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Scientists Build an Ark To Save Jungle Amphibians

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the forty-cubits dept.

Earth 127

Peace Corps Online writes "In the 1980s a deadly fungus called chytrid appeared in Central America and began moving through mountain streams, killing as many as 8 out of 10 frogs and extinguishing some species entirely. (The fungus has little effect on any other vertebrates.) Now a returned Peace Corps volunteer and her husband have opened the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center in western Panama to house more than 600 frogs as chytrid cuts a lethal path through the region. Experts agree that the only hope of saving some of the more endangered, restricted-range species is to collect animals from remaining wild populations, establish captive breeding programs, and be prepared to conduct reintroduction projects in the future. But before reintroduction can even begin, scientists must find some way to overcome the chytrid in native habitats using vaccines, breeding for resistance, or genetic engineering of the fungus. Conservationists are budgeting for 25 years of captive breeding, long enough, they believe, to allow some response to chytrid to be found. 'There are more species in need of rescue than there are resources to rescue them,' says Amphibian Ark's program director. 'When you're talking about insidious threats like disease or climate change, threats that can't be mitigated in the wild, there's simply no alternative.'"

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127 comments

How far we've fallen (-1, Troll)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025159)

From the original text of the Peace Corp Act (emphasis mine):
to promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.

And now they're begging for money to save frogs. Is there really no more need in the world for "trained men and women"? Or even in Panama (the focus of this slashvertisement)? Well, by all means, then, change the focus/goals of your (gov't funded) organization. But please reflect it on your own website [peacecorps.gov]. And then explain to all those poor bastards that could apparently use trained/skilled workers, that they'll just have to get by with their current medicine/infrastructure/agriculture workforce until the frogs are taken care of.

Also, fuck you.

Re:How far we've fallen (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025207)

Is there really no more need in the world for "trained men and women"?

There is, but most countries have their own trained people these days. If their training doesn't get applied the reasons are most likely political and the Peace Corps can't solve political problems on their own.

Re:How far we've fallen (3, Insightful)

ElectricRook (264648) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025235)

And now they're begging for money to save frogs.

It seems to me, that here they are begging money to fight evolution...

Witness Don Quixote in action.

Re:How far we've fallen (2, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026031)

insidious threats like disease or climate change

I think you missed the part where they worked in climate change. Surely we must to something!

Re:How far we've fallen (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027825)

It seems to me, that here they are begging money to fight evolution...

Natural selection, not evolution. And people have always been about preventing natural selection. We call it compassion, it's a pretty common trait. I guess it's more comfortable to look at it cynically for some people though.

Re:How far we've fallen (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025313)

fuck you and the high horse you rode in on, buddy

Next time I'll make sure the Peace Corps checks with you first before they make a move to improve the world

Re:How far we've fallen (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025411)

so if owning a chimpanzee is illegal, you'd wouldn't mind if they arrested you for having too much back hair?

Re:How far we've fallen (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025653)

How is saving frogs from evolution improving the world exactly?

Re:How far we've fallen (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027991)

Don't you like frogs or something??

You are right, there will be some frogs you are resitant to the fungus, they will be worse of if we keep these other frogs, and then release them into the forest.

Re:How far we've fallen (4, Informative)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025389)

Did you read the article you fucking dimwit? This is not a Peace Corps project, and the only connection to the Peace Corps is that one of the people doing it used to be a Peace Corps volunteer.

He is allowed to do other things I hope.

Look, I know, being apparently rather stupid and badly educated, you do not like to read articles; I am sure entire articles with all their long paragraphs and sentences and stuff tire you out and are terrible burden upon you. And I am sure it is much easier and more fun to just vent this pent up hatred you have of volunteer organizations. I mean whats not to hate about volunteer organizations -- they try to help people. The bastards.

But you see, if you are going to start flaming on slashdot, you should try very hard to read the article (you can do it, just get plenty of sleep beforehand). You have to do it just to cover your ass. Otherwise you get flamed yourself. Asshole.

