale of How the World Lost Its Most Mysterious Predator. You can read my review here: http://www.librarything.com/work/810163/reviews

The author goes into some detail about contemporary sightings—not to be believed—and future genetics—promising.

5stellarexplorer
Aug 3, 2011, 1:32am Top

Interesting article Binders, thanks.

Not rushing out to pick up that book Tim, after that review.

The potential resurrection of extinct animals by genetic technology is a staggering prospect. With recent extinctions, at least we have a better shot at the complete genome. Though I wonder what we would find if, for example, we could meet Neanderthals. Of course they wouldn't arrive with culture intact.

6timspalding
Aug 3, 2011, 1:47am Top

Well, all non-Africans are now reckoned to have Neanderthal genes. So you've probably met some of us! :)

7stellarexplorer
Aug 3, 2011, 1:54am Top

Yes, but I've only met a little of that us ;)

8pmackey
Aug 4, 2011, 8:51pm Top

>3 binders: Like the Ivory-billed Woodpecker? I was really disappointed with that one because I thought those that had done the sighting were reputable. Just goes to show you -- even the best birder screws up. And I'm certainly not the best, so I have permission to screw up a lot.

9Marissa_Doyle
Aug 4, 2011, 9:32pm Top

Darn--the ivory-billed sightings weren't real?

I think the best chance of finding more "living fossils" remains with the oceans, like the coelacanth.

10pmackey
Aug 5, 2011, 8:21am Top

>9 Marissa_Doyle: Yes, but only because humankind is still backward in exploiting the oceans. Oh, just give us time and we'll thoroughly screw all environments up. Harsh, I know, but we don't have a good track record. On a brighter note, though, I see signs that we are trying to change our ways to be the kinder, gentler human race -- at least to the environment.

Re the Ivory-billed, when I was getting the American Birding Association's magazine a few years back, I read letters to the editor and (I think) articles which wondered why no definitive proof had been obtained, which at least for them, called the sightings into question. Even the best bird watcher makes mistakes. So my attitude is hope for the best, expect the worst.

Hmmm, I really do need to have that second cup of coffee this morning. I'm just too bleak.

11Marissa_Doyle
Aug 5, 2011, 9:36am Top

I went and looked around after this, and found that maybe the ivory-billed sightings are still a possibility after all: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428132236.htm

12pmackey
Aug 5, 2011, 10:19pm Top

>11 Marissa_Doyle:, You are my hero! I will now allow myself to simply hope for the best.

13geneg
Aug 6, 2011, 9:35am Top

In terms of genetic engineering of extinct creatures, some of those extinct creatures, had they lived in the time of homo sapiens, would have rivaled us and may even have succeeded to the top of the food chain. Why do we want to let those guys loose on the world now?

I read somewhere, and I think it was in this group, that within a thousand years of man's emergence on a continent the vast majority of the continent's mega fauna had been hunted to extinction. I don't think it's wise to mix and match flora and fauna and different epochs of history. Anyone who studies the history of humans in the world ought to see immediately that we are not capable of playing God and should leave such things to God, or the world mother, or entropy, or whatever you believe drives epochal changes.

14Marissa_Doyle
Aug 6, 2011, 10:52am Top

>12 pmackey: (clinks coffee mugs with you) To the ivory-billeds!

15stellarexplorer
Aug 6, 2011, 12:19pm Top

>13 geneg: Didn't You see Jurassic park, geneg? Things worked out ok ;)

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