This is a big story about a little snail. Biologist Helen Scales relates an epic tale that spans the globe and involves calamity, tragedy, extinction and we hope, salvation. It stars the tiny tree-dwelling mollusc from French Polynesia, Partula, a snail that has captivated scientists for centuries. Like Charles Darwin studied finches on the Galapagos, Partula became an icon of evolution because, in the living laboratories of the Pacific islands, it had evolved into multiple species. But a calamity drove Partula to extinction, when a botched biological control, the predatory Rosy Wolf Snail, was introduced. It was supposed to eat another problem mollusc, but in a cruel twist, devoured tiny Partula instead. An international rescue mission was scrambled to save a species and from just one or two rescued individuals, populations of this snail species have been built up over thirty years in captive breeding programmes in zoos around the world. And now, in the nailbiting sequel, we track Partula’s journey home.
Tagged with “extinction” (3)
Cataclysmic destruction. Surprising survival. In this new live stage performance, Radiolab turns its gaze to the topic of endings, both blazingly fast and agonizingly slow.
This hour we celebrate the one thing that all things do: end. From the stage in Seattle, with an all-star cast of comedians and musical guests, we bring you stories that end with a bang, with a whimper, and with astonishing bravery and resilience in the face of one’s own demise.
Renowned paleontologist Peter Ward argues that life might be its own worst enemy. He proposes a provocative vision of life’s relationship with the Earth’s biosphere in The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive? Ward’s proposes that all but one of the mass extinctions on Earth were caused by life itself, and reveals that there is an alarming decline of diversity and biomass on Earth, caused by life’s own "biocidal" tendencies.