Re:How far we've fallen (5, Funny)

leromarinvit (1462031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025779)

But you see, if you are going to start flaming on slashdot, you should try very hard to read the article (you can do it, just get plenty of sleep beforehand). You have to do it just to cover your ass. Otherwise you get flamed yourself. Asshole.

I think you forgot to add "Also, fuck you."

quick question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025201)

anyone know the website number?

Nature? (4, Insightful)

Brimmith (1090637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025213)

I understand that we dont want frogs to die off in that region but why mess with nature. If we vaccinate these frogs and there numbers swell; what are those consequences going to be? Im sure that the frogs will adapt to the environment and overcome.

Re:Nature? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025297)

> Im sure that the frogs will adapt to the environment and overcome.

And if they don't, something else will.

No tasty bug goes un-eaten for long.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Re:Nature? (-1, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025719)

You should realize by now that most "nature lovers", "evolutionists", and many other words thoroughly represented at the left end of the political spectrum really don't appreciate all this "survival of the fittest" crap. Evolution, protecting nature, environmentalism, ... these are all words. You would do well to NOT ever remind anyone of their meaning.

After all, that might lead to people asking "does Al Gore really thing he'll bring down co2 production by buying 2 new yachts, and flying around the globe in private jets ? By the way, how much energy does his house use ?". That would make people really uncomfortable.

People especially don't like nature, and evolution, the way nature works even less. They hate it when applied to little cute (or horrible) animals, and certainly, above all, hate it when applied to them.

Ever notice how just about every "evolution is good" person uses condoms ? They probably don't even realize the utter stupidity of that. These people are NOT interested in nature, or natural processes. And they certainly don't want to get confronted with what happens to people who fail the natural selection thingy. They also don't want to be told that they, just like anyone else, might fail that little natural selection thing.

And of course, that little detail is the very central part of evolution theory. Evolutionists, or environmentalists complaining about extinction (even due to human interference) is a bit like physicists complaining about gravity and falling apples.

So remember. You need to care about the little cuddly things, and say nice things about the guys "trying to save the species" (while they're killing many others of course, watching huge tv's, turning up the heating to the maximum and so on). You should not -EVER- point out that if pollution is a problem for many species, nature will adapt. This "adaption" will of course, like any natural adaption, be a massive, massive field of dead animals, something no "nature lover" has the least tolerance for. Do not point out that saving them is basically equivalent to sabotaging their genes (while, ironically, things like gene splicing is helping them).

Nature (3, Insightful)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025219)

Why not leave nature to its own devices? Survival of the fittest, and all that kinda stuff...

Re:Nature (2, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025275)

Because Nature is "insidious" if it is not commensurate with our financial aspirations.

Re:Nature (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025735)

And because reality is that evolution is a cruel, horrible game involving more death than anyone can tolerate. ... and therefore it is something that should, especially when it affects humans, be stopped at any cost.

Re:Nature (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025815)

What would have happened if this disease had happened 1000 years ago? The frogs would have died. In fact, 99.99% of all species that have ever existed are now dead. That's the way the planet works.

Re:Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026049)

What if that species was not intended to survive? God's gonna be pissed...

Re:Nature (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026091)

That's not how it works. If you save a species, you have to expend resources to do that, reducing your own likelihood of survival.

You see, "God"(/nature/natural selection), simply keeps a tab.

Of course you don't want to know what happens when you can't pay the tab anymore. In fact, that alone is probably enough reason to make one believe in creationism.

Re:Nature (2, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025295)

Why not save species from extinction if we can?

Re:Nature (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025403)

Why not extinguish species if we can?
That's the same kind of question.
Personally I believe it is a pointless exercise to spend some of our limited resources, so we can delay a natural process that has no direct impact on us. We shouldn't be playing god unless we really have to. A stable ecosystem is based on extinction-level events happening.

Re:Nature (1)

nicodoggie (1228876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027659)

The thing about complex systems such as the ecosystem is that something that has no direct impact may have some indirect impact that may just be even worse, maybe not.

