Friday, October 5, 2007

Monster management

It is of course impossible to know the thoughts of people who have vanished long ago, especially if they did not write them down.

The program that I watched last night attempted to do just that, though – ascribing the extinction of the Australian Giant Ripper Lizard to a methodical extermination campaign by Aborigines tired of being snacked on by the beast.

It’s easy to feel a pang for the loss of the moa bird, the eastern bison, the Irish elk or tropical frogs. It’s harder to feel sorrow at the extinction of a horrific, slimy-mouthed monster that could eat a man for lunch and still be hungry. Especially if it roamed the very lands we roam, rather than lurking in the ocean depths or in some swamp, where a man ought to be more cautious venturing and in which a fool hath no business to be.

Here’s an interesting hypothetical. Suppose that somebody out exploring the Outback of Australia, discovered that a few specimens of the Giant Ripper Lizard were still hanging on, say in some remote forest.

Suppose that after this discovery, it was learned that the beasts were reproducing and, with most of the Aborigine hunters eliminated or occupied in other tasks since the arrival of the Europeans, were beginning to spread again across the continent.


Conservationists, presented with this scenario, should the ancient extinction campaign be renewed? After all, you are not talking about a beast that stays in some swamp for the most part or that can be controlled by even the bravest, toughest crocodile wrestler. You are talking about 900 pounds of land-roving, man-eating lizard also packing a mouthful of deadly bacteria.


Open Grove Claudia said...

It sounds like a novel. Maybe you should write that book!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh, so THAT explains my encounter along the beach the other day! (Grin)

eastcoastdweller said...

Shrink-Wrapped: It is true indeed: ancient beasts of frightful mien and horrible temper are still to be found and some of them will ruin a day at the beach.

LayDdee said...

I lost your email and would like to talk with you. No problems just need to run something by you.

Braveheart ( Ela) said...

In a way it is also impossible to really know what people really ment, even if they wrote something down. Quoting, for example, is really taking short sentences out of context.

the hypothetical subject you mention here is very interesting and not easy to answer, because, conservationist or not, this is a call for total kill, is it?