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Baiji River Dolphin May or May Not Be Extinct

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-don't-want-to-go-on-the-cart dept.

Science 175

ozmanjusri writes "Major news outlets are reporting that after 20 million years, Baiji (Yangtze River Dolphin) are now officially extinct. This is apparently actually old news; it was announced on a Baiji conservation website in December of last year. One outlet, though, is claiming they may not quite be completely dead yet. The same scientist that filed the report leading the the declaration of extinction is still hopeful: '"This is only one survey and...you can't have a sample in a survey, so you cannot say the baiji all is gone by the result of only one survey," he said. "For example, there is some side channels or some tributaries [where] we cannot go because of a restriction of navigation rules, and also we don't survey during the night-time so we may miss some animals in the Yangtze River." Professor Ding says based on anecdotal evidence, he remains confident the dolphins are still out there. "I'm pretty much sure there are a few of them left somewhere in the Yangtze River," he said. "I keep receiving reports from fishermen, they say they saw a couple of baiji somewhere, sometime."'"

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You Idiots (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20199995)

This is apparently actually old news; it was announced on a Baiji conservation website in December of last year.
I'll do you one better than that, it was apparently reported on fucking Slashdot too [slashdot.org] .

Seriously, what is wrong with you people? Are you purposely making fun of yourselves? Because to those of us who aren't in on the joke, which is most of us I guess, it looks like the site is run by a bunch of fucking dumbasses.

Re:You Idiots (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200003)

... it looks like the site is run by a bunch of fucking dumbasses.

Yeah, but we keep coming back. Who is more the fool ... the fool, or the fool who follows a fool?

Re:You Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200065)

While it's nice to think the Yangtzse dolphin may not be extint, even if there are a couple around there won't be for much longer, it's considered a delicacy and the fisherman are among the reasons they were endangered in the first place.

Re:You Idiots (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201257)

Heh, A fisherman reports he saw a baji river dolphin only last week. When asked where he said "on my plate"

Re:You Idiots (3, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200087)

You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life with an electrified fooling machine!

Re:You Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200071)

No, the other article talks about how the Baiji went extinct. This article talks about how they're not quite extinct yet, maybe. Did you even read the summary?

I need advice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200023)

I'm going out to a "hip hop" bar tonight.

Is it appropriate for me to dry hump a young lady?

Under what circumstances should I throw my hand in the air?

Should I be wary of the negros?

Thank you in advance,
Niel Armstrong

Re:I need advice (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200091)

You spelled "Neil" wrong.

Re:I need advice (2, Funny)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200265)

Or maybe you spelled "Niel" wrong.

It's NegroEs dumasses !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200633)

It's NegroEs dumasses !!

Unless from America, then American-African, or American of African decent (presumed to be true), or GGGGrand father was slave sold by Africans to slave "traders" sold to rich "people" to make pancakes and pick cotton, some of whose decendents went on to fly in WW II. I think that wraps this topic up nice.

Re:It's NegroEs dumasses !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200891)

One could say that - being of African decent -- about everyone today, baring L. Ron Hubbard's line , whom we all know hail from far, far away (very far).

A tautology! (2, Funny)

Hikaru79 (832891) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200051)

After the commercials, "Human Beings May or May Not Be Extinct"!

Re:A tautology! (1)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200217)

I was hoping I wasn't the only one who read the headline and went, "Yep, everything may or may not be extinct..."

I mean... Boolean logic is relatively well known, and used quite frequently by those who frequent this site...

Nephilium...

Re:A tautology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200461)

The previous poster may or may not be entirely homosexual!

Re:A tautology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200587)

The previous poster may or may not think he is hilarious! LULZ

Re:A tautology! (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200903)

It is an idiomatic expression, not set theory. It indicates a precarious and undetermined situation. So, unlike a tautology, it does provide information: that the state is unknown, "too close to call."

And the eternal battle between linguists and set theorists continues.

Re:A tautology! (1)

Scruffy Dan (1122291) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201093)

I thought that for something to be "officially" extinct there had to be a period of 50 years without any sightings.

