BBC Earth: “America’s Pronghorns Are Survivors of a Mass Extinction.” An Almost Really Good Article and Then…

There Was the Gratuitous Lie about the Current Mass Extinction.

Guest post by David Middleton


America’s pronghorns are survivors of a mass extinction

 At the end of the last Ice Age, most large animals in North America were wiped out, and others transformed themselves. Yet one has survived virtually unchanged to the present day

Where cars now drive along congested roads in the heart of modern Los Angeles, sabre-toothed cats once roamed. They stalked prey that ranged from hoofed mammals to creatures resembling elephants. The ferocious cats competed with dire wolves, American lions and short-faced bears.

During the Pleistocene, the geological period that began just over 2.5 million years ago, North America experienced a series of ice ages. During these freezes and thaws, giant mammals thrived in the woodlands and savannahs of Southern California. Primitive cheetahs chased antelope-like pronghorns over miles of grasslands, while mastodons roamed in dense herds.

But suddenly, around 11,000 years ago, almost all of these species died. Mammoths, giant sloths and camels all disappeared completely from the Americas. Only one large plant-eater remained, nearly unchanged since it first began racing through the south-west 30,000 years ago: the pronghorn.

Nobody is really sure what caused the extinction event. It has variously been blamed on fluctuating temperatures and climates, the encroachment of man, invasive plants or new bacteria, or all of the above.

But perhaps the bigger question is, why did some species survive while so many died out? In particular, why was the pronghorn able to outlast almost every Ice Age herbivore and persist into the present day – with pretty much the same build and look as it did in prehistory, to boot?

It is not just an academic question. Figuring out how the pronghorn survived the mass extinction could help us understand the mass extinction that is now underway, and offer tips on how to rescue today’s threatened species.


BBC Earth

The rest of the article is very interesting, particularly to Pleistocene aficionados… But the gratuitous lie about “the mass extinction that is now underway” was too much to ignore.

Willis Eschenbach thoroughly demolished this lie in this WUWT post and in this paper he coauthored with Craig Loehle.

Mass extinctions in the fossil record are characterized by the terminations of entire genera, families, orders, classes and occasionally even subphyla… Not just species.

Elrathia kingii bought the farm during the Late Cambrian.  It is an extinct Trilobite species.


Trilobites are an extinct class of an extinct subphylum (Trilobitomorpha) of an extant phylum (Arthropoda).  The entire Trilobite class along with all of its then extant orders, families, genera and species bought the farm in the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.


Real mass extinctions take out entire classes, orders and families of animals.


Washington Post. Brad Plumer interviews Elizabeth Kolbert about her science fiction novel… Laughably ridiculous!

How many classes, orders or families have been killed off in the current faux mass extinction?  I’m going to take a scientific wild ass guess (SWAG) and say:

There is currently only one critically endangered genus and it belongs to the same order as the mass extinction surviving  pronghorn.

Entire Mammal Genus on Brink of Extinction

Critically endangered African antelope is last species of its kind.

By Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News

For the first time in 75 years, an entire genus of mammal may go the way of the dodo—unless a new conservation effort shepherded by Somalian herders succeeds.

The hirola, a large African antelope known for its striking, goggle-like eye markings, is the only remaining species in the genus Beatragus—and its numbers are dwindling fast, conservationists say.

The last mammal genus to blink out was Thylacinus, in 1936, with the death of the last Tasmanian tiger. A genus is a taxonomic ranking between species and family.



The hirola and the pronghorn are both antelopes.

At one genus per 75 years, the faux “mass extinction” will take quite a long time, particularly if it turns out that Thylacinus is less extinct than previously thought.


[1] The pronghorn did not survive a mass extinction.  While the Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene extinction event was significant; it does not rate as one of Earth’s five known mass extinctions.

[2] From a purely taxonomic perspective, pronghorn aren’t antelope.  From a common usage perspective, they are known as American antelope or just antelope.


Home on the Range

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Chorus Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

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209 thoughts on “BBC Earth: “America’s Pronghorns Are Survivors of a Mass Extinction.” An Almost Really Good Article and Then…

  1. The vast, vast, majority of species that have allegedly died out, only existed in computer models in the first place.

    • As we have no knowledge as to how many distinct species currently exist on this planet, nor have existed, how can we assess what percentage have disappeared or what percentage is emerging. In order to make a ratio you need both a numerator and a denominator.
      In my industry we call “data free analysis”… guessing.

      • The same problem exists in the fossil record at a much larger scale. This is why extinctions are generally determined by the loss of genera and higher taxonomic levels.

      • New species are frequently discovered…

        Luckily, even after 250 years of professionals documenting thousands of new plants and animals every year, the rate at which new species are discovered remains relatively stable. Somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000 new species are identified each year, with about half of those being insects. However, that number is somewhat misleading: it also includes the correction of taxonomic mistakes, movements from one family to another, and decisions that will end up being overruled in years to come.

    • “At the end of the last Ice Age, most large animals in North America were wiped out, and others transformed themselves.”

      Transformed themselves did they . . I swear, it was the selling of Evolution as a “scientific fact” that opened Pandora’s Siants box ; )

      • John,

        Evolution is a scientific fact, repeatedly observed every day in every way, everywhere.

        A widely known instance of “transformation” is the modern bison, descended from larger Pleistocene ancestors. Wolves too were larger in the Pleistocene.

      • A few of the plant and animal species recently evolved and/or evolving before our eyes:
        New animal species evolved in an instant:
        Repeated evolution of new microbial species in even shorter instants, thanks to simple point mutations:
        Watching speciation in fish in real time:
        New ant species evolved within the nest of its kin:
        New frog species evolving while we watch:
        On-going experimental evolution of new microbial species in the lab (same has been done with insects):
        Examples could be multiplied over and over again. Even new genera have been observed in the wild and created in the lab.
        Plant, animal and fungus species, let alone unicellular organisms, can arise in a single generation, ie overnight, from such rapid evolutionary processes as hybridization and polyploidy. Evolution via processes such as natural selection and reproductive isolation typically takes more generations, but can still occur quite rapidly.
        Instances of prompt evolution among both single-celled and multicellular observed in the field can even be reproduced in the lab.

