Except where dinosaurs or media-friendly modern species are in play, extinction barely rates a yawn. But here is an interesting item by Veronika Meduna at New Scientist, on a plan to return an ecosystem to a previous time:
We are inside the old water reservoir for New Zealand’s capital, Wellington. Over the past two decades, it has undergone an extraordinary transformation, from urban utility to ecological haven. During the day, large forest parrots called kaka swoop over tuatara, the only survivors of a prehistoric group of reptiles. Night-time visitors have a good chance of crossing paths with a little spotted kiwi. Hihi – small black, white and yellow birds that had once disappeared from New Zealand’s main islands – are flourishing.
What you won’t see are many mammals: virtually all have been eradicated. Mice (and humans) are the only exception and pest control keeps mouse numbers low. (paywall) More.
Before human introductions, bats were the only terrestrial mammals in New Zealand.
To really understand evolution, we need also to learn much more about stasis and extinction.
It will be most interesting to see how well the project works. It almost seems like a lab test. We tend to think of extirpations/extinctions in relation to threatened species, but rats are not typically threatened and adapt easily.
One also predicts that the government of New Zealand will lose the war on cats. Cats infest the human mind, which is the most powerful form of parasitism ever developed.
See also: The dinosaurs died of darkness and cold (not so much any of the other things listed )
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