Field of Science

Extinction is forever - A close call for an ebony

Islands are evolutionary laboratories providing genetic isolation of any organism that disperses there with the result that new and novel species often arise that grow no where else.  Then there are those species (just 1) that build boats so that they may disperse more easily, and bring with them their pigs and goats, much to the detriment of endemic species that arose in isolation from such organisms.  Here's a story of a near brush with extinction, the St. Helena's ebony.  Long thought extinct, two bushes were found growing on a cliff beyond the reach of grazing goats.  With the assistance of Kew Gardens, this species' extinction has been forestalled for now, by using these two survivors to propogate new plants, something not easily done without today's biotechnical tools.  Without botanical gardens with such conservation programs the situation around the world would be much worse.  Of course, what difference does such a species make?  Why should we care?  Why should we expend so many resources rescuing this tree?  Maybe next time the species will be something really important, and knowing how to do it would be a good thing.  And who are you to judge this species of no consequence?  And to give you some idea what TPP means, parochial dolts, unfortunately dolts put in charge of higher education, wonder why we "waste" time and money teaching our students about rain forest as if all that matters, or should matter, takes place within the non-biological borders of Lincolnland. 

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