Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Darwin

Today is Charles Darwin's 199th birthday. Thanks to Wired for this celebratory tid-bit.

Well, nearly two centuries later the Origin of Species is still in contention -- but not survival of the fittest...

''The Pacific walrus is an early victim of our failure to address global warming."
Said Shaye Wolf, a Biologist for the Center of Biological Diversiy which filed a petition last week to have the Pacific Walrus listed endangered. Read the Times article here.
''As the sea ice recedes, so does the future of the Pacific walrus.''


Uncredited NASA photo

Without ice the walrus are driven to land -- out of their usual habitat -- and into the habitat of others...

As many as 6,000 walruses in late summer and fall abandoned ice over deep water and congregated on Alaska's northwest shore. Herds were larger on the Russian side, one group reached up to 40,000 animals. Russian observers estimated 3,000 to 4,000 mostly young walruses died in stampedes when herds rushed into the water at the sight of a polar bear, hunter or low-flying aircraft.

One day before the petition was filed, during a lag in ruling on the listing of the Polar Bear in the arctic, The Shell Corp. was the high bidder on oil exploration leases on some 2.76 million arctic acres. They bid $18,497 an acre, according to the article in the Times.

Shell’s vice president for exploration for the Americas, Annell Bay, said the lease sale was an opportunity to move into an undeveloped region that could help meet an increasing demand for energy. “There’s not many areas like this in the United States,” Ms. Bay said.

There are not many areas like this in the world.

"In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment." -- Charles Darwin

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