My brain is still in conflict with itself with the pointlessness of rescuing (and selectively eradicating) a species, however. We don't know if the extinction of this particular species would be a boon or not. It might not even matter, but wouldn't it be better to maintain the status quo and eradicate the fungus? At least we know, more or less how the local ecosystem functions at that state.

But then again, maybe the fungal species changed the dynamics of the ecosystem too much already. I guess you're right about the pointlessness of meddling then.

Meh to whatever happens as a result.

Re:Nature (1)

soren202 (1477905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025447)

it's expensive and takes a lot of manpower/monetary resources that could go better spent on efforts beneficial to humans?

Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should, although there are a number of other perfectly valid reasons for why we should try and save the frogs from extinction.

Re:Nature (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025873)

although there are a number of other perfectly valid reasons for why we should try and save the frogs from extinction

You're saying that they're good to eat or something?

Re:Nature (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025823)

>>>Why not save species from extinction if we can?

Because these frogs are going to be extinct anyway, once the next meteorite hits. Every time there's a major extinction event, 95-99% of the planet's animals get killed. We're not saving the frogs; we're just postponing the inevitable.

Re:Nature (5, Insightful)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026035)

we're just postponing the inevitable.

Which is why we go to the doctor.

You make it sound like postponing the inevitable is a bad thing. Maybe we'll learn a thing or two from these frogs or about these frogs if we keep them around just a little bit longer.

Re:Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27027685)

Maybe we will learn more from the species that benefit from having the frogs die out ...

Re:Nature (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27028009)

Do we need all the frogs or just few for research purposes? How do they taste? If they taste good sell some as food and use the rest for research.

Because the new version of "Natural" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025315)

Is to protect some steady state that has never existed in nature.

Re:Nature (5, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025331)

It is our nature to interfere with nature, and who are we to interfere with nature? Therefore, in order to be true to our nature (and therefore not interfere with nature) we must surely interfere with nature!

indeed (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025453)

I believe Love And Rockets covered this [youtube.com]: "You cannot go against nature / because when you do / go against nature / it's part of nature too".

Thus confirming the thesis that all major questions of philosophy have been covered by 80s music.

Re:indeed (3, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025885)

Thus confirming the thesis that all major questions of philosophy have been covered by 80s music.

Philosophy maybe, but that still leaves the ethical questions regarding their 80's hairstyles...

Re:indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026803)

I'd be more concerned with the engineering questions regarding said hairstyles.

Re:indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026137)

That was an awesome song. I've been a huge fan of L&R for years.

Re:indeed (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027115)

Not quite true! It's very funny and I hate to be serious when someone is genuinely funny, but it's also untrue.

You do not necessarily go against "nature" due only to other emotional drives imposed by instinct. That's what's so cool about being self-aware AND capable of intelligence (universal logic). It's almost painfully obvious but difficult to state at the same time: the brain is capable of regulating your conscious activity due to impulses based on rationale that is irrelevant to human beings altogether. For example, you can refuse to have children, not out of rebellion (egoistic origin) or desire to be different (again ego workings here) but simply due to lack of reason for doing so, or in recognition of difficulties imposed by the choice..etc.

I doubt the song meant to include logic in human nature, but if it did, then those guys really were on crack :)

Re:Nature (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026029)

You know, once you realize the obvious, that humans are part of nature, your statement stops making sense.

Every breath any human takes "interferes with nature", for obvious reasons.

And obviously, having 6 billion very big animals alive interferes a lot.

Re:Nature (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025445)

How would biologists stay employed, if not for this?

Re:Nature (1)

The tECHIDNA (677584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025897)

Or epidemiologists, or hell, even your friendly neighborhood doctor:

"Oh sure, I'd love to help you -- and others -- out with that nasty bout of flu you're suffering from this year, but because Herbert Spencer's saying [wikipedia.org] is now an immutable Law of Nature for...um, some reason...hopefully humanity will evolve its way out of this faster than the virus does."
[[Doctor pats patient on the back]]
"Good luck next life...if that exists!" [[Doctor laughs evilly]]

Re:Nature (1, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025467)

amen, but don't you know that environmentalists these days seem more interested in empathetic selection than natural selection, eg survival of what I love most, not survival of the fittest. All they are doing is keeping the inevitable away, if the weak frogs are not killed off then what happens when we are not around to save them next time?

