Tag Archives: extinction

2570.  The last ostrich

This, children, is the last ostrich on the planet. They used to be a not uncommon bird in zoos and in the wild. There were even ostrich farms. But since the Long Neck Virus became prevalent it utterly decimated the ostrich population as well as the giraffes.

Yes, Nathan? “Prevalent” means they were common. Yes, I know I should use easier words if they are available. There’s no need for you to get pestiferous.

Somehow this ostrich here was impervious to the Long Neck Virus. He or she – I never know with ostriches – seemed to just carry on with life while all around it other ostriches collapsed and died.

Brian, stop hitting Sarah. You were. I saw you. You were poking her with that ostrich leg bone.

We are very lucky to have seen an ostrich alive, albeit the last in existence. It’s something you will be able to tell your own children and grandchildren about. In fact children, we will be the last people on the planet ever to have seen an ostrich alive. This after several million years of humans wandering the plains of Africa along with ostriches. Yes children! You are the last to see a living ostrich.

BANG! There! History has unfolded before you. Jeremiah, I’ve told you before when we saw the now extinct Somes Island Tufted Titmouse – don’t be greedy, take only one feather.

2444.  The Somes Island Tufted Titmouse

Zelda and I are getting a divorce. We met nine years ago while working for the Forest and Bird Society – mainly dealing with the recently extinct Somes Island Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus somes). When we started our interest in the bird there were barely a hundred of them remaining. Now that they are extinct there really is very little that Zelda and I have in common. In fact we can’t seem to agree on anything.

Just last month we caught what we thought was the last Somes Island Tufted Titmouse in existence. After I had plucked and gutted it Zelda wanted to grill it. I said, you’ve had the Somes Island Tufted Titmouse grilled dozens of times but we rarely eat it roasted. Why don’t we roast it for a change – with a rhubarb sauce? But Zelda was having none of it. She wanted it grilled and that was it.

Just a few days later Zelda came across what seemed like a nest of recently laid eggs. There were four eggs, pale blue with dark brown spots. “Look!” she said, “the Somes Island Tufted Titmouse is not extinct after all. Look at these four eggs.”

Well, she had been pig-headed about grilling what we thought was the last specimen, so I said “We don’t want to ruin a good thing.” I squashed the four eggs with my fist just to teach her a good lesson.

So you can see why I want a divorce. I had hoped to publish a book of recipes called “Culinary Capers and the Somes Island Tufted Titmouse”. Seems a waste of time now.

1950. Trans-species compensation

When the Africans (way back) wandered further north into what is now known as Europe it had an unforeseen and detrimental effect on the Neanderthal population. In fact, pure bred Neanderthals became extinct. Today, a number of us have some Neanderthal genes tucked away somewhere.

What I am going to say now will have its opponents. Some people are simply dyed in the wool sticks in the mud; sharks feathering their own nest. They can’t change. They can’t adapt. But I am making a claim on behalf of all Neanderthals, or more particularly on behalf of those of us with Neanderthal genes, that we get some form of compensation from Africa for the annihilation of our people. They didn’t have to go northward into Europe. Was it inspired by systemic racism? I doubt, because it was trans-species. So it is possibly closer to systemic xenophobia than racism. Or perhaps we need to coin a new word. Speciesacationism?

There are so many urgent calls for justice in the world today, but I think we should start at the beginning and work our way down. I’m not at all surprised that Europeans of later generations (who have some of those afore mentioned genes) should refer to that area between Lebanon and Mozambique as the Great Rift Valley. Great Rift indeed! A permanent rift between Homo sapiens and the extinct Neanderthals.

Let justice prevail! I await a direct deposit from Africa in my bank account. Some of those South African diamonds might not go amiss.

1709. Molly, the last of her kind

It was a sad day when the animal known as Molly died in the zoo. She was the last known specimen of her kind. For years thousands of visitors would line up to view “MOLLY, THE LAST OF HER KIND.” No one was exactly sure what evolutionary line she belonged to, although scientists had categorized her all over the show. They definitely knew her to be some sort of mammal.

The zoo had hoped to start a breeding program. Fairly early on there were two females and two males, but the males and females seemed to show little interest in one another. Then three of them died of some unknown and sudden cause, and that left Molly on her own for what must have been a good thirty years.

And now she’s gone. Forever.

When the Spargundians invaded planet Earth and ruthlessly slaughtered the billions of what seemed to be an intelligent species, they took home only the four samples of the species. The proposed breeding program at the Spargundian Zoological Gardens didn’t pay off. The leader of the Spargundians has since decreed that when further planetary invasions take place, they must bring home a minimum of twelve intelligent specimens for a breeding program.

In the meantime, Molly is in the hands of a taxidermist getting stuffed.

1245. Resurrected extinctions

Mitch never realized it would make him a billionaire. He woke up one morning and discovered he was a billionaire. He had developed a technique to “resurrect” extinct species. It wasn’t that fancy a technology, Mitch thought. He was simply doing his job, and next thing there was a dodo running around his back yard.

The Forest and Bird Society made him an honorary lifetime member. Every ivy-league university with the slightest tinge of green conferred on him an honorary doctorate. The accolades and money poured in. Mitch thought it time he showed his appreciation for such benevolence. He held a feast and invited all these kind people.

Just to show how humdrum the process was – how easy to recreate extinct species – Mitch served up extinct Passenger Pigeon Pie, followed by a roasted extinct Caribbean Monk Seal. No one touched a thing.

Jolly vegetarians.

1192. The Bubal Hartebeest

Would you believe! Scientists believed the Bubal Hartebeest to be extinct. Yet I saw one! It was possibly the last! It was thought that the Bubal Hartebeest went extinct in 1923 until they were found in the wild. Then in 1950 they were hunted to extinction. Except – I saw one the other day! I saw one in the wild!

I can see why they were hunted to extinction. It was delicious.