[Tweeters] Re: .....on de-extinction and Passenger Pigeons

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Wed Apr 10 03:48:44 PDT 2013

Since Bud's coincidental timely "TED" link did not work for me, try this
_Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready? | Video on

TED home page: _TED: Ideas worth spreading_ (http://www.ted.com/)

A most timely posting if but not just by mere coincidence that I have been
totally captivated and absorbed in reading the most recent "National
Geographic" (April 2013) this week which delves into this very topic and theory
of "de-extinction" and the very near reality of perhaps actually being able
to revive relatively recently 'lost' species; the Passenger Pigeon (North
America), Thylacine (Australia), Woolly Mammoth (Siberia, creating a "Pleist
ocene Park"), and many more.

To cite one small bit from John James Audubon's eye witness account about
the Passenger Pigeon: "The air was literally filled with Pigeons," ....
"The light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots,
not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a
tendency to lull my senses to repose".

The whole idea as fascinating in the mind's eye as it is, it also raises
all sorts of interesting questions. The good, the bad, the ugly? Is it a
good, realistic, or even practical idea? 21st Century North America as is
the entire globe is a totally different place than it was back in the day
of Leopold and Audubon. Where's the habitat that might support a resurgence
of millions or even billions of Passenger Pigeons like in days of yore.
If the Passenger Pigeon, or any extinct species for that matter, were
revived, would it be in fact the absolute total real deal, right down to the very
last atom, or just a very near "copy" of something genetically engineered?
Could the social structure which requires such huge unimaginable numbers
be revived too? If so, then what? Reflect back to Yakima, WA, March 18,
1980, a brilliant energizing crystal clear start to a most promising very
early Spring day, ...then out of the blue, black skies and poof! Routine
life was changed in an instant that lasted for days, weeks. Only this time,
likely not Yakima, but somewhere, could be anywhere in the East, you name
it, Cincinnati, Washington, DC, the skies darken again, only this time
instead of a 'snowstorm' of dry gritty ash, it's a 'snowstorm' of P-P-Poo. It
doesn't take long to imagine some of the ramifications; a traffic nightmare
for one as one thinks about what typically happens every time it just
simply rains (or snows) just around here. No amount of salt is going to fix
that mess Mr. Mayor. In all reality, I doubt such a happy or horror nightmare
scenario could ever be recreated simply because the realities of 21st
Century North American landscape are impossibly unsuitable.

In my personal library, one of my most favorite books of all time which
I've read and re-read and refer back to from time to time is "Hope is the
Thing with Feathers" ('A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds') by Christopher
Cokinos (2000). This mesmerizing read features six of the most
charismatic species that we're all familiar with, and in this books pages, at least
for awhile, fills the mind in vivid and eloquent detail a world that once
was not so long ago.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA

> In a message dated 4/09/2013, Bud Anderson writes:

Subject: [Tweeters] Birding Reality Show vs the recent TED lecture on
de-extinction and Passenger Pigeons
From: Bud Anderson
Date: Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 2:41 PM

And if you haven't seen Stewart Brand's recent TED lecture in March on
re-genesis and the current efforts to bring back the Passenger Pigeon (who
knew that they were so far along?), I would recommend it as a salve for the

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