Human Practice of Science

Not only have humans (like all other living creatures) had to make adaptations, changes and adjustments to survive and thrive, but we have had a profound impact on the lives of other creatures on Earth. Sometimes this has been a beneficial impact, but in many cases, it has been a disaster for the other creatures.

Do some background reading about the extinction of the passenger pigeon at The Smithsonian: http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_Si/nmnh/passpig.htm. The extinction of the passenger pigeon is an event that is very easily attributed to the activities of humans. However, passenger pigeons are not the only creatures that have been made extinct by the actions of people. There are dozens of other examples, as well as some creatures whose existence is currently in serious peril, such as the golden lion tamarin and the thamin.

Additional resources:
Endangered Species Protection Program
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Endangered Species Program

In a short paragraph (5-7 sentences) describe the species that you chose to learn more about and describe the basic reasons for its endangerment.

What characteristics make some species more vulnerable to extinction, while others seem to thrive despite changes in their surroundings?
How do the extinctions of other creatures affect humans directly and indirectly?
Why are decisions about recovery and preservation of these creatures so complicated?
What, if any, ethical responsibilities do we have to other creatures on the planet?
What sorts of trade-offs would you be willing to make in order to help protect an endangered species? Would you make the same trade-offs for all types of species including plants, insects, amphibians, etc., in addition to those we tend to be more fond of, like whales, tigers, and koala bears?
Later in the week, compare your chosen organism to some described by your classmates. Do they share any common features? For example: Are they endangered for the same reasons? Do they share similar habitats or behaviors?