When the first Europeans came to America, 5 billion Passenger Pigeons flew in great flocks. When they migrated, it is said that they darkened the skies for days. Mass shootings were common, killing them for fun, feathers and food - for slaves and the poor. In 1914, the species became extinct, as the one remaining bird, callled Martha, died.

 

 

 

Now, futurist, Steward Brand is in the process or gathering Martha’s genetic data to introduce into a similar species,to de-extinct — to resurect, one of many species that had been eliminated by human ignorance and hubris.

 

While the prospect is very exciting, and seems like a good thing to do, there is another issue to consider.

 

This bird did not exist in isolation, but was part of a whole integrated system.

Can we be certain that we are not unbalancing another system, as we have by eliminating preditors that have allowed deer to be a menace, or by the introduction of carp and Burmese Pythons which have become a menace in the Great Lakes and the Florida Everglades?