Re:Nature (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025833)

Or what happens to the salamanders that would have filled their niche when they were gone? Sometimes it is hard to believe how many "environmentalists" are not.

Re:Nature (4, Interesting)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025497)

Humans are virtually incapable of making realistic cost-benefit analyses of these type of situations. There is so much genetic material phasing into and out of existence, human beings could not begin to comprehend it all. However, a single species is easy enough to comprehend, and so by being considered at all it gets a fairly disproportionate representation in the grand scheme of earth's ecosystem. (and I guess the 'conservationists' are not so sentimental about fungus as frogs)

I think it is interesting that their long-term solution is either to attack the fungus (basically performing a total reversal of natural selection through human intervention) or to preserve the frogs and provide the frogs with some kind of immunity. Of course, nature *already has* an paradigm for immunity, the principle mechanism of which is to let all the organisms that lack intrinsic biological defenses to be killed off.

Re:Nature (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025847)

Good observation. Who's to say the fungus is worthy of death? Perhaps this stuff will eventually be the cure for cancer, to be filtered and purified around the year 2150, but those stupid "primitives" of the 2000s destroyed it.

Re:Nature (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025985)

"There is so much genetic material phasing into and out of existence, human beings could not begin to comprehend it all. "

That is why we should collect as much as practical for future examination and exploitation. Save the data for when we have much greater power to use it. Every species lost is potentially useful data.

Re:Nature (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026047)

It is not wrong to fight death. After all, you're statement basically states that any artificial immunity, both against physical problems and against other species is wrong.

So treating someone for a virus infection is wrong. So it putting a roof over someone's head to prevent him from freezing to death.

Tell me, do you live in a house ? Wouldn't it be better to let all humans that need houses die off ? That would, obviously, probably include you. But isn't that better ?

Natural selection is a horrible, horrible basis for moral judgements. Obviously we, as humans, want to interfere with nature, and interfere bigtime. And that's just the way it should be.

After all, without massive intervention in nature by humans, there would be no slashdot for us to have this discussion in the first place.

Re:Nature (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026979)

It is not wrong to fight death. After all, you're statement basically states that any artificial immunity, both against physical problems and against other species is wrong.

Here is a thought experiment. Imagine that starting now all deaths on Earth are permanently stopped, and all life forms remain healthy and at their peak age. What do you think the planet will look like in a week, in a month, in a year?

The nature already produces more insects and animals than their habitat can carry. The excess population must die, or else the entire population dies. To illustrate: you and your buddy are on a raft in an ocean. It will take two months to get to the shore. You have enough food for both of you to last one month. If you both remain alive you will starve one month away from the shore. If you or your buddy jumps into the water, the remaining person will have enough food to reach the safety.

Re:Nature (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026017)

Save the frogs, kill the fungus! Yes, trust us, frogs are cuter than fungus, they will clearly be more beneficial to our species than a new fungus ever could hope to be.

Besides, if we do nothing, the surviving 20% of frogs will follow their primal instincts and repopulate themselves! And what's worse, the new generations will be immune to this harmful fungus!! The inhumanity!

Re:Nature (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026145)

Who says this is 'nature' to begin with?

This fungus could have been easily spread solely by human interaction, or made worse meddling or mere presence. Who's to say?

Maybe this is a little semantic, but I personally believe we are part of nature and "leaving nature to its own devices" includes our meddling... We are indeed a device of nature.

Whether or not we interfere, of course, is a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' proposition. Our lack of interference (especially if the fungus is related to us) could be detrimental in some way. On the other hand, our participation could be equally detrimental.

Re:Nature (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027855)

Why not leave nature to its own devices?

I guess the actual answer would be that these people don't want to and, having studied the issue beyond just a slashdot blurb, think it's a good idea. Or maybe it's a big scam. Could be either way really.

