Saturday, May 7, 2011

Invasive Species?

Folks, I don't often make light of Scientific positions, especially those taken by zoologists. If I am going to take down somebody's position, I am usually going to take a reasonable amount of time to do it. Not this time.

One of the most perplexing, and puzzling series of programs I've seen lately have dealt with the concept of invasive species, particularly in Florida. Just what the hell is an invasive species? Any species living in an environment where it did not originally evolve.

Any species moving into a neighborhood is an invasive species. Folks, any half-decent philosopher would have a field-day sharp-shooting the piss-poor logic that under-girds this argument. I do not pretend to be the world's greatest logician, but I can throw plenty of zingers at advocates of "invasive species control".

Let's start with the clock-problem. Just where do you start the clock for original evolution of any given critter? You know you can't do that now can you? You can't find the clock setting for even one species, much less all of the species you claim are "native" and "non-native".

Let's move to the local of original evolution problem. Just where did any given critter evolve in the first place? I can tell you that we are still arguing about the original location of the evolution of our own species, much less every other species. The old East-Africa argument is breaking down as Milford Wolpoff's multi-regional evolutionary theory is gaining steam.

Let's move on to the fact that every successful species inevitably spreads out from it's original environment, displacing others. We may well have done the very same thing to Neanderthal man in Europe, although this is a contentious issue also. One thing is certain: Homo Sapiens did not originate in North or South America. We are an invasive species. In fact, many waves of invasive Homo Sapiens have invaded this territory we now occupy.

The law of nature is natural selection. Stronger and better critters in any environment survive longer and reproduce more successfully than the weaker critters. Their prey and competition must adapt to survive. The environmental community gets stronger as a result of the increase in pressure.

If a particularly environment is absolutely fantastic for a critter, who are you, o little man, to say that this critter should not live there?

Take the monitor lizard, for example. I watched an entire program devoted to the control of the monitor lizard outbreak in Florida. It would appear that they are catching hell in this effort, because the Florida swamp is just heaven for a monitor lizard. The monitor lizard can feed on snails to it's hearts content.

I don't know about you, but this news just breaks my heart. I am going to lay awake at night over thought of monitor lizards eating snails in a Florida swamp. To say that I am underwhelmed by this argument would be a massive understatement. I would rather know why you think you need to prevent the Monitor Lizard from feeding on snails in the swamp of Florida. I see no call to action here.

Take the case of the hybrid turtles. Zoologists seem positively alarmed by the fact that native Florida turtles are cross-breeding with non-native turtles in the swamps of Florida. I guess this is kinda like blacks and whites living together in sin.

Last time I checked my biological facts and figures, we had a thing called the rule of hybrid vigor. Cross-breeding of different strains of a species produces a stronger and a better strain of the species. You aught to be happy that the turtles are getting strong so they can take on the Monitor Lizards. It would seem that nature is taking care of itself, as always.

Then you have the case of the Burmese Python, now battling the native Florida gator for supremacy in the swamps of Flordia. They fight like hell, too. Sometimes they find gator bones inside a dead python. Sometimes they find python bones inside the gut of a gator. I don't see a big problem with this. Competition is a driving force. The Gators will get better, and so will the Pythons.

I'm going to be blunt with you: I think this is one of the biggest waste of tax dollars I've ever seen in an utterly pointless pursuit. You can't put the Djini back in the bottle. These critters are now loose in an environment that is fantastic for them. They are going to keep right on living there until something else comes along an displaces them.

Straight up: this all just another pathetic pretext for another stupid reality TV series.