      • The on-going evolution most urgently being studied of course is of drug resistant strains and new species of pathogenic microbes. Similarly, weeds and crop pests developing resistance to herbicides and pesticides is a problem being researched by both businesses and governments.

      • “Evolution is a scientific fact, repeatedly observed every day in every way, everywhere.”

        Sure . . just like “climate change” . . ; )

      • “Wolves too were larger in the Pleistocene.”

        I said Evolution, not mere adaptation/selection . . Please don’t contribute to this idiotic belief that me being a bit shorter than my dad represents Evolving . .

      • Gloateus: we have never seen macro-evolution.

        Science has two hearts. One is Observation.

        We have never observed the emergence of a new species.

        “Evolution” says that there are pressures on populations, plus genetic errors, that give rise to more and more species as time goes by.

        What we do see is what is discussed in the OP: we see ever fewer and fewer species – the OBSERVABLE trend is going in the opposite direction.

        So, 1. we see NO macro-evolution, 2. we fail to see MORE species, as demanded by evolutionary theory, and what we see is the opposite.

        Bacteria developing resistance is a common argument for macro-evolution. But what you have is still a bacterium.

        Macro-evolution says a common ancestor gave rise to the platypus and the octopus. We have OBSERVED no such thing.

        Macro-evolution is a compelling theory. But we have NEVER observed it. So, it cannot be a scientific fact.

      • JohnKnight
        You have already “evolved” from your father, although to a minuscule amount that doesn’t rise to the level of speciation. If your shortened stature was an inheritable trait and there existed some influence that happened to favor your difference then eventually the difference will become the norm. Of course your diminutive nature may not be the deciding advantage as a mass die-off due to some other unrelated genetic trait or simply pure accident may determine who remains to advance their genomes.

      • “JohnKnight,
        You have already “evolved” from your father, although to a minuscule amount that doesn’t rise to the level of speciation.”

        Look, I don’t want to insult a rocket scientist ; ) but honest, the Evolution idea involves a world with NO genetic coding at all, eventually having vast amounts of functional genetic coding (like on our planet). Rearrangement of genetic coding, such as happens in sexual reproduction is not Evolution in action . . it troubles me that many don’t seem to grasp this basic stuff . .

      • John and the Last Democrat,

        In moderation is a comment with too many instances of observed speciation to permit immediate posting. We have observed the evolution of new species over and over and over again. Evolution, ie the emergence of new species from old, is an everyday observation. It’s a scientific fact. It is simply untrue to assert that speciation has not been observed.

        Macroevolution has been observed directly and can be inferred as the only possible explanation for observations of genetics, inherited traits, paleontology, anatomy, biogeography, biochemistry, embryology and every other biological parameter.

        Adaptation is an evolutionary process. There is no magic barrier that keeps microevolution from becoming macroevolution. The only difference is time, allowing the accumulation of more small changes. Major transitions in the history of life on earth have occurred in microevolutionary stages observed both in the fossil record and in the genomes and proteomes of creatures living and dead.

        The lobe-finned fish from which we tetrapods evolved were identical, bone for bone, in their cranial anatomy and mostly in their post-cranial anatomy, with our ancestors, except for the fusion of their fin rods into proto-fingers, for instance.

        Platypuses and octopuses most certainly do share a common ancestor in the Precambrian. All animals (Metazoa) are descended from the Phylum Porifera (sponges). The Eumetazoa, ie the group contain all animals with symmetry, excluding the asymmetric Porifera and Placozoa (the sister group to Eumetazoa), descend from sponges. We bilaterians, animals with bilateral symmetry, tissues and organs, evolved from one of the two radial symmetrical groups, ctenophores (comb jellies) and cnidarians (such as jellyfish) .

        (Sponges evolved from the closest unicellular relative of animals, the choanoflagellates, which form colonies and are practically identical to poriferan feeding cells. They also resemble sperm cells.)

        Based upon their embryological development, bilaterians are divided between protostomes, like mollusks (including octopuses) or arthropods, and deuterostomes, like vertebrates (including humans). The octopus genome has now been sequenced. The result helps explain the uncanny intelligence of these amazing creatures:

        The octopus genome overall is almost as large as the human and contains a greater number of protein-coding genes, some 33,000, compared with fewer than 25,000 in Homo sapiens. They have computing power in each tentacle.

      • JohnKnight April 5, 2017 at 6:09 pm

        You could not possibly be more wrong.

        The genetic code shows evolution to be an unavoidable consequence of reproduction. The history of evolution is written not only in stone but in the genomes of all living things.

        Humans, other apes, monkeys and tarsiers all share the same inherited, derived trait for not making vitamin C. Our gene for it is broken in the same place in the genetic code. The genes in the few other mammals which can’t make vitamin C, eg guinea pigs and fruit-eating bats, are broken in different places.

        Human chromosome #2 resulted from the fusion of two standard great ape chromosomes. This gross chromosomal mutation happens to be associated with upright walking.

        I could go on at book length about the innumerable ways in which the human genome alone displays the fact of evolution.

        Please study genetics before presuming to comment upon the subject.

      • Rocketscientist April 5, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Evolution occurs in every generation. On average, every human is born with four mutations, and accumulates more during his or her life. Those which occur in the sex cells can be passed on to the next generation. That’s why old mothers and especially old fathers, since they can experience more decades of mutations in viable sperm cells, are important in evolution.