At least one obvious pragmatic reason to save them: we might find a use for them. We already use frogs in a lot of bio research. In establishing captive breeding programs we might find that one of these more exotic species is actually better than our current model organisms at some things. We might find some chemical in them that is useful for something, like a protein that is extremely efficient at regulating chromatin dynamics that we could use as a cancer-fighting drug.

Anyway, it seems a more worthy goal to me than some other goals. Like "My goal is to become the next american idol!" or "I want to establish abstinence-only education for inner city schools." Lets make fun of THOSE people instead of these guys.

sentimental fools (1, Interesting)

Potor (658520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025253)

This is pure sentimentalization of nature. Are we going to protect gazelles from cheetahs next?

Re:sentimental fools (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025459)

This is not natural:
"Due to its extensive use in obstetrics and research, it appears Xenopus laevis has carried B. dendrobatidis with it out of Africa to all over the world, causing chytridomycosis and eventually death in native frogs naÃve to the fungi."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no12/03-0804.htm

MOD AC up (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025647)

Thank-you, uninformed comments about sentmental environmentalists and evolution are arguing in a factual vacum.

Re:sentimental fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025715)

You only knew that 'cos it was on QI last night!

Re:sentimental fools (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026061)

Which part of it is not natural ? A disease (fungus) was carried by a host organism to a new place where it infected a vulnerable organism.

The transporter was not affected by the disease.

We're just lucky we were the transporter in this case. In the case of malaria, we're the vulnerable organisms.

Humans are part of nature.

Re:sentimental fools (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025641)

Probably yes. If only because the Gazelles are likely to taste better to humans than the cheetahs.

(Providing a nice herd for hunting is one of the primary reasons for wolf control in the somewhat less populated areas of North America...the other is that lots of people want to live by trees and grass, but not by big dangerous animals)

Really, I don't see the problem with getting sentimental about nature, as long as it doesn't cost a lot. It makes more sense than getting sentimental about Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, and there are plenty of people who do that.

frog huggers. Sounds dubioius (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025259)

Breeding frogs in a greenhouse for many generations for reintroduction into a native environment? Wow, I bet the descendants will be much better prepared [/sarcasm]

Then there's the chance that the critters could be accidentally or mischievously let out in some sheltered environment (e.g. Hawaii, Austrailia), and overrun the place.

What about speciation and adaptation based on natural selection in their native environment? Just because 80+ pct are killed off by the fungus doesn't mean that they can't adapt and recover. At least, that's one reason we're told it's so hard to clear out pests from an inhabited area by chemical means.

Re:frog huggers. Sounds dubioius (1)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026089)

Just because 80+ pct are killed off by the fungus doesn't mean that they can't adapt and recover.

I thought the point was that, in this case, the people observing think they won't be able to adapt and recover. The summary says, "extinguishing some species entirely" meaning it's already killed off some species that didn't adapt (to this fungus carried from Africa by humans).

It was a human accident (not malice).

Now the question is, do we sit back and watch them die or do we try to save some of them. When you spill wine on your friend's carpet, do you watch the stain soak in or do you take some responsibility and try to clean it up?

Re:frog huggers. Sounds dubioius (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027567)

Now the question is, do we sit back and watch them die or do we try to save some of them.

]

We sit back and watch them die. We might learn something about evolution by doing so.

When you spill wine on your friend's carpet, do you watch the stain soak in or do you take some responsibility and try to clean it up?

Depends on whether they noticed me spill it, I guess. Though any of my friends who saw me with wine in my hand would know something was up. "I don't drink...wine." fits me to a T.

Evolution stymied? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025267)

Is this a good idea?

Preserving species that are not fit for their environment seems the wrong approach to me. The chance of ever totally eradicating this fungus is nil, and if the most numerous amphibian population around is a re-seeded susceptible population you get to re-play the whole scenario in another 25 or 100 years.

Even trying to bread a frog with some resistance is at best an artificial solution, and one that historically has never worked on any grand scale.

