Monday, 2 July 2012

Falling apart, Extinction and Stupidity!!!


Good afternoon interweb, and how are we today?
I am slowly falling apart due to a lifetime of asking my body to do things that it really is not built for. Bad back, sciatic nerve damage, prolapsed disk, deaf in one ear, weak ankles and knees and now tooth ache. Fi was right you know, I should just go quietly to the vet and be put down.
But then who would annoy everybody in the pub, at work, on the PSN?
This got me to thinking about species as a whole and more importantly about the extinction of species.
You see interweb there are many species on planet Earth that really are reliant on the existence of other species and without the existence of one, the other would also falter and die out as well.
It would be a kind of domino effect. It is estimated that if the nearly 12,200 animals and plants worldwide currently listed as threatened or endangered were to disappear, another 6,300 "affiliate" species could also be lost.
There are so many insects, plants, fungi and other organisms that rely on the unique qualities of certain hosts that the hosts extinction would have a knock on effect.
The demise of the Rhino in Africa mainly down to pouching for Rhino horn which is valued higher than gold could have a devastating effect on the whole habitat which in turn would affect other species such as the sweet grass munching Impala.
Bees and other insects that fly around pollinating plants and such are also in danger and the knock on effect for us could have far reaching consequences as crops fail etc.
If we take an example from closer to home, the Large Blue Butterfly which became extinct in Britain in around 1979 and take a closer look as to why it became extinct we will see the reliance of one species on another.
You see the Large Blue actually relied on the presence of a single species of Red Ant.
You see upon reaching a certain size, the caterpillar that becomes the large blue butterfly leaves its food plant and masquerades as a red ant larva. The caterpillar is taken inside the ant nest where it promptly turns carnivorous and starts devouring its hosts' eggs and young. Eventually the parasitic caterpillar pupates, later emerging as an adult butterfly.
It was found that where one of the species had become extinct, so had the other. This was due to the special circumstances that the red ant actually needed to survive.
The ant needs hot conditions and therefore needs vegetation that's quite short so the sun gets through, What seems to have happened is that the amount of grazing by sheep declined, and the grass had got slightly longer. This led to a massive reduction in populations of these ants.
So without the ants, no Blue Butterfly. They (there they are again) have been trying to re-introduce the Butterfly to Southern England since 2000 and indeed record numbers have been reported in June of this year.
The butterfly story is but the tip of a melting iceberg as even the distribution of plant seeds can be down to the fact that a single species will eat the fruit and then distribute the seeds elsewhere after nature has taken it’s course.
So in my simple mind I believe that the extinction of any species is best avoided if at all possible and been as we are fairly high up on the food chain and have the ability to think, I believe that we have a duty to try to save as many species as we can.
Right then interweb, about time for some drivel ma thinks. There are 10^11 stars in our  galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Maybe we should call them economical numbers. Or maybe we should start holding our politicians and leaders to account in a way that may make them do the jobs they were voted into office for in a better more sincere manner.
I am also of the belief that no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.
Peace out yall, THE BAGSTAXXX

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