        If mutations are too deleterious, a mammal, for example, won’t be born. If they are less deleterious, they might not get passed on even if the animal survives, due to failure to compete effectively. Mutations which are neutral or deleterious in one environment might prove beneficial in a changed one, as with the nylon-eating bacteria. When the climate was warmer, a mammoth hairier than average might have been at a disadvantage, but when the Pleistocene glaciations kicked in, it was a winner.

        Evolution is change in allele frequency in each generation, as well as the development of new alleles and genes.

      • Even over a decade before the whole octopus genome was sequenced, comparison of eye development genes in humans, octopuses and other animals was made to study the convergent evolution of the mollusk and vertebrate camera eyes.

        (“EST” or “expressed sequence tag” is a short sub-sequence of a cDNA sequence. ESTs may be used to identify gene transcripts, and are instrumental in gene discovery and in gene-sequence determination. “Complementary DNA” (cDNA) is double-stranded DNA synthesized from a messenger RNA (mRNA) template in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme reverse transcriptase. cDNA is often used to clone eukaryotic genes in prokaryotes, ie bacteria and archea. The cells of us eukaryotes result from the endosymbiosis of archea with bacteria, the ancestors of our mitochondria, which still have their own DNA, and, in plants, chloroplasts, which descend from photosynthetic cyanobacteria.)

        Although the camera eye of the octopus is very similar to that of humans, phylogenetic and embryological analyses have suggested that their camera eyes have been acquired independently. It has been known as a typical example of convergent evolution. To study the molecular basis of convergent evolution of camera eyes, we conducted a comparative analysis of gene expression in octopus and human camera eyes. We sequenced 16,432 ESTs of the octopus eye, leading to 1052 nonredundant genes that have matches in the protein database. Comparing these 1052 genes with 13,303 already-known ESTs of the human eye, 729 (69.3%) genes were commonly expressed between the human and octopus eyes. On the contrary, when we compared octopus eye ESTs with human connective tissue ESTs, the expression similarity was quite low. To trace the evolutionary changes that are potentially responsible for camera eye formation, we also compared octopus-eye ESTs with the completed genome sequences of other organisms. We found that 1019 out of the 1052 genes had already existed at the common ancestor of bilateria, and 875 genes were conserved between humans and octopuses. It suggests that a larger number of conserved genes and their similar gene expression may be responsible for the convergent evolution of the camera eye.

      • From more than a decade ago, but lots more of observed speciation events:

        Anyone who claims that the origin of new species has never been observed clearly hasn’t made the least little bit of effort to verify that glaringly false assertion. The instances in the wild and in the lab are legion. As noted, not just species but genera.

        Yet I still encounter creationists, who have never studied the topic, making this false claim. Telling falsehoods intentionally is lying. That’s against the Ten Commandments, you know.

      • John,

        To help further your education:

        To take but one type of mutation in genomes, pseudogenes, here is how they help us track evolutionary history, from Genome Research, 2007:

        Pseudogenes in the ENCODE regions: Consensus annotation, analysis of transcription, and evolution

        An instance of how ancestry can be traced from shared, derived pseudogenes:

        “An illustration of the mutations that can cause pseudogenes. The human sequence is of a pseudogene in the olfactorygene family. The chimpanzee sequence is the functional ortholog. Key differences include an insertion, deletion and a point mutation.”

        Pseudogenes in human, mouse, worm, fly, yeast, cress and prokaryotes:

        Hope this tutorial in the fact of evolution isn’t held up as long as the last multiple-link lesson was.

      • Some interesting reading there Gloateus.
        “Sponges evolved from the closest unicellular relative of animals, the choanoflagellates, which form colonies and are practically identical to poriferan feeding cells. They also resemble sperm cells.”

      • Tony,

        The evolution of animal multicellularity from colonial choanoflagellates is being reconstructed in great genetic detail. We can now see in animal genomes the mutations that enabled unicellular, colonial protozoa to evolve into metazoa.

        We also are revealing the steps by which sponges were transformed into radially symmetrical animals, then into bilaterians.

        These transitions had long been apparent, but now we can find out exactly how they occurred, on the molecular level.

        To d@ny the fact of evolution you have to render yourself, deaf, dumb, blind and willfully ignorant.

      • Choanoflagellate (from the Greek word for “funnel”, because of the collar which collects bacteria for food, and the Latin word for “whip”) imagery:

        Cartoon of sponge feeding, in which collar cells use their flagella to bring food into the collar:

        Closeup graphic of a sponge collar cell:

      • Tony,

        I’m glad you found info on the transition from colonial protozoa to metazoa interesting. As more and more genomes are sequenced and compared, we increasing understand at a genetic level that and the other major transitions in animal evolution.

        Genomic analysis has greatly improved our knowledge of metazoan evolution. This paper from 2015 discusses some of those advances:

        The hidden biology of sponges and ctenophores

      • “Macroevolution has been observed directly and can be inferred as the only possible explanation for observations of genetics, inherited traits, paleontology, anatomy, biogeography, biochemistry, embryology and every other biological parameter.”

        I disagree.

      • “The lobe-finned fish from which we tetrapods evolved were identical, bone for bone, in their cranial anatomy and mostly in their post-cranial anatomy, with our ancestors, except for the fusion of their fin rods into proto-fingers, for instance.”

        Note the clear circularity of the “reasoning”, please; “from which we evolved”, “with our ancestors”. (That’s to get you imagination in the proper state of . . “seeing”, I surmise ; ) And there’s this use of “identical” when I’m sure he doesn’t mean that, he just means some bone gazers can imagine the skeletal features of at least one of a type of creature (there are many), gradually morphing into the skeletal features of one of another sort. Why it couldn’t have been a different one, that Evolved in that aspect, while the one the bone gazers (currently) are “seeing” as the ancestor went extinct, beats me. Obviously, if we (creatures) all Evolved from the same initial living cell, bones can Evolve just fine.

