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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.
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"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer






Tuesday, August 22, 2006

 

-- Just a Reminder --

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There are only a few ways to demonstrate the likely extinction of an entire species:

1. Await a long passage of time (100's of years) over which the species is no longer observed.

2. Conduct thorough searches of all locales the species might inhabit and find none.

3. Carry out some adequate combination of both the above (a shorter passage of time, but with an adequate search, and no reports).

Pterodactyls and Moas are thusly most likely extinct. Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, not even close. Everyone agrees they were around as recently as 60 years ago, and they have been reported repeatedly ever since, with thorough, organized searches being undertaken only recently in many quarters.

So just a reminder to those folks who are fond of saying, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" -- the extinction of an entire species IS an extraordinary claim, and yes, it requires extraordinary evidence. By all means, let me know when you have some; I'd be interested in seeing it.
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Comments:
So there is still a chance that the
Carolina Parakeet, Passenger Pigeon, Great Auk, Labrador
Duck, etc. could still be found?
They certainly have not been
missing for 100's of years!
 
I fear that both you and anonymous are piling misleading analogy upon misleading analogy. The IBWO is virtually sui generis and making comparisons with the pterodactyl, or the moa, or the carolina parakeet and other more modern extinctions is a mistake. One key difference lies in the large number of sightings since the purported "last" confirmed one. There are some other such animals, the thylacine for example, but both sides in this debate need to be a little more mindful when it comes to hyperbole.

The suggestion that the IBWO's survival is somehow extraordinary in the Sagan sense is yet another misleading analogy, for the simple reason that we all know the IBWO existed a mere sixty years ago. The same cannot be said for extraterrestrial life.
 
Re: the Carolina Parakeet, Passenger Pigeon, et al., exactly how many reports of these have we had in recent decades??? Actually, IF it is the case that plausible habitat for any of those species remains that has not been explored then yes living specimens could exist.
It's EVEN possible that the Takahe, the New Zealand Storm Petrel, the Bermuda Petrel, the Mountain Pigmy Possum, and the Coelacanth, could still be alive SOMEwhere on this planet... ohh yeah, I forgot... THEY ARE!
 
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