Nature is not so fragile that the loss of said frogs will not be offset the the advance of some niche dweller to fill the gap.

We can't even manage our own affairs. It seems unwise and premature to step in and take over from mother nature.

Re:Evolution stymied? (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025351)

The problem is that we could be causing this disease to spread. One reason which has been put forward is that frog researchers who go from country to country are spreading diseases. So saving frogs in this instance may be more a case of fixing the damage we have done.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025405)

> One reason which has been put forward is that frog researchers who go from country to country are spreading diseases.

If so, funding more frog researchers seems hardly wise.

Re:Evolution stymied? (2, Interesting)

Sidshow (1402661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025429)

Yes, researchers likely have caused the damage, but what people forget is that humans are part of nature.

If the frogs your researching can't handle the act of you researching them then you have just evolved yourself out of a job. These researchers like the frogs in the wild need to adapt, find new work, or perish along with there beloved research subjects.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025515)

Yes, researchers likely have caused the damage, but what people forget is that humans are part of nature.

Yes, but if you're going to play that card, then "humans rescuing frogs from disease" is also part of nature.

If the frogs your researching can't handle the act of you researching them then you have just evolved yourself out of a job. These researchers like the frogs in the wild need to adapt, find new work, or perish along with there beloved research subjects.

I'm not sure that makes much sense. Firstly, if they can save the frogs from disease, then it's not true that the frogs can't "handle" it. Secondly, if researching frogs gives us valuable information, then we shouldn't throw that away just because being a frog researcher is difficult.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026079)

Yes, but if you're going to play that card, then "humans rescuing frogs from disease" is also part of nature.

EXACTLY. We can make the earth the way we see fit. We can make it a very nice place for humans to live in.

There is nothing wrong with that. Isn't there something about that even in the bible ? We've known this for quite a while.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025531)

Intelligence got us into this mess and it will have to get us out. We can't just sit back and say "well thats nature for you". Otherwise there would be no wilderness left very soon.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025599)

It is still unproven that researchers were the (only) carriers. Frog eating birds may have spread the fungus as well. It's spread was probably inevitable.

Its also unproven the the "wilderness" needs saving. After all, the next cure for cancer could just as likely be lurking in the species the frogs are suppressing with their voracious appetites, or the species that steps up to fill the frog's niche.

"Won't somebody please think of the cancer patients!"

Re:Evolution stymied? (4, Funny)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025443)

Even trying to bread a frog ... is at best an artificial solution, and one that historically has never worked on any grand scale.

I disagree. I've successfully managed to bread frogs en masse, you just have to have a really large fryer. Delicious and crispy!

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Re:Evolution stymied? (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025697)

Keeping the frogs available for study may help us learn to exploit them.

The more creatures we "ranch" the more we have available. Think of it as a "seed bank" of sorts. Instead of killing off species, we can retain and manipulate them.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026073)

Preserving species that are not fit for their environment seems the wrong approach to me. The chance of ever totally eradicating this fungus is nil, and if the most numerous amphibian population around is a

So we should let all alaskans die, and most of canada ? After all, most of that place would not, without massive human intervention, be habitable for humans.

Perhaps you should terminate civilization ? Force humans, including you of course, to survive without houses, without cities, without walmart, and above all, without agriculture.

99% of people, at least, would obviously die in the first few weeks. But nature is resilient, isn't it ?

Fighting natural selection isn't wrong. At all.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026171)

What the hell are you raving about?
The north has been inhabitable since before the last ice age.

What does this have to do with the topic at hand?

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026243)

The point is, it is not inhabitable (for humans) without technological interventions.

Since things like heated homes are obviously interference, artificially keeping the species alive in an area that nature would forbid to them, we should destroy those interventions, by which I mean destroy their houses, cities, roads, cars, and even any fires they may try to make, and "let nature take it's course" (ie. killing probably every last alaskan and the large majority of canadians).

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026269)

> The point is, it is not inhabitable (for humans) without technological interventions.

Go tell your nonsense to the Eskimo populations.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026439)

So those don't use fire ? Those don't build houses ? They don't have technology ? They don't interfere with their "natural" surroundings ?

