"Baiji" freshwayer dolphin declared "functionally extinct"

Maybe not mundane or pointless, but the baiji dolphin has been declared extinct. It’s sad that man’s greed has wiped yet another species – and the first mammal in 50 years – from the face of the Earth. This particular dolphin was featured in Douglas Adams’ last co-authored book, Last Chance to See – and he was right. Although the article states that there may be a few of the dolphins left that they simply couldn’t find, their numbers are not enough to breed and further the species, so for all intents and purposes* they have vanished from existence.

  • No porpoise jokes!

I can’t even make a ‘so long and thanks for all the fish’ joke. That’s terrible news.
“All other elil [enemies] do what they have to do and Frith moves them as he moves us. They live on the earth and they need food. Men will never rest till they’ve spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals.”

Watership Down

I wonder, how many people will read of this and just shrug? No… :frowning: I don’t want it to be true.

It takes a lot to get to me, but I’m sitting here crying right now. :frowning: :frowning:

I don’t mean to be mean, here, but…

…are you similarly upset to read of the extinction of the loss of the dicynodonts at the end of the Permian period? How about the loss of every single species of Ptilodus at the end of the Paleocene?

The world is as it is now in large part because millions upon millions of species of animals became extinct, ceding their evolutionary niches to others who, in turn, also became extinct as still others crowded on to the scene. The poor Mesonyx no longer hunt the Eocene plains; we should not cry for them, because they were replaced with other species that could better handle the environment as it existed at the time.

Why, then, does the modern extinction of a species seem like such a blow? What is different about it?

Because it heralds the idea that our environment may no longer be able to sustain us due to the damage we as a species have done to it?

For more easy comprehension, please substitute the word “ecosystem” for the word “environment”. :smack:

Are the river dolphins in the Yangtze the same species in the Pearl River? If so, then they’re not quite extinct, or at least only in the Yangtze. Also there are several in Singapore zoo. It might be possible to restart the species somewhere else.

Why is that an inference for the extinction of the baiji dolphin, but not an inference for the extinction of the Hyracotherium?

Because we are trashing the planet faster than evolution can keep up. We aren’t the first species to change the world climate, but we are doing it many orders of magnitude faster.

I think this seems worse because we as a species caused this extinction. We understand the importance of nature and wild life within an ecosystem and we try not to cause undue harm to creatures. Creatures that we consider food are bred in huge numbers so as to be able to feed as many people as possible and not hunt them into extinction. If this creature went extinct because it was eaten by sharks or bears or something like that, I would be kind of sad but that would just mean that the dolphin wasn’t suited for the environment and extinction would make sense. Sad, but sensical. This creature was destroyed by people though. People are smart enough to know better, to logically find another way to do something if there is too high an opportunity cost. I am sad I never had a chance to see one of these creatures and to know that they died needlessly. I am not sad that the dinosaurs died off because I had no chance to help them. Nothing I do or have ever done had any impact on those creatures. This situation is a little bit different.

No, only in the Yangtze. :frowning:

Definitionally not possible. In our planet’s past, there have been several mass extinction events – The Palaeozoic Era ended with the extinction of 95% of marine species and 70% of all land creatures. (And I would point out that humankind was almost certainly not to blame). Evolution continued, and a good thing for us that it did.

Faster than other species ever have? Maybe. Faster than has ever ocurred in the history of the planet? Not a chance.


People are animals. We occupy environmental niches just like other animals.

And “sad, but sensical?” Are you, like, for serious? Do you really think that it’s sad that the trilobites are no longer among us? Are you sad that we don’t have Batrachosauria roaming about? Why is it sad that species are gone? They couldn’t make the evolutionary cut. Are you really suggesting that’s sad?

Bricker, I appreciate that you are trying to be a voice of reason amongst what you see as maudlin wailing, but you are coming off as very abrasive. Maybe you should have stopped when you saw yourself typing the words

and just let be? Those of us who are upset at this feel the way we do because as another poster said, we are sentient, we know better. Yes, some species should go extinct, to make the whole stronger. I am not convinced that this is one of them. We need to preserve biodiversity, for our good too.

Alas, the ones in Singapore (at Sentosa, not the zoo) are the other kind of pink dolphin.

That’s very sad.

Bricker, get over yourself.

Not only is that a little snippy, it doesn’t make sense.

They date back 20 million years and are now extinct due to over-fishing and shipping traffic. How is that not making the evolutionary cut? How is it remotely the same as a Hyracotherium?

Of course I shrug. There wasn’t a thing I could do about this and it doesn’t affect me in the least.

Yeah, ok. Strictly speaking, evolution cannot stop unless you actually manage to destroy all life, which is probably not going to happen short of the Sun swallowing the Earth when it becomes a red giant. But how long did it take for a roughly similar number of species to appear after a mass extinction event? A few million years, perhaps, certainly not overnight.

Go find me another species that has changed the world climate in the span of a couple hundred years.

Nice strawman there. Explain to me how giant comets and meteors are species.

You’re being obtuse, to be polite… It does affect you, because you breath the air, drink the water, and eat the food from this ecosystem, which can no longer support a species that existed for 20 million years prior to our species’ malign influences on it.