As it stands now it is at most unofficially extinct, which is still a huge shame.

i read somewhere (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200055)

that there were 11 in captivity a few years back (they all died), they were trying to breed them in captivity. but they took tissue samples

please, please, please someone tell me the chinese have some of those tissue samples in liquid nitrogen. given some technological progress then, we might be able to bring the baiji back to life in a century or so

otherwise, the chinese deserve international sanctions for losing some of our shared world species diversity. it should be a un mandate with economic consequences that countries are responsible for the lifeblood of the species in their territories

not to mention the fact the chinese need to apologize to their ancestors for losing a part of their heritage. the baiji is a potent chinese symbol to the chinese themselves, and all of china is a little diminished today if the chinese actually neglected something so important to their national identity to the point of losing it permanently. china's history with environmental protection is deplorable. this takes it to the level of moral outrage

but nevermind this cranky westerner. i'll bet my life any random chinese person could better articulate the shame and anger at this horrible crime and tragedy, against china, by the chinese themselves

Re:i read somewhere (0, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200081)

i'll bet my life any random chinese person could better articulate the shame and anger at this horrible crime and tragedy, against china, by the chinese themselves

Species die out all the time. They did before humans existed, and they will long after we've taken our turn and died out. It's not that big a deal.

Re:i read somewhere (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200117)

So it's okay if I track you down and shoot you? After all, human beings die all the time. They did before I started locating strangers on the internet and shooting them, and they'll still die long after my bloody killing spree is ended by my death. It's not that big a deal, right?

  Note to parent poster: Death by natural causes is different from death by human intervention. The same goes for collective deaths, A.K.A. extinction.

mod parent up (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200323)

thank you for saying what i should have said, more insightfully and as less of a hot head

its a big deal (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200123)

we caused it. human beings are now the managers of this planet. we're powerful enough to destroy it. so for better or for worse, we have to talk about what we can do, and what we are doing. and if we do something wrong, like cause the extinction of culturally significant animal, then we need to be angry about that and see if we aren't doing the same to some other species

but you go ahead and talk about it's all so like disconnected man... nothing matters dude, yeah

if you don't fucking care, then shut the fuck up, and leave the conversation to people who do care

otherwise, if you open your mouth on the subject, then you do care

so make up your mind:

1. it doesn't matter. so prove it by shutting up
2. it does matter. so go ahead and talk... about how it matters

if you open your mouth again, when the words come out of your mouth, try not to be a moron

Re:its a big deal (1)

zero_offset (200586) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200287)

LOL... "culturally significant animal"...

Well shit, that's a great reason to get all worked up about it.

yes (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200309)

if it's a culturally significant animal, there is more reason to get worked up about it

exactly what is wrong with that observation? what do you not understand about it?

Re:its a big deal (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200915)

At the moment, I'm starting to suspect that you're responsible for the extinction of your shift keys. And as someone who's had the misfortune of reading your angered scribblings on this issue, let me say that it's culturally significant to me that people capitalize properly.

Re:i read somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200565)

To expand on the parents point, species go extinct all the time. All over the world. Including in the US.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200191)

The dolphin is one of many past and even more future extinctions caused by China. I'd start buying stock in environmental clean up technology now -- in a few decades their entire country will resemble the Love Canal disaster.

I blame George Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200457)

I blame The Jew Puppet George Bu$Hitler Chimpy McHaliburton and his corrupt Jew-loving Republicans.
This is what AmeriKKKa gets for electing them.

AmeriKKKans push all their jobs and environmental issues to the poor yellow people of the world. You can read all about it at the BBC.

AmeriKKKas truly are Der Juden

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200581)

MOD PARENT UP

Re:I blame George Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200977)

Did Bush shit on your face?

Did a Jew shit on your face?

Did an American shit on your face?

Is that why you're so pissed off? Why, you should be mad at the whole world because everyone would shit on your face.

Re:i read somewhere (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200395)

The species will never be viable again. Even if there are living specimens, even if there are tissue samples, the gene diversity is way too small to sustain a healthy population. You might be able to create a few in a lab but they will not be good for anything more than curiosity. As for sanctions against China, that is just outwardly ridiculous. UN mandates? You do know that China has veto power, being a permanent Security Council member, right?

It might do you some good to educate yourself on these kinds of things before you start your eco-babble.

