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“We are the planet’s super-predator”

14 January, 2009

As humans hunt, their prey gets smaller: study


“As predators, humans are a dominant evolutionary force,” said Chris Darimont of the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It’s an ideal recipe for rapid trait change.”

Rapid change, of course, is not always good for us as melting glaciers, rising water levels, fiercer storms, significant weather variations have begun to make clear to some of us. And the same is true of living things as well.


[Dairmont and his colleagues] studied changes in the size of fish, limpets, snails, bighorn sheep and caribou, as well as two plants — the Himalayan snow lotus and American ginseng.

In virtually all cases, human-targeted species got smaller and smaller and started reproducing at younger ages — making populations more vulnerable.


Vulnerable food sources and environment will eventually impact our ways of life. Dominant species or not, we are dependent on everything around us for the survival of our species.  (Okay, maybe not rocks.  Maybe we can do without rocks, but you do get my point.)

“The public knows we often harvest far too many fish, but the threat goes above and beyond numbers,” Darimont said in a statement. “We’re changing the very essence of what remains, sometimes within the span of only two decades. We are the planet’s super-predator.”

So, might I suggest that all those hunters who pride themselves in the size of their catch reconsider how it affects us all.  Unless you are hunting for a huge number of people, you can probably make do with the smaller fish, the smaller dear, and the smaller duck.  In the long run we would all benefit from it, including the fish, animals, and other “edibles.”

Unless like me, you are a vegetarian and don’t mind soy, vegetables, fruits, beans, and rice.

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