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Old 09-11-2013, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Denver
2,995 posts, read 2,406,374 times
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I'm talking about gradual extinction here, not mass extinctions. So, species that go extinct first have to be endangered. If they are endangered, they are confined to either a small area or have very sparse population. If a species is endangered, it is not a critical species in its broad environment. Therefore, if that species were to go extinct, it would be replaced by the other species in that environment. Therefore, the extinction of one species is the benifit of another species. Therefore, one species extinction will not cause a chain reaction across all species since there will be other species ready to take it's place.

Take for instance the sequoia. If it went extinct, there would be other trees such as firs that would move in and take it's place. While the sequoia area may be a little less productive without the sequoia, it will not fall down the slippery slope to collapse without it.

So while it would be a detriment to us humans if sequoias went extinct because they are so aesthetically pleasing, the ecological impact wouldn't be that great.

This thread didn't seem to belong in the Science or nature threads, so I put it here
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,189 posts, read 14,107,285 times
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What about the dinosaurs? They were replaced by? When I read your topic title, I was thinking that perhaps this thread was about the human race which is working its way to extinction and that is more than a little sad but I guess we will just slowly slip away. Probably improve the earth when no one is here to abuse it. Watching the different animals, trees, etc. being lost is more than sad. Sort of like watching the slow death of the planet where there is a warning but everyone is too busy to listen.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,783 posts, read 15,377,335 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
I'm talking about gradual extinction here, not mass extinctions. So, species that go extinct first have to be endangered. If they are endangered, they are confined to either a small area or have very sparse population. If a species is endangered, it is not a critical species in its broad environment. Therefore, if that species were to go extinct, it would be replaced by the other species in that environment. Therefore, the extinction of one species is the benifit of another species. Therefore, one species extinction will not cause a chain reaction across all species since there will be other species ready to take it's place.

Take for instance the sequoia. If it went extinct, there would be other trees such as firs that would move in and take it's place. While the sequoia area may be a little less productive without the sequoia, it will not fall down the slippery slope to collapse without it.

So while it would be a detriment to us humans if sequoias went extinct because they are so aesthetically pleasing, the ecological impact wouldn't be that great.

This thread didn't seem to belong in the Science or nature threads, so I put it here
Whether a species is endangered is due to human influence, now how critical it is in it's broad environment or eco-system. How do you know eco-systems haven't collapsed or been impoverished due to the removal of important plant and animal species? Sometimes the effects aren't felt for awhile too. Happens all the time. Removing tigers from eco-systems results in an excess of deer, for instance. The extinction of one species is a benefit for another? It doesn't work that way, the eco-system is a finely tuned interconnected web. What happens to one affects the whole system. If you get rid of the fox it will be bad for the rabbit in the long run, because they will overpopulate and start dying of disease and starvation. Biology 101.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Volunteer State
1,243 posts, read 892,895 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnywhereElse View Post
What about the dinosaurs? They were replaced by? When I read your topic title, I was thinking that perhaps this thread was about the human race which is working its way to extinction and that is more than a little sad but I guess we will just slowly slip away. Probably improve the earth when no one is here to abuse it. Watching the different animals, trees, etc. being lost is more than sad. Sort of like watching the slow death of the planet where there is a warning but everyone is too busy to listen.

yeah, heaven forbid the ocean going organisms would prevail and spout that dreaded, poisonous O2 in the atmosphere, you know, like it happened a few billions years ago.

Or maybe we could bring back the dinosaurs ... but that would mean larger methane concentrations in the atmosphere...

No matter the dominant species, the earth will be subjected to the pros and cons of each. The earth has weathered far more horrific (and I don't mean mass extinction) events well before we had opposable thumbs, and will again long after the last of us have become calcified fossils.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:32 AM
 
Location: Denver
2,995 posts, read 2,406,374 times
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Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Whether a species is endangered is due to human influence, now how critical it is in it's broad environment or eco-system. How do you know eco-systems haven't collapsed or been impoverished due to the removal of important plant and animal species? Sometimes the effects aren't felt for awhile too. Happens all the time. Removing tigers from eco-systems results in an excess of deer, for instance. The extinction of one species is a benefit for another? It doesn't work that way, the eco-system is a finely tuned interconnected web. What happens to one affects the whole system. If you get rid of the fox it will be bad for the rabbit in the long run, because they will overpopulate and start dying of disease and starvation. Biology 101.
But you missed my point, if tigers were already endangered, the deer would have to have had another predator or disease to balance the system up to that point. And barring mass hunting escapades or something drastic like that, a critical species, like fox or deer, won't go extinct by natural causes because there are too many of them to many places for one event to take them out.