And for the Chinese people, who are you to speak for them? I'd wager that the majority of Chinese never heard of these dolphins prior to the extinction report -- in much the same way that few Americans even realized that there was an Alaskan wildlife refuge, prior to the controversy over drilling there. It's a disservice to the Chinese for you to try to use them to further your personal agenda. Don't do it again.

yes, education is needed (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200471)

the baiji has been important to the culture of china going back thousands of years, they were regarded as river goddesses. the chinese also venerate their ancestors. so, the chinese have just killed an animal that their ancestors regarded with great respect. there, there's some more of my western patronizing and condescending to speak on behalf of the chinese

and yes, there should be international sanctions against china for this crime. yes, there probably won't be. because of course, if a crime is committed, and no one is punished for it, it's not a crime, and you have to respect that nothing will be done about it

there, that's some more eco-babble for you. because, of course, outrage over the death of a venerated species is nothing but empty headed liberal eco-babble

the chinese killed off a culturally significant species. oh well, who cares

Re:yes, education is needed (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200805)

Since it was culturally significant to the Chinese, I suspect the Chinese are the ones who care. But wait! They're the ones who killed it off! Guess they didn't really care that much.

Re:yes, education is needed (5, Informative)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201483)

Hi. Chinese guy here. And yeah, you are being patronizing.

It's true that the baiji are somewhat significant in Chinese culture, but to the point you seem to think it is. Personally nobody I knew ever thought about them, or indeed were aware of them outside of field trips to some science museum. The whole "ancestors placed importance in baiji" and "Chinese venerate ancestors" is just one big non-sequitor I'm not even going to touch.

Keep in mind that the significance of the river dolphins was limited to an isolated geographical region, where the vast majority of Chinese did *not* reside. Maybe there are people living on the banks of the yangtze mourning their loss, but for the other 99.99% of Chinese people out there, things haven't changed a bit.

Now... Regarding your previous comment. While it's certainly unfortunate and sad that the baiji have been killed off due to human actions, in the end who is responsible? Want to dig Mao out of the ground and put him on trial for instituting the Great Leap Forward that encouraged such reckless killings? Good luck with that. In the end, commercial fisheries, massively increased boat traffic, and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam were primary contributors to the extinction of these dolphins. IMHO all of these have been critical to raising the standard of living and quality of life for the Chinese people. I wish we could have both (human prosperity and ecological conservation), and perhaps we could have under more effective leadership or more resources, but those were the cards we were dealt.

What would a serious conservation effort require to preserve these creatures? Stop using the Yangtze as an industry shipping lane? Spew even more toxic gases into the atmosphere by constructing the huge number of fuel-burning power plants that the Three Gorges Dam could replace? Stop fishing the Yangtze and deny a critical food source for the local population? I hate to be so human-ist about everything, but between the survival of humans the the survival of a bunch of dolphins, it's pretty clear which I pick.

So now the baiji are (probably) all dead. What did we receive out of that deal? Millions of Chinese are now far more prosperous than they were before. Remote regions are no longer starving, and many now have access to proper food, shelter, and medicine. The situation in China, especially the rural areas, is not pretty, but for the most part it's a lot better than it was before.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200439)

I'm starting to fear that my libertarianism is becoming dangerous, but so what if they're extinct? It's just like pandas, everyone wants them around because they're cute and cuddly, but all they want to do is loaf around and eat grass all day. What good are they? Are they keeping the bamboo population at bay?

yes, the nihilist's game: "it doesn't matter" (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200497)

let me take you to right to the end game of the nihilist's position:

1. if nothing matters, kill yourself. or at least shut up and stop posting on slashdot. it doesn't matter, right? so why are you talking about it if it doesn't matter?

2. okay, then it does matter. so keep talking. but stop saying statements that contradict your demonstrated desire to say something about the subject matter. namely "it doesn't matter"

on any ideological issue, there is being for it, being against it, and not caring about it

not caring about an issue IS a valid position for you to take if you want. so prove you don't care. shut up and go away. otherwise, you do care. in which case, celebrate the death of the dolphin, or express your anger or sadness about it

but coming into a topic of discussion and announcing that the topic doesn't matter is not a logically coherent position. if you talk about it, it matters to you. if you don't talk about it, it doesn't matter to you.

but talking about how something doesn't matter to you. what the hell is that point of view supposed to mean to anyone else? it's hypocrisy at best. no one is tying you down to a computer terminal, holding your eyes open with toothpicks, putting your fingers on a keyboard, pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to comment on slashdot. so prove it doesn't matter: shut up, and go away

Re:yes, the nihilist's game: "it doesn't matter" (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200605)

let me take you to right to the end game of the nihilist's position:

1. if nothing matters, kill yourself. or at least shut up and stop posting on slashdot. it doesn't matter, right? so why are you talking about it if it doesn't matter?
1. I don't claim to be a nihilist, but nice try.