        It’s all like this, as far as I can tell. Just take whatever gets the imagination going in the right direction, use lingo that keeps telling the reader/listener what they should be “seeing”, and then act like that’s the scientific method . . Like “climate science: ; )

      • John,

        The only way you could disagree with my summary of the facts is by never having studied them.

      • JohnKnight April 6, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        Not circular at all. Just factual.

        By “identical bone for bone”, I mean identical. Rather than making false claims out of thin air, how about actually looking at the fossils?

        Why do I have to do all your palentological research for you?

        For the rest of the skeleton, please see this site. It’s 13 years old, but still valid as far as it goes:

        D@ny reality all you want, but facts are stubborn things.

      • By “identical bone for bone”, I mean identical.

        I can tell them apart . . anyone could . . WTF is wrong with your mind, sir?

      • John,

        Hardly infallible, but when I state a fact, I make sure it’s a fact first. When I make a mistake, I acknowledge it and apologize. That early tetrapods and their lobe-finned fish ancestors had the same skull bones and much the same body bones, except for adaptations which coincide with their having evolved fingers. Acanthostega had eight in its hand, clearly showing their evolution from cartilagenous fin rays.

        This recent CAT-scanned reconstruction of this early tetrapod largely confirms the work cited above, but with some differences, if you’re actually interested in the subject about which you feel qualified to comment.

        The fact remains that the cranial and post-cranial skeletons of the earliest tetrapods plainly display their descent from Late Devonian lobe-finned fish, to anyone willing to look with an open mind not clouded by myths. If you have a better scientific explanation for these observations, please trot them out.

      • “That early tetrapods and their lobe-finned fish ancestors had the same skull bones and much the same body bones, except for adaptations which coincide with their having evolved fingers.”

        Not the same. Similar . .

        I can see that you’ve personally eliminated the possibility of a creator/designer of living things, and are therefore left with nothing but “Evolution” to explain all of it . . That’s all I see here, a very long convoluted declaration that YOU personally are convinced there is no designer of the creatures (which would obviously account for any and all similarities, even more-so than Evolution from a common ancestor, it seems kinda obvious to me anyway).

        In short, you have eliminated the competing theory, to begin with, and are arguing that Evolution must be what happened . . not arguing that designed creatures would be way different of whatever. So it’s like shadow boxing, there’s no opponent . .

      • One potential “competitor” to Evolution;

        If we consider something we can actually observe “differentiating”, like dogs, we can see that genetic coding is lost (or shut down in some sense) as varieties are put through what amounts to simulated environmental pressures. The poodle does not have addition genetic coding to what the generalized dog creature has, but just the opposite. That’s what we can observe.

        How could we possibly know that’s not what has happened on this planet? Some basic creatures, per-programed with the genetic coding that would “devolve” into a wide array of variants, depending on environmental pressures . . If I had the technology/know-how, and I were seeding life on a planet, that’s what I would do . .

      • Gloateus, some people will never move beyond the indoctrination of “God did it”. I fear you are casting pearls before swine.

        To tie it back though…
        Narrow-minded, anti-science, fundamentalists like Inhofe will make dangerous claims like this:
        “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,”

        Whatever the research results it would be preferable they were arrived at through scientific rigour, not millenia old myths, nor modern, selfish ideologies for that matter.

      • Out of curiosity John are you working within the bounds of a 4.5 billion year old planet?

      • Tony,

        If you take Inhofe’s comment out of its religious context, he is right. Humans are too puny to have a major and lasting impact on Earth’s climate. The CACA cult ascribes superhuman powers to our species. We can wipe out other species, but we aren’t a pimple on the posterior of the mighty climate system.

      • John,

        The bones are the same. They need not be shaped exactly the same or be of the same size, but obviously those are adaptations. The fish, the transitional fishapods and the tetrapods all have the same skull bones.

        It’s like the mammalian middle ear bones, which came from no longer needed jaw bones. Creationists said that it was absurd to imagine that our middle ear bones came from the two small back jaw bones of the “reptilian” ancestors of mammals (actually not technically reptiles). That, they said, would mean that at some point a protomammal had two jaw joints, ie the “reptilian” (also fish and amphibian) one and the mammalian one, in which the dentary bone connects directly to the skull. Scientists predicted that indeed such creatures existed and their fossils would be found. When paleontologists found many such “mammiliformes”, like Morganucodon, creationists moved the goalposts, saying, “Now you have two gaps where before there was only one!” Well, then science filled those gaps, but there is no way of persuading true believers with any amount of evidence.

        Evolution is science. It makes testable, falsifiable predictions, which are confirmed. Creationism doesn’t and can’t.

        Another example is whale evolution. Based upon genetics, science learned that whales are artiodactyls, ie even-toed ungulates. Thus we predicted that fossils would be found of terrestrial artiodactyls with whale-like traits and semi-aquatic lifestyles. (The closest living artiodactyl to whales is the hippo.) And sure enough, such creatures were found.

        Same with finding fishapods in Late Devonian rocks from Arctic Canada. Scientists knew where and when to look, and found what they sought.

        To d2ny evolution is to d@ny objective reality.

        Positing a creator of some kind is not a scientific explanation. It’s the opposite of science, since believing in such a thing means there is no reason to try to learn how species and higher classifications of living things arise. That means that medicine won’t be able to understand antibacterial drug resistance, for instance. Or how to fight cancer. Or how the human immune system works.

        You’re free to imagine that a god designed a universe in which evolution would produce new species. You’re not free to imagine as fact a being which short-circuits science, since there is no evidence of such a thing.

        If you truly believe that there is a plausible scientific alternative to the fact of evolution, please elucidate it. You will be the most famous and important biologist in history. No biologist since 1858 has been able to do that, and there have been some great ones.