How do I know that ecosystems haven't collapsed? Because collapse would entail that the ecosystem turned into bedrock. Short of bedrock, or desert, a damaged ecosystem will come back as a less productive version, albeit a still functioning one. Take for instance a large forest is clear cut. There will be grasses or something that will grow there after the deforestation. A grassland may not be as productive as a forest, but that doesn't mean the ecosystem collapsed. I live in Black Forest in Colorado. It was clear cut 90 years ago, aka a species was removed. Today it is once again a forest and is returning back to the state is was in before the clear cut, although the forest would be much less healthy if people didn't thin their trees.

Oh, and dinosaurs = mass extinction. I don't know why my other post got deleted.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:08 AM
 
539 posts, read 544,763 times
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Biological diversity is important to an ecosystem. You cut the number of species enough, no matter how slow, then the entire ecosystem will be in danger. True, if you're looking at the loss of a single species over a thousands of years (which happens naturally) the effect will likely be minimal. Then it turns to a moral or aesthetic judgment over maintaining a species.

However, there is the concept of keystone species which means the removal of that species will have a greater affect on an ecosystem in the short term.

In your example of the tiger becoming endangered and the deer naturally getting another predator, well that assumes that the ecosystem is strong enough to support the population of deer - that what hurt the tigers isn't also hurting the deer.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Sango, TN
24,889 posts, read 20,335,068 times
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Survival of the fittest. Humans are the apex predator on this planet, and we have expanded. We will continue to expand until we have no where else to go, then we'll probably start looking for other planets to colonize. Thats just how we role. Its how evolution made us.

Want to know why **** roaches and mice survive and evolve quickly? They have lots of babies, lots of generations, so they respond relatively quickly to genetic and environmental change.

Its hard to get Panda's to breed at all, and they have one or two cubs per bear.

Survival of the fittest. Some animals, even with human intervention, were just meant to go extinct. Maybe we'll go extinct, we aren't exactly the fastest changing species on the planet.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
12,919 posts, read 18,480,490 times
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There have been several extinction events in this planet's history that have wiped out the majority of life on the planet. The vast majority (more than 90%) of life forms that have lived here are already extinct too.

Each time, life has rebounded... though it takes millions of years to do so.

Truthfully, humanity is only ruining the world for ourselves. The earth has several billion years of habitability ahead of it and can weather anything humans do to it. Even if we nuked the entire surface of the planet, bacteria would remain, stuff would survive in isolated pockets or the deep sea, creatures would evolve to tolerate radiation and life would begin again.

Humans however don't have the same luxury. We very well might cause our own extinction by being collectively stupid.
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:55 PM
Status: "Vote out white supremacy" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Washington, DC
3,829 posts, read 3,767,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
But if they go extinct, It would be a exceptional case, and not a inevitable thing, such as the case with pandas.
So how is that not a bad thing? This thread talks about extinction being natural. I understand that cheetahs are so specialized, that they kind of deserve to go extinct someday. But when the vast majority of extinctions have been caused by man just in the last century or so, that is not natural.

Extinctions are like dead canaries in coal mines, they are indicators of badly degraded and unhealthy habitats. And with all the various emissions man releases, these habitats are going to stay degraded and virtually free of life for a long, long time.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Down the rabbit hole
847 posts, read 894,110 times
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Extinctions by natural means are a part of life. Extinctions caused by man's carelessness and greed are an abomination on the planet. There is an interconnectedness that runs through life on this planet and when a species vanishes there are almost always implications however minuscule they may be.

For example, the Grey wolf was nearly hunted to extinction. That in turn caused a population explosion in the larger grazing animals like elk and deer as well as smaller prey. The elk in turn nearly ate the willows and other water loving plants into extinction. The birds who used those plants for food and cover started to disappear and mosquito populations thrived.

The Earth, it can be argued, is a delicately balanced organism. The web of biodiversity exists for a reason. Whether you subscribe to a higher power or just a lucky cast of the universal dice, it took a long time for all the right things to come together to form the environment in which we exist. Destroying any part of that web can have far reaching implications that we don't even understand yet.
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