Friday 3 July 2009


165 years ago, on July 3rd 1844, humanity had one of its crappier moments.


John B. said...

I didn't realize today was such an important anniversary.

david said...

Oh, that's depressing. Horrible.

Jochen said...

The thing that makes the extinction of the Great Auk so tragic is the fact that it didn't just disappear because of "general" reasons, e.g. habitat destruction or accidentally introduced mammalian predators to its breeding islands.
The last birds were actually killed deliberately, for collections or through sheer stupidity. I mean, a witch? Please!!!
Very, very simple actions could have easily prevented its demise but nothing was done.

Humanity at its best.

Anonymous said...

Truly depressing, indeed. Even worse, we've learned nothing from mistakes and nothing from stupidity. At times, I despair.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that as individuals, we learn from past mistakes. I'm not so sure about the ability of populations to improve themselves.

Jochen said...

Wren, I suppose the key question is the assessment of what actions are deemed as mistakes by those who undertake them.
I am not sure those who strangled the last Auks thought that this had been a mistake - they sure made some fine money selling the corpses. They probably said (or thought) that they'd do it again - anytime, anywhere, any bird.