2. okay, then it does matter. so keep talking. but stop saying statements that contradict your demonstrated desire to say something about the subject matter. namely "it doesn't matter"
2. Perhaps "it doesn't matter" is a valid point in the discussion. Resource A is being wasted on problem X. It may be worthwhile to discuss the validity of problem X in order to determine value lost of resource A. The entire discussion may, in fact, be irrelevant and by pointing that out I save those engaged in it a valuable resource, namely: time.


on any ideological issue, there is being for it, being against it, and not caring about it

not caring about an issue IS a valid position for you to take if you want. so prove you don't care. shut up and go away. otherwise, you do care. in which case, celebrate the death of the dolphin, or express your anger or sadness about it
but coming into a topic of discussion and announcing that the topic doesn't matter is not a logically coherent position. if you talk about it, it matters to you. if you don't talk about it, it doesn't matter to you.

but talking about how something doesn't matter to you. what the hell is that point of view supposed to mean to anyone else? it's hypocrisy at best. no one is tying you down to a computer terminal, holding your eyes open with toothpicks, putting your fingers on a keyboard, pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to comment on slashdot. so prove it doesn't matter: shut up, and go away
Or, I could seek to inform myself of other's opinions about the subject at hand with a question. "So what if they're extinct?" is actually a question. I'll note for the record that you didn't answer it, despite your implied love for our aquatic friends or, at least, the subject of debate in general. Excellent use of misdirection. Why don't you correct my spelling while you're at it?

Re:yes, the nihilist's game: "it doesn't matter" (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200741)

There is a fourth option: perhaps he doesn't care about the particular subject, but just likes to argue.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200941)

Because they're immensely important to studying how consciousness works. We don't have a lot of ape species to experiment on, but the second tier on the cognitive spectrum is dolphins. Most significant in this aspect are the species which have diverged from the main lines long ago. This one in particular was very unique in that aspect, and we've never gotten around to properly studying it in that regard. Data on how consciousness both functions, and more importantly how it evolves, is now potentially unavailable.

Pandas suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20201185)

Is there a better example of an evolutionary dead end? They have one food source, and while plentiful, provides them next to no nutrition, they hardly ever breed, when they do they have a high infant mortality rate... What do they do anyway, they dont occupy a place in a food chain other than bamboo->panda. But they're cute so people care more than species that aren't going extinct due to natural causes.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201667)

read up about biodiversity and also ask you a question:
what good are you? i mean, i don't need you, and i am pretty sure that pretty much 100% of the world population doesn't need you either.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

hormesis (1139599) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200545)

The UN? Do something? Surely you jest!

Re:i read somewhere (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200583)

it should be a un mandate with economic consequences that countries are responsible for the lifeblood of the species in their territories

I doubt the US is saintly in this area. Be careful what you ask for.
     

Re:i read somewhere (2, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200645)

You're forgetting the most important point, how did they taste in sushi? Several million Japanese are dying to find out. See, there are good reasons for cloning.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200825)

"the baiji is a potent chinese symbol to the chinese themselves"

I thought they've replaced that symbol with portraits of George Washington instead long ago -- replaced along with any concern for living in harmony with nature (Taoism) or compassion towards other living beings (Buddhism).

Re:i read somewhere (1)

Nyph2 (916653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200899)

please, please, please someone tell me the chinese have some of those tissue samples in liquid nitrogen. given some technological progress then, we might be able to bring the baiji back to life in a century or so
This is a common sentiment, and it's basically what I believed would save most of our endangered wildlife till recently. Then I read concilience by E. O. Wilson, and it reminded me that we have never successfully (re)created an ecosystem, we don't understand the natural balance of them well enough on our own. Once the food chain starts going, we won't be able to put it all back together again, without it there to study, we don't really know how it works.
Sure, a new ecosystem equilibrium will come about in the creatures absence, generally one less stable because of the absence, either leaving its food source unchecked(to a degree), or leaving a predator without a meal(once again, to a degree). Once the ecosystem equilibruim lost, it's lost to us forever - especially if you're trying to count on future tech once the ecosystem as it will have drastically changed in the intervening time.