        Behe and other ID advocates are profoundly anti-scientific, because they punt and imagine there is such a thing as irreducible complexity, rather than trying to understand bacterial flagella, for example. Such understanding will help us fight dread disease pathogens.

        There is no need to assume a creator of new species, since we observe daily how they arise through genome duplication, hybridization, natural selection and stochastic processes. No creator need apply.

        But as I used to tell my fundamentalist students when teaching biology at a Baptist college, you can insert your god into the process at any point you want. You only have to learn the science. Your religious beliefs are up to you. As long as you can explain the process of tetrapod evolution on a test, you’re free to believe personally that God zapped the genome of the sex cells of a lobe-finned fish so that its offspring would grow calcified and fused fin rays, ie fingers. However, that’s not how it happened. In the shallow, low oxygen environments in which the ancestors of tetrapods lived, fingers helped them pop their heads up to gulp O2 into their lungs, to help out their gills, and to eat whatever floated by.

      • PS:

        Another thing I told my students was that to me it made more sense to believe the Work of God, ie Creation as we observe it, than the Word of God, which is a work of Man trying to understand God. Where they differ, it would be blasphemous to prefer the alleged Word, since otherwise you have to imagine the Creator to be cruel, incompetent and deceptive.

        Does He just make it look as if the universe is 13.7 billion years old and plant fossils of extinct species to test our faith?

        Bibliolatry is a grave sin. Worship God, not the Bible. It has a lot of great stories, but before about 800 BC, it is mythical and legendary, not historical, and nowhere is it even remotely scientific. After that time, it can be more or less historical, but always with spin, of course.

        For example, we know from Assyrian records that YHWH didn’t really just make the army of Sennacherib up stakes and go home from their siege of Jerusalem. Hezekiah of Judah avoided the fate of the northern kingdom of Israel, the Lost 10.5 of the 12 Hebrew Tribes, by paying tribute. Sennacherib’s host might also have suffered disease and worried about a possible advance by the Egyptians, then under a Nubian (Kushite) dynasty.

      • “Evolution occurs in every generation. On average, every human is born with four mutations, and accumulates more during his or her life.”

        That would mean mutations occur in every generation, not Evolution . .


        the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.
        synonyms: Darwinism · natural selection

        the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form:
        “the forms of written languages undergo constant evolution”
        synonyms: development · advancement · growth · rise · progress · expansion · [more]

        I speak English, not Gloteous ; )

      • Oh, a question . . I almost missed it.

        “Does He just make it look as if the universe is 13.7 billion years old and plant fossils of extinct species to test our faith?”

        Actually, spiral galaxies look very young, with still obvious arms. We don’t expect to see “arms” of planets and other material around stars such as our sun, since the varying rates of orbit at different distances would quickly destroy any trace of such a symmetrical distribution. (That’s why hypothetical dark matter had to be introduced, to explain away the young appearance of all those galaxies.)

        But no, I don’t think He made Himself “deniable” to test our faith, but rather to give us reason to grow somewhat mature, self reflective, and independent in our thinking. Now, perhaps you feel qualified to judge how best to generate independent conscious entities, and figure Him remaining blatantly obvious at all times would be best, but I doubt you really are.

      • This one cracks me up;

        “For example, we know from Assyrian records that YHWH didn’t really just make the army of Sennacherib up stakes and go home from their siege of Jerusalem. ”

        He trusts the “Assyrian records” implicitly (“we know”, but tells us not to trust the Hebrew records, cause that would be a grave sin ; )

      • John,

        The textbook definition of evolution is “change in allele frequency”. There is no difference between evolution in one generation and in a million generations. The processes are the same. Why is that hard to grasp? Only blind faith could cast such cataracts over the vision of your reason.

        What you don’t speak is biology. Try looking up how actual biologists who know about which they speak define evolution.

        The Assyrian records are valid because they record the actual tribute paid by Judah. The Bible records what Hezekiah told his scribes to write.

        If you applied the same standards to CACA, you’d be all on the side of the scribes, ie GISS, BEST and HadCRU.

        You put your critical faculties in neutral when it comes to Bible stories. They don’t reflect reality. It’s all Iron Age spin.

        There is no need to posit a species creator because completely natural processes perfectly explain our observations of nature.

        I see it’s hopeless to try to persuade you to recognize reality. So I won’t burden you with the overwhelming evidence for all the major transitions in life, including those leading to humans.

        It’s clear that you can’t handle the truth.

      • (from the wiki)

        “The Assyrian account
        Sennacherib’s Prism

        Sennacherib’s Prism, which details the events of Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah, was discovered in the ruins of Nineveh in 1830, and is now stored at the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois.[2] The account dates from about 690 BCE and these types of accounts are generally used for boasting of Assyrian conquests. The text of the prism boasts how Sennacherib destroyed forty-six of Judah’s cities, and trapped Hezekiah in Jerusalem “like a caged bird.” The text goes on to describe how the “terrifying splendor” of the Assyrian army caused the Arabs and mercenaries reinforcing the city to desert. It adds that the Assyrian king returned to Assyria where he later received a large tribute from Judah. This description inevitably varies somewhat from the Jewish version in the Tanakh. The massive Assyrian casualties mentioned in the Tanakh are not mentioned in the Assyrian version, but Assyrian government records tend to commonly take the form of propaganda claiming their own invincibility, with the result that they rarely mention their own defeats or heavy casualties.[4]

        The Hebrew Bible’s suggestion that Jerusalem was victorious rather than defeated, is corroborated by the Jewish historian Josephus.[5] He quotes Berossus, a well-known Babylonian historian, that a pestilence broke out in the army camp…”

        (But, bear in mind that Gloeteus the Great has unquestioning faith in that account ; )

      • John,

        I try to educate you, but you’re the horse that can’t even be led to water.

        What I try to teach you is actual ancient Near Eastern scholarship, not Wikipedia. Clearly you have never even read Josephus, let alone the reams of historiography on him.

