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Okay, I have to say: I went down a rabbit hole this morning truly worthy of an 18-year-old in Philosophy 101. How? I read a few comments attached to an interview I didn’t even watch. (Welcome to the world of ADD.)

The interview question was “Which is worse for the environment - species A or Species B?” Frankly, I think that’s a boring question, so I want to step back one.

Can a species, animal/vegetable/critter, even BE considered destructive in its usual habitat? Is there a critter whose normal behavior is considered harmful in its normal environment?

I’d like to exclude, for the moment, humans, farmed animals, and invasive species. Although there’s a secondary wormhole that we can look into later if you’re bored.

I’m not even sure what would qualify as harmful or destructive behavior in an unmolested environment, so there’s some freedom there as well.

I would have made such a good stoner…


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Originally Posted by Mellowicious
Can a species, animal/vegetable/critter, even BE considered destructive in its usual habitat?

In nature, there are bugs that thrive in their natural habitant, but are destructive to other environs when they become newly introduced. Hmm I'm not sure how they can be nondestructive in their native habit, other than other bugs keep them in check, and destructive in others - or maybe I just answered my own statement. smile


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But - are there critters who are destructive in their own, native environs? Not invasive species?


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Everything is part of God's plan! (Or Nature, if you are not religious.)

Mosquitos that carry loads of parasites and viruses? A major food source in places where they thrive. Not for us directly, but we do eat things that eat mosquitos.

Tsetse flies? They have protected a lot of the wild animals in central Africa by making their areas uninhabitable by humans!

A lot of our feelings about animal A being preferable to animal B, are pretty subjective. One is cute and furry. One has lethal venom. But rabbits are cute and furry, and introducing them to Australia was a disaster. Fighting extinction is silly. Extinction is a natural event, like forest fires. Put them all out, and you just make the situation much worse. Maybe a reasonable objective value is diversity: A lot of different species is better than monoculture, at least in terms of stability. But specific animal populations? They usually fluctuate in a predator/prey cycle. Evolution is amazingly talented in this aspect. Cicadas have 13 and 17 year cycles because their predators have cycles with shorter periodicity. Their prime number cycles do not line up with their predator's cycles, so they have longer term survival. Some researchers modeled what would happen if they didn't follow those cycles, and all simulations ended in extinction.

One of my favorite examples is the Gnatcatcher: On the endangered list in the US, and all sorts of legal decisions have been made to "protect this endangered species". Except they are genetically identical to the Mexican Gnatcatcher, and interbreed freely across the border. They are NOT endangered in the US at all. Some years their range moves North to include parts of California. Some years it doesn't. It's really a climate thing, like El Nino. They can't read the Welcome to The USA signs!


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Yep, those are good example, but not quite what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a critter whose actions are actually destructive to its environment (meaning, I suppose, that at some time they’d have to move on…)

Haven’t been able to come up with one.


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"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
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Originally Posted by Mellowicious
But - are there critters who are destructive in their own, native environs? Not invasive species?
Yup... Hoomans


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
R. Buckminster Fuller
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Y’all a part of that “don’t need instructions” bunch, hmmm?

Humans were specifically excluded because they’re the eas6 answer. But does any othe4 critter have that same pattern that we do?

The Philosophy 101 part is, of course, whether humans, in destroying their own environment, are simply following their own genetic coding, doing essentially what our species is intended to do?

So I thought would be easier if we could find another destructive (value-loaded word, that one) type of critter.

But then you’re clearly not smoking what my next-door neighbor is smoking.


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I never hear whistling any more; certainly not since I moved to this (small) city. I heard it a lot more as a kid (mostly boys and men, although occasionally a grown woman would surprise you.)

So, yes, lots of people whistled “back then” - possibly out of boredom - but once a while a real Whistler would make an appearance. In my mind it would be the primordial Uncle - and with no fanfare he would let a few complex bird whistles, or the melody from an old pop tune.

1968 was a lot different in small-town Nebraska than it was in, say, D.C, or Chicago.


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Originally Posted by Mellowicious
Y’all a part of that “don’t need instructions” bunch…
Oh, I need instructions, but compliance is quite another issue.

Other critters have their ebb and flow, ecological balance being an averaging thing, not a for sure steady state. I can’t think of an example of extirpative results from the behavior of nonhuman organisms that weren’t triggered by the epitome of God’s creation, though.


You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.
R. Buckminster Fuller
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