This is a serious threat to human survival, and we need to take it seriously soon or we'll pay for it as a species, even as a planet as a whole. The baiji may not be the straw that breaks the camel's back and makes the system start to truly unravel, but it is another destabilizing element, another straw on the back of a weighed down ecosystem.

Re:i read somewhere (1)

Scruffy Dan (1122291) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201061)

if you want to clone them, you better hope that their behaviour of the dolphins was inherited,a nd not taught by the previous generation

So what happens to Brazil and the like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20201521)

The demolition of the rain forests wipes out 5 species per day or something like that?

Tomorrow's headline... (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200057)

Two-humped camels may or may not be extinct!

Walruses may or may not be extinct!

Jellyfish may or may not be extinct!

The common house cat may or may not be extinct!

Triceratops may or may not be extinct!

Re:Tomorrow's headline... (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200095)

You might or might not be moderated +1 Funny.

Jellyfish aren't extinct. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200261)

We have loads of them.

We just call them politicians.

Re:Tomorrow's headline... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200597)

Two-humped camels may or may not be extinct! Walruses may or may not be extinct! Jellyfish may or may not be extinct! The common house cat may or may not be extinct! Triceratops may or may not be extinct!

It's Heisingburg environmentalism. Maybe if we stop observing species, they won't dissappear.
           

Re:Tomorrow's headline... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200701)

Two-humped camels may or may not be extinct!

Walruses may or may not be extinct!

Jellyfish may or may not be extinct!

The common house cat may or may not be extinct!

Triceratops may or may not be extinct!

I think I know this riddle. Quantum physics right? The Uncertainty Principle?

Re:Tomorrow's headline... (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200849)

No, logic. "Foo" and "not foo" are complementary statements--one of them is always true, because if either of them is false, the other is true by definition. If not foo, then "not foo". If not not foo, then "foo". Therefore, any statement of the form "foo or not foo" is guaranteed to be true.

spent the night with it once. . . (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200063)

What happens in the Long River, stays in the Long River.

Re:spent the night with it once. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200557)

What happens in the Long River, stays in the Long River.

Ugh, that's disgusting.

They're getting better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200083)

They think they'll go for a walk.

They're dead. (2, Funny)

akkarin (1117245) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200089)

Or maybe not. But probably. Not. On the other hand... of course, if you.. no, no, they're dead. I think. -The Thinker

I thought it was a cat? (5, Funny)

HermDog (24570) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200105)

Well, who's going to open the box and find out if the dolphins are dead or if they're cats?

You know what I wish was extinct? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200107)

Cory Doctorow's stupid, stupid haircut.

They're not dead (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200115)

They're just restin'

Re:They're not dead (2, Funny)

taoman1 (1050536) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200241)

No, they're pining for the fjords.

Re:They're not dead (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200373)

That may or may not be true.

Re:They're not dead (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200773)

<Morbo>THE YANGTZE RIVER IS NOT A FJORD! GOODNIGHT!</Morbo>

(damn lameness filter!)

May or May not? (5, Funny)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200131)

Schroedinger would be proud and Einstein would piss his pants!!!... I daresay

Exactly, they're just pining (1)

Vulva R. Thompson, P (1060828) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200147)

The researchers just need to look for Norway further up the river.

May or may not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200237)

Regardless of the outcome, I may or may not be worried about dolphins. Mods, you may or may not now mod be insightful.

Thanks for telling me (4, Funny)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200277)

I guess I'd better save the one I have in my freezer for a really special dinner, because I won't have to get another one. And the dolphin they're putting in those little cans is often adulterated with tuna, which spoils it in my opinion.

Re:Thanks for telling me (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200615)

Reminds me of a bumper sticker: "Save the whales . . . . . for dinner!"
       

Re:Thanks for telling me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20201315)

In Soviet China, we eat dolphins.

I'm not dead yet! (0, Offtopic)

vertigoCiel (1070374) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200283)

The last one seen alive reportedly said "I feel happy! I feel happy!"

FYI--I work with the Main Baiji scientist Pitman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200285)

If you watch or see Bob Pitman's presentation you will know there are none left. Sad but true. http://swfsc.noaa.gov/news.aspx?id=9816 [noaa.gov] also, be aware the next to go is the Vaquita dolphin in the gulf of mexico... http://swfsc.noaa.gov/textblock.aspx?id=9758&Paren tMenuId=448 [noaa.gov]

Anyone else see a relation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200297)

To the story 2 down from this one, darpa now using dolphin tail flippers?
The timing is just a little bit to close to be a coincidence in my books.

If only ... (0, Redundant)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200299)

.. they had frickin' lasers on their heads. Nobody would mess with 'em then.

Re:If only ... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200591)

.. they had frickin' lasers on their heads. Nobody would mess with 'em then.

Maybe that's what they are doing. They'll come back and say, okay, now its you human's time to feel the brink of extinction. zzzt zzzzt...
                     

Holy Redundant Lasers, Batman! (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200641)

I love that the lasers are modded redundant. It makes the little boy in me say YAY! Maybe-or-maybe-not-extinct-dolphins who already have lasers! It's like a superhero waiting to happen. Thinking he's the last of his kind, a young Baiji River Dolphin sets out to restore peace and justice to the world's rivers.

(Oh, and he has a laser.)

DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200303)

I think people should take DNA from these animals so in the future when we have cracked DNA(if it happens and it should) we can still study it or have a very real Jurassic Park like place. No more boring museum trips.

I'm curious.... (2, Interesting)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200305)

How thorough do these surveys have to be to finally declare a species extinct? I mean, there's a lot of water, isn't there? I mean, I know this isn't the middle of the ocean, but I'm sure there's a lot of space to cover. Logically speaking, to confidently say something is extinct, wouldn't that require a proof of exhaustion. Literally just checking every possible place and not finding any evidence of the animal. I mean, if they haven't checked everywhere, I don't think they should be saying 'extinct' just yet. If this guy is saying there's hope based on the amount of area they haven't checked, I'm guessing that means its a large area. I think its a bit premature. It's not like there haven't been premature announcements of extinction on species before: http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/04/28/woodpec ker/index.html [cnn.com] and http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2 006-03-09-rat-squirrel-survivor_x.htm [usatoday.com]

Re:I'm curious.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20200495)

1) They did a very comprehensive search (details available through Google).
2) They put it in terms of probabilities not certainties (hence this story with one of the scientists still holding out hope for finding a reserve population somewhere).
3) Species can become "functionally" extinct, when their populations are so low they will not be able to maintain levels in the face of stress and competition.
4) Zoologists use statistical sampling methods for things like population numbers, ranges etc. You can probably find more details on wikipedia or through Google :)
5) They can also compare previous studies of the dolphin against the recent one to obtain estimates on numbers, or lack thereof.

But yep, you are correct, there might some small number out there that just haven't been found. It would be very, very unlikely, and they wouldn't be enough to sustain the species, but it might put the official extinction off for a little bit. However, based on the search, it would take an unwise gambler to assert that they still exist, when the declining population due to human interference, pollution and overexploitation of their habitat was already known.
(Oh, and that ivory-billed woodpecker finding doesn't look to have held up, so it probably is extinct. Turns out that similar species have drumming rhythms that overlap the supposedly unique ones for the woodpecker, and it is easy to confuse markings/sightings of them with other woodpeckers as well.)

Re:I'm curious.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20201465)

How many times do you have to count to zero to be sure?

Miracle Max (4, Insightful)

LightPhoenix7 (1070028) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200307)

See, there's a big difference between mostly extinct, and all extinct. Now, mostly extinct: they're slightly not-extinct. All extinct, well, with all extinct, there's usually only one thing that you can do...

In all seriousness, with so few members of the species, they're effectively extinct, and that's what counts. There may be one or two, but there's zero chance they'll balloon into a viable population. Even if we save genetic samples, we're decades, if not centuries, away from being able to reproduce an entire species, if we can even do that. Even if we have tissue samples from twenty different dolphins, and reproduce them through some hypothetical cloning technique, I'm not convinced that's enough genetic diversity to sustain the species.

