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    Human Practice of Science

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    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?

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    Solution Preview

    The animal I choose to highlight is the Indian Lion. In the 20th century, poachers, big game hunters, and other infringements upon the Indian Lions' natural habitat resulting in a near extinction of these animals. What made these animals more vulnerable than their leopard counterparts were the lions' desirability within the ranks of poachers and game hunters, their lack of ability to effectively adapt to their new environments, which is a trait of the leopards in India, and the loss of natural habitats. Leopards are extremely adept at adapting to new surroundings and are found across the globe. Whether in cold mountainous regions, swampy areas, or in dry regions such as India, the leopard is able to excel and thrive. Lions must have ample hunting grounds and sufficient prey to prey upon and these variables were removed due to the ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert examines human practices of sciences.