        It is not at all like your jejune imagining from a quick scan of Wiki.

        The Assyrian library is credible and the Bible not credible because the actual numbers are there. The Bible itself hints at what actually happened and some scholars have concluded that there has been editing, to downplay the role of the “black” Kushites.

        Please don’t embarrass yourself further by pretending to have a clue. Like most creationists, it’s obvious that you haven’t even read the Bible, let alone the enormous body of scholarship around it and let alone in the original languages. No rational person believes the Bible over the Assyrian records.

        All you have is blind faith. The fact that Judah was later conquered just like Israel before it, without the attackers even breaking a sweat, who then went on to subdue Egypt, would clue in a normally intelligent, sane person as to what happened.

      • John,

        Oh, wait!

        It just occurred to me that I might have been giving you too much credit. I assumed that you had heard of the Babylonian Captivity, in which Judah was carried off as the “Ten” Lost Tribes of Israel had been previously.

        It now appears that you are so ill-conversant with the Bible that you didn’t know that in the end Judah was not saved by YHWH, Egypt or anyone else. The only reason that Judaism survived was because Cyrus the Great freed the captive Judaeans from the Babylonian Captivity before their religion was erased from the face of the Earth.

        That’s right. Persians, the ancestors of modern Iranians, rescued Judaism. Cyrus saw similarities between their religion and his, Zoroastrianism. The OT began to take shape during the Babylonian Captivity, which is why the creation myths in Genesis are of Mesopotamian origin, rather than Levantine, where they would have been much different. The stories of Daniel in the lion’s den and Esther are pure fiction from this time, with the captive proto-Jews trying to hide their shame at having been defeated, proving that their tribal god was no match for the Chaldeans’ Marduk.

  2. “Lie” – Knowingly telling a falsehood with intent to deceive. Mistake – no intent to deceive, not knowing the incorrect information is false.

    • It’s certainly possible, that the journalist didn’t know it was a lie.

      The notion of an ongoing sixth mass extinction is not the product of a mistake.

      • It is difficult to distinguish laziness in not checking sources and deliberate malice in quoting known dodgy sources. As the old comment goes==>Which is worse, ignorance or indifference? I don’t know and I don’t care.

      • It’s a journalists explicit duty to determine a lie from a truth.

        How they deliver their reports is a matter of morals and ethics.

    • Furthermore, by the 23rd century, the climate could reach a warmth not seen in 420 million years, say researchers.

      The only way that is even remotely possible is if CO2 has a climate forcing at or above the current estimation, which—given the corrupted data record and stitched together temperature record from various proxies—is unlikely to be the case.

    • Yea, I saw that mad prediction as well.

      The weather forecast here was that it would rain yesterday and today, but it was blazing sunshine. And the VVankers contend that climate prediction is easier than weather forecasting. Well it would be, wouldn’t it, as they won’t be around in 100 years to answer for their lunatic predictions.

  3. “Only one large plant-eater remained”???? American bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, moose, caribou.

    • Yep.

      But he did qualify that statement…

      Only one large plant-eater remained, nearly unchanged since it first began racing through the south-west 30,000 years ago: the pronghorn.

      I don’t think this is accurate even with the “nearly unchanged” qualifier. Bison are the clearest example.

      • I think I know what you are trying to say. Try it this way:

        Only one large plant-eater remained nearly unchanged, since it first began racing through the south-west 30,000 years ago: the pronghorn.

        Commas always get me too.

      • The following was partially excerpted from:

        The fastest animal in the world and one of the most successful predators on the African savannah is of course the Cheetah which can reach speeds of up to 61 miles per hour.

        The Cheetah is actually only slightly faster than the Pronghorn Antelope.

        The Pronghorn Antelope takes second place among land animals for speed. It can easily out-sprint most predators at speeds as high as 60 miles per hour. The Pronghorn is far faster than any predator that inhabited North America.

        “DUH”, when you are the fastest runner on 4 legs ….. there is no compelling need to evolve a better survival trait ….. and thus “remaining unchanged” still insures their present day survival.

        I guess alligators figured out that “no compelling need for further evolving” thingy a couple millions years ago.

      • Samuel Cogar—Eagles, in pairs or trios, will take down antelope. Speed may not help when death comes from above. Fortunately, there are many more antelope than eagles and much easier things for the eagles to snag than an antelope.

        The antelope strategy of running fast has a downside—they tend to run in whatever direction they are pointed when they perceive a threat. In the past, that was fine, but with fences, houses and roads, adapting is becoming necessary.

      • How about a 2 mile race between the Cheetah and the Pronghorn?
        Try a race over hurdles.
        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

        Also, in the qualifying statement, note “the south-west.”

      • David, TonyL has it correct. The comma in the BBC article gives their words the following meaning – “the pronghorn is the only large animal that survived the end of the last Ice Age, and it is also largely unchanged in the time since”. This is clearly a lie considering moose are even bigger, & there quite a few bison around until the late 19th century, too.

      • Sheri – April 5, 2017 at 10:22 am

        The antelope strategy of running fast has a downside—they tend to run in whatever direction they are pointed when they perceive a threat. In the past, that was fine,

        Sheri, when possible, many land (terrestrial) prey animals “feed” into the wind. This “trick” not only gives them the added advantage of “seeing” danger farther out in the direction they are feeding, …… but it also permits them to “smell” the oncoming breeze for the “scent” of a predator that might be lying in wait for them.

        So “Yes”, a prey animal will often flee in the direction they are “feeding” because they never “detected” any danger out in front of them.

        Now other prey animals, such as a Wild Turkey, will often flee in the direction from which they came …. simply because they know there was no predators along the route they just traveled.

        White Tail Deer have learned many, many “tricks” for evading their predators. It’s utterly amazing the things they will do.

      • Samuel C Cogar
        I guess alligators figured out that “no compelling need for further evolving” thingy a couple millions years ago.