Re:Miracle Max (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200515)

That's the problem. If you do happen to have a population of twenty, I agree that it's not much. That may not be extinct now, but it's probably just borrowed time.

Re:Miracle Max (1)

edbarbar (234498) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200735)

What makes you think we are centuries away from cloning a species? I think the French tried to clone a wooley mammoth, though it has been extinct for 10K years.

Re:Miracle Max (2, Insightful)

Leperflesh (200805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200991)

An organism, particularly a mammal, is far more than its own DNA. Humans have 10 times as many bacterial cells in our bodies as human cells. Dolphins are no different. A baby dolphin no doubt gets cultures of all sorts of bacteria from its mother's milk. Unique symbiotic organisms live on the skin, in the gut, even in the blood in some animals.

Further, the species is adapted to a particular ecological niche - in this case, the Yangtse River.

Further, particularly in mammals, there are learned behaviors that are not genetically-based, which can include food-finding/gathering/hunting techniques, predator-avoiding techniques, mating behavior, child-rearing behavior, and so forth.

If you want to recover a species from its DNA, it is necessary to reproduce all of the co-dependent species on which it relies. You could maybe get a different species of dolphin to act as a surrogate mother (freshwater dolphin would be necessary, I'd think), but it would have the wrong stomach flora, the wrong hormones in its uterus and breastmilk, the wrong rearing behaviors.

What you'd get as a result wouldn't be the species you were trying to save. Not quite, anyway.

We could probably maybe recover an extinct bacterial strain from its DNA today. Recovering something as complicated as a dolphin is, I'd guess, a century or more out, if it is possible at all: and it may not be possible at all.

I stipulate that it is dead - so what? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200449)

Let's say ALL the cute animals, and homo sapiens eventually die out. For whatever natural or man-made reason.

So what?

As long as there is some life left, there will be a "what's next".

Do you really care who is at the top of the food chain a million years from now?

Heck yes. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200753)

Of course I care who is at the top of the food chain. They'll be paying for my social security for the next million years after that point. Based upon the evidence I've collected showing that I have never actually died before, I see no reason why it should happen before 2 million years from now, provided I avoid car crashes, werewolves, and vitamin K-19.

Re:I stipulate that it is dead - so what? (1)

euphopiab (983139) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201043)

You, sir, earn an e-cookie. It seems as though every time a species becomes extinct, when the cause can be slightly connected to industry and/or human intervention, it is made public and everyone frets. I think that a vast majority of the people on this planet think the world is limited to maybe 200 species, and every time one dies it's like the world is decaying. There are, however, millions of species, and new species are constantly developing and, yes, dieing naturally ( and if you consider humans unnatural, than sometimes unnaturally ). In fact, the death of these dolphins may open up breeding grounds for new fish to mutate in and bring about new species. And yes, if the species had been of a water slug, no one would care. Cute is always a plus in the entertainment industry.

Re:I stipulate that it is dead - so what? (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201463)

I don't care too much if we're around, or dolphins for that matter. What I do care about is sentient life, animals able to contemplate their own consciousness. It's taken a really long time for that to evolve, and I'm not so certain that the planet has enough time left to get it into a tool using state, and off planet. Right now sentience has us as a representative. There might be more in space, but I do care that the only species we're a 100% sure of lives on. Dolphins, too, I care about for their place as a second tier species in regards to ourselves. They're very different, and not likely to ever get into advanced tool use due to their water bound state. But they're still a nice look into the mirror as far as language using mammals go.

Evolution? (1)

professorfalcon (713985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200595)

You mean after 20 million years, they didn't develop machine gun flippers to protect themselves??

Re:Evolution? (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200699)

Yeah, but they couldn't out-swim the sea bass who had frickin' lasers attached to their heads.

What really happened (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200733)

Professor Ding says based on anecdotal evidence, he remains confident the dolphins are still out there. "I'm pretty much sure there are a few of them left somewhere in the Yangtze River," he said. "I keep receiving reports from fishermen, they say they saw a couple of baiji somewhere, sometime."'"
... and they were delicious!

