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Re: Colony Critical Mass

From: Rob Paul <rpaul@w...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 12:55:28 +0000
Subject: Re: Colony Critical Mass

At 11:13 20/11/97 -0700, you wrote:
>> :Begin Rant:
>> They adapted to it the way the Maori did in New Zealand: by
>> exterminating every animal larger than man-sized! The coming of
>> to Australia led to mass extinctions of many macro-fauna.
>Wow, someone who knows something about environmental history.	I can't
>believe how many people actually believe that ancient peoples lived "in
>harmony" with nature.	It has been shown by archeology that almost all
>primitive peoples across the world plundered nature whenever possible,
>that it's only in the 20th Century that large numbers of people
>have an awareness of environmental problems.
>On topic:
>This kind of leads me to a question here.  If a planet is actually
>and well-inhabitable by humans, wouldn't it be reasonable that life
>(especially intelligent life) already exist?  How colonists interact
>the locals might provide a much more interesting scenario...

	I was chatting about megafauna extinctions the other day with
friends, and we noted that anywhere humans "arrive", the megafauna seems
be for the high jump- with the great whales near as dammit the most
example.  The only megafauna left are places where we grew up- Africa
and Asia.

	On the topic of local, possibly intelligent life, Earth has had
for c3,000,000,000 years; multicelled life for c800,000,000; land
450,000,000 (400,000,000 for land vertebrates), hominoids for 35,000,000
people you could talk to for about 1,000,000.  I think what this amounts
is that it's up to you- life here started almost as soon as it was
physically possible and went along fine with no brains for millions of
years, and then intelligence arose in a fairly short time.  Perhaps the
intelligence of the locals might be in doubt- I recall finding (in the
'70s) a disgusting reference in a children's encyclopaedia to the
of the "near-human" Tasmanians.


"Rob Paul

Dept of Zoology
Oxford University
South Parks Road
(01865) 271124
"Once again, villainy is rotting meat 
before the maggots of justice!"

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