Think for a second before you say stuff.

Re:Evolution stymied? (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027541)

> The point is, it is not inhabitable (for humans) without technological interventions.

Go tell your nonsense to the Eskimo populations.

Ummm, you do know that clothing, houses, harpoons, fishhooks, sleds, and other things like that are, well, TECHNOLOGY?

Alas, it's not true that technology is appropriate only to describe the products of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. We've been doing "technology" since one of our ancestors first banged two rocks together to produce an edge to cut through a deer's hide.

Re:Evolution stymied? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027753)

How is any of this germane?

What one species does to survive in any particular environment has absolutely nothing to do with that species taking on the task of managing evolution for a frog in central america.

We can live in the arctic, and even on the moon.
But we can not micromanage evolution for every species on earth EVEN IF we might have impacted them in the past.

Now go away with this stupid argument about the arctic and what mankind does to survive.

Re:Evolution stymied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026681)

Considering the path most of "civilization" is headed, killing it off sounds like a good idea.

More like frog domestication (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27025423)

I know I've been looking forward to free-range fried frog's legs that don't let you down in the hallucination department.

Extinction is the end of all life (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025705)

Losing a species unbalances nature so horribly it causes a chain reaction that terminates all life. This must be the first example of non-human-influenced extinction. This doesn't make sense; obviously it's a human's fault for bringing the fungus from some other continent, or something. What next? Brining Manbearpig to tropical paradises on oil tankers?

How long (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27025887)

Till humans end up in captive breeding programs to keep the population alive?

Re:How long (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026003)

"Till humans end up in captive breeding programs to keep the population alive?"

We do essentially that with foreign aid.

Re:How long (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026065)

Foreign aid? What about local welfare programs? We already support tons of people who can't support themselves.

And before anyone goes crazy about what I just wrote, I realize that some people are just down on their luck and need a little help. I'm talking about those shiftless bums who just take the free handouts and don't bother trying, or could never support themselves even if they -did- try.

As a side note, I used to spend a lot of time thinking about how society has stopped evolution in humans... But then I realized it didn't stop it, just changed its direction. It worried me a lot less after that. (But still a little, as we don't let it remove genetic disease any more.)

Make room for all of God's creatures.... (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27026447)

...on my plate, next to the mashed potatos.

the untied states should pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026611)

as long as these programs are paid for entirely by the untied states, that's fine. the untied states can afford to spend trillions of dollars each day. a hundred billion or so to save the frogs won't even be noticed.

Arks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026863)

Arks are why slashdotters are so numerous. We just refer to them as basements.

Well I'm going to build an ark to save chytrid (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27026969)

If we're going to save one species, we must save them all.

You FaPil Itf. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27027137)

to be about doing AAL OVER AMERICA troubles of Walnut

don't rescue them (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027155)

in 50 years those frogs that survive the fungus will fill the open spot in the food chain.

we spend a lot of effort trying to stop change.

These guys should read up on their fungus (1)

narrowhouse (1949) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027209)

A cure for chytridiomycosis has already been found. Researchers in New Zealand have found that infected Frogs can be treated with Chloramphenicol. Incredibly cheap to make, effective, and only causes aplastic anemia in 1 in 25,000 to 40,000 humans. What could possibly go wrong? It's not like interfering with nature using chemicals ever has any unintended consequences.

Let forever be (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27027707)

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that these nature lovers are hypocrites. There are two things that are certain in life: nature has a way of balancing itself out, and humans have a way to destroy everything they touch. If 8 out of 10 frogs are being killed by this fungus, that's the millenia-old rule of the survival of the fittest. We try to interfere with this impenetrable law, and we end up fucking with something else indirectly.

At best, it will save a few frogs whose existence has been deemed obsolete by the natural chemical evolution of their own habitat. At worst, it will lead to the birth of a stronger, human-borne disease that will wreak far greater havoc in our lives. The only fact is that we don't know all the variables at play, and meddling with them is, by definition, a foolish act in itself.

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