It's obvious to me what happened. (1)

smokeala (912641) | more than 7 years ago | (#20200947)

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

A shameful tragedy (1)

dircha (893383) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201055)

This unique life form is now gone forever. The lessons we could learn by studying it are now lost to eternity. Its unique role in the ecosystem is forever lost.

We destroyed it. We literally choked the life out of it.

Who are we to do this? Are we so confident in our superiority as to believe that a little temporary convenience to dump toxic industrial wastes is worth the complete loss of this life form?

We were up in arms when a islamic government destroyed man made statues of buddha merely hundreds of years old, and yet we as a world sat quietly as a life form 20 million years old was forever wiped from the universe?

I am ashamed to be a human being. If another being or race came to earth and looked down at what we have done with our world and to one another, I would expect them to treat us no better than we have treated this defenseless creature. We are parasites, rotting away the life of a beautiful and wondrous creation.

Not me (1)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201569)

The cool thing about being an individual is that I am only responsible for my own actions. When someone from my "race" invents something I don't claim credit just because he has the same color skin as I do. In the same way I don't beat myself up over the stupid shit other people do. Many humans are immoral and ignorant. Some are not. Everything I do myself is entirely my fault and cannot be blamed on anyone else. I have no excuses. You are only yourself. Nothing more.

Tasty! (1)

Trikenstein (571493) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201085)

I can keep them on my check list of things to eat before I die!

Wake up. Globalwarmingists are KILLING this planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20201821)

The most urgent threats to biodiversity are:

1) habitat destruction
2) poaching
3) pollution

This is it! This is how species like the Baiji disappear. Nothing else matters! And so maybe this is off-topic, but is anybody wondering if globalwarmingists even realize? or care?

I mean, does anyone even pay any attention to them anymore? Their lists of "top ten ways to help curb global warming [sierraclub.org] "? LOL, who are these people? Honest, hard-working folks, I suppose. Concerned for us all. Right, but has ANYTHING come from the truckloads of grant money and reels of airtime they've squandered over the years? What have all these pages and pages of nonsense they've printed demanding we all buy energy-smart water heaters and carbon-neutral calculators accomplished? So they convinced some poor folks to buy a hatchback and lower the thermostat on their pool heaters? Pffft, OMG... so what? "Join us!", they celebrate, "...in congratulating Juanita Lopez of San Diego, CA, who has just become the one millionth hybrid driver!" Hooray! Sure, what a wonderful contribution Juanita has made to help the critically endangered rodents that cling to their existence in the Chaparral in her canyon. And as all the neighbors witness Juanita arrive in her chic new car, who is there in Juanita's kitchen window waiting to greet her? Her precious puffy Persian kitty of course! Cleaning the freshly-disemboweled mole entrails from its cute puffy paws! Catches one every day, that kitty! Her nana is so proud!

I just don't get it. With all that's going on in the world, with all the species lost every year, why do we get WEEK after WEEK and magazine cover after magazine cover dedicated to 'global warming'? God sakes, how many photoshop drawings of glowing Suns and flaming Earths and flooded skyscrapers do we need to see on the cover of Newsweek before we can just MOVE ON? How many times will Katie Couric run that same ridiculous segment where some sweaty old lady gets asked in the heat of the day if she feels warmer this particular afternoon than she did in 1958? WHO CARES? For ten months, Katie Couric has begun every newscast with six minutes of Bush bashing, followed it with some vapid global warming update, and ended it with bad ratings. What is the point? Katie Couric sends her field reporter in a taxi to scope out Central Park for camera-ready sunbathers, and meanwhile 6,000 miles away the last Chinese River Dolphin emerges from its filthy Yangtze, draws it's final breath, and descends into the abyss for eternity.

I don't know what to say. Shucks, if there is indeed another Chinese River Dolphin out there somewhere, I can't even imagine what sort of loneliness and sickness it must be enduring right now. Who knows, if it manages to survive just a while longer, perhaps President Hillary's carbon dioxide tax will bring it salvation.

Fishermen (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#20201863)

"I'm pretty much sure there are a few of them left somewhere in the Yangtze River," he said. "I keep receiving reports from fishermen, they say they saw a couple of baiji somewhere, sometime."'"

Ah, alcohol. May your wonders never fail to amaze me.
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