First human-caused dolphin extinction reported

21 August 2007

Yangtze river dolphinExtinction of the Yangtze river dolphin is confirmed

This morning I was staring at yesterdays newspaper which had an article about Biology Letter’s article about the baiji – Yangtze River dolphin – above one about Spencer Tunick‘s latest Greenpeace commissioned picture on a swiss glacier which, as you can imagine, sent my mind in all directions.

For me, and I’d bet many others, it’s impossible not to read of the Yangtze River without thinking of the Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Weise. A book probably discovered like many others watching one of my favorite TV programs: Captain Kangaroo – and how will Mr. Bunny Rabbit trick the captain tonight? And a book that maybe even inspired a basic computer network tool.

Science being science, I can’t but notice the question mark on the original article that has disappeared from most reports of the article: First human-caused extinction of a cetacean species? Not that there is any doubt that the baiji will soon be extinct, if not already, but first?

I jest of course, stupidly attempting to avoid the pain that this type of news brings me….

As for Spencer Tunick, I don’t have much of an opinion. I like his pictures like I like old pictures of factory worker proudly lined up on the steps in front of the building they work in. Does it make a difference that they are all nude? Yes it does. It lets us see what we actually look like.

Update Sep 1st: It seems someone spotted one this last week, not that much is changed by that information, but nevertheless.

Rattlebrained

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