        More like a couple of hundred million years.

    • “The hirola and the pronghorn are both antelopes.”
      Pronghorns are not antelopes. They are unique in the world and have no relatives, antelope or otherwise.
      As to running 60 mph or so. Doubt it.
      Pronghorns have an interesting habit of rather than just running off they run along side a vehicle until they can dash in front and off the other side. The top speed I’ve seen them going when they’re really putting an effort in is more like 35mph.

      • USexpat,

        Pronghorns can top 35 mph. I personally have never witnessed 60, but IMO it’s not impossible.

        All living things have relatives, whether closer or farther removed.

        Pronghorns’ closest living relatives are in Africa, the giraffes and okapis. Both the giraffe and pronghorn families belong in the Superfamily Giraffoidea.

        Further removed, they’re members of the Infraorder Pecora, which includes deer, musk deer and the speciose family Bovidae of cloven-hoofed ruminants. Further still, they belong to the Suborder Ruminantia, which is Pecora, plus the mouse deer family. Then they are next most closely related to the other Artiodactyls, the even-toed ungulates and their descendants, like whales.

      • Gloateus,
        I suppose Close relatives would have been the more accurate term and saved you from abusing electrons for 3 paragraphs of Google facts.
        As to 60 mph being not impossible…….probably is.
        FYI An Indian tribe in Texas used to run down Pronghorns as their hunting technique. Took all day but they were usually successful. Kind of amazing isn’t it?

      • Chorus Home
        Home on the range,
        Where the deer and the antelope play,
        Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
        But what can an antelope say?

      • Usexpat April 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        IMO they posted runners and ambushers along the expected path of the pronghorn herd.

  4. I understand the preoccupation with species that are dwindling, but I have always been curious about the ones that just keep on going and going. Raccoons come to mind as do squirrels, starlings, foxes, coyotes, white tail deer, skunks, weaver finches, geese, certain rats, ground squirrels, possums, carp, badgers, bull frogs, zebra mussels, kudzu, thistles, the list could go on. Now it is true there are opportunities related to changes caused by human activity that some view as negative but shouldn’t this be tempered with an impartial view that this represents a revitalization of some forms of life as they take advantage of changing resources. There are some very powerful species alliances with humanity that would be obviously “natural” if viewed by a completely non partial observer. Sheep, goats, cattle, horses, dogs, chickens, geese, cats, rabbits, turkeys, pigeons and many others have benefited and are closely allied with humanity. At least for the antelope, by being a prey species of man, it has become yet another animal preserved for the future even if it’s survival of the last extinction is somewhat mysterious.

    • Steve,
      Good points. All realities and realms are being measured in a relative sense to the start of the Industrial age and the burning of fossil fuels. Any variance since that time is seen as evidence of the unnatural influence from humans.

      The global temperature, CO2 level, sea level and so on are assumed to be the ideal level that would not have changed if not for humans. Clearly, the majority of research has twisted the results, starting with the assumption that any change is bad.
      An increase in a beneficial gas that is greening up the planet and causing slight beneficial warming is bad because the ideal concentration of CO2 is assumed to be “what it was before human emissions of CO2 increased that amount.”
      Same with global temperatures increasing……..despite the fact that life in the past always did better at these temperatures to a couple of degrees warmer than it did when the global temperature was 1 degree cooler(now defined as the “new” ideal).

      Despite the fact that the weather/climate and CO2 levels over the past 4 decades were the best for most life on this greening planet since the Medieval Warm Period, 1,000 years ago, it represents a “change” some of which was caused by humans.

      However, the term “climate change” in today’s world, is synonymous with “human caused climate change” by most. Along with that assumption is the assumption that those changes are harmful……..despite the vast majority being beneficial.

      Think about the unlimited opportunities that scientists have to study and report the massive benefits of increasing CO2 that are happening based on empirical data/observations. Instead, the clear objective is often the opposite, starting with the assumption that any changes caused by humans is bad. Finding bad things that need fixing, generates far more funding than telling us the opposite.

    • I’m definitely much more fascinated by the Red Wolf/ Eastern Coyote than about extinct and endangered animals. Tells us a lot more about evolution.

  5. “Nobody is really sure what caused the extinction event. It has variously been blamed on fluctuating temperatures and climates, the encroachment of man, invasive plants or new bacteria, or all of the above.”
    They missed my favourite explanation:
    Can it be that herbivores (and their predators) with diet predominantly on C3 plants went extinct whilst the ones adapted to C4 plants survived?
    And C3 plants were limited in growth due to CO2 starvation? (there was a paper showing that at 180 ppm there is a strong feedback due to reduced plants consumption of CO2)

      • Thanks for the link!
        BTW I have posted also a link to an article I read some time ago about “woolly rhinos, woolly mammoths, horses, bison and even camels roamed the Arctic and ate guess what? C3 plants: “Forbs are much higher in protein and easier to digest than grasses. So their dominance could help explain how so many unique megafauna were sustained in the Arctic — and also perhaps why they died out. After about 10,000 years ago, the new study found, the type of vegetation in the Arctic shifted rapidly, and diversity fell to the levels seen today.”

      • David
        That paper and the issue raised about CO2 starvation is extremely important.

        The endless debate about megafauna extinctions at the LGM mostly revolves around human hunting and climate change.

        But these extinctions could easily have been caused by changes and stresses to plant communities resulting from CO2 starvation.

        In the light of the Ward et al 2004 paper it is certain that scientists will have seen clearly the serious possibility that CO2 starvation could be the major cause of LGM megafauna extinctions, staring them in the face. And they then swept it under the carpet of carbon politics and worked on finding an alibi cause.

      • David,

        I agree. CO2 should have gotten about as low as during the LGM before.

        The maximum of the glaciation (called the Illinois in North America) before the last one (Wisconsin) lasted longer and was just about as cold as the Wisconsin.

    • Lars,

      You said, “..plants went extinct…” It is perfectly correct to say someone “went fishing, skating,” etc. But “extinct” is a state of (non)being, not an activity. One would never say “The man went happy.” Might I suggest that when talking about extinction, you say, “became extinct,” “died out,” or “are extinct.” Alternatively, you might say, “went through the process of extinction,” or some variant thereof.

      I suspect that the phrase “went (state of being)” is a colloquialism picked up from our British counterparts. I’m reminded of the saying about how the US and Britain are two countries kept apart by a common language.

      • “America’s Pronghorns Are Survivors of a Mass Extinction” – and there was me thinking that in a mass extinction there were no survivors … … …

      • Thanks for the suggestions.
        Actually the expression was double wrong as most of the respective plants did not disappear, but rather got more rare, as I understood was the situation for some forbs:
        Forbs, flowering plants, were the food of choice for woolly mammoths, woolly rhinos, horses and bison until the last glacial maximum, new research shows

        Again, the majority of those eight samples were dominated by forbs.

        Forbs are much higher in protein and easier to digest than grasses. So their dominance could help explain how so many unique megafauna were sustained in the Arctic — and also perhaps why they died out.
        Which again ;) underlines my hypothesis

      • Lars
        I agree that we should work at keeping English language logically consistent and true to its historic linguistic roots.

        For instance journalists are particularly guilty of giving words meanings that have no relation to their linguistic root, such as:

        “Spiral” is supposed to mean rapidly increasing. NO – spiral means circular movement with a unidirectionally changeing radius that can either be increasing or decreasing.

        “Graphic” content of a report is supposed to mean violently distressing scenes. NO – graphics simply means pertaining to an image or picture.

        There are other such examples I can’t call to mind. Such bastardisation of our language is offensive. Even graphic. And it’s spiralling.

    • Now it doesn’t look like much on this proxy map …….but the total acreage on the East and West coasts of both the United States and Mexico that was exposed during the past “glacial maximum” of 23,000 years BP ……. was surely productive enough to support millions n’ millions of predator and prey animals …… until such time that sea levels began to rise …… which would have forced all of those “millions of animals” to migrate inland to higher ground and most probably to a partial or completely different environment, thus forcing many of said animals “to evolve or perish”. To wit:

      Thus it doesn’t surprise me any in learning about the number of “extinct animals” that once habituated the coastal area of California. And if not for the La Brea Tar Pits we would not know what many of those now extinct animals were.

      The “forced migration” predator animals could have kept “eating” until they had depleted their prey animal populations and then they would have perished also.

      • MarkW – April 5, 2017 at 11:22 am

        These animals had survived previous glacial cycles.

        That is true …….. but, ….. but, …… but, … that was way, way, way back then ….. and maybe not so true for the current interglacial cycle that began 32,000 years BP …… simply because the environment of southern California suffered a drastic change that could surely have “triggered” their extinction when the sea level increased to its current height. To wit, excerpted study results:

        Ancient pollen spores that were floating in the air when mammoths roamed Southern California are providing new insights into historic droughts in the region, including how a series of mega-droughts between about 27,500 and 25,500 years ago changed the ecological landscape.

        In the paper, paleoecologists Linda Heusser and Jonathan Nichols of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory analyzed pollen levels in a sediment core drilled from the bottom of Lake Elsinore, a climate-sensitive area in the eastern shadow of the Santa Ana Mountains near Los Angeles.

        The scientists’ high-resolution pollen analysis provides the first continuous terrestrial record at a scale of decades rather than centuries of ecological change in coastal Southern California during the last glacial period, about 32,000 to 9,000 years ago.

        Read more @

  6. The BBC is particularly good at making wildlife programmes. However, I no longer watch them because they manage to spoil every one with an alarmist message about climate change.

    Complain using the procedure on their website and see what they say about it.

    • Indeed, I was watching some documentary displaying and describing the wonders of the blue whale. (Not sure if it was a BBC production.) Beautiful footage of the giant whale. They mentioned the food source for these whales being the tiny krill that feed on amazing examples of various phytoplankton. I had an inkling of hope for a moment, but then no, they did not complete the food chain to disclose that phytoplankton consume Carbon Dioxide. I switched it off.

      Carbon Dioxide is the base of the food chain for all life.

      • And without CO2 we would all be dead in minutes.
        It’s CO2 that regulates our breathing, not lack of oxygen. Without the CO2 level rising within us we would not breathe.

      • I thought we could breathe pure oxygen indefinitely. The autonomic breathing reflex might stop, but can’t we breath anyway, as long as we are conscious?

      • When CO2 levels reach a certain point, we breath.
        Even if we breath pure O2, our lungs will still excrete CO2. It may take a few seconds longer to reach the trigger level, but the lungs will still reach it.

      • If you breathe pure oxygen, you would die pretty quickly, and go blind even more quickly. Not recommended.

      • People can breathe pure oxygen at low pressure. The breathing continues because CO2 is produced. If it rises, we feel pain.

        Is it true that in space craft in the 60’s they breathed an atmosphere with a very high level of oxygen? And on the lunar craft?

        “The atmosphere in the Apollo spacecraft was 100% oxygen, at a pressure of five pounds per square inch.”

        That’s what I recall from the time. There are also references to 60% oxygen during launch. The whole story is complex, but we can state that pure O2 is possible if the pressure is 3.5-5 psi, it is a terrible fire danger.

      • We don’t “breath,” we “breathe.” The former is a noun: “She took her last breath at 11:20 a.m.” The latter is a verb: “She breathed her last breath at 11:20 a.m.” That pair of words is almost as troublesome as “prophecy” (noun) and “prophesy” (verb).

        Anyway, the evolution question arises again, and again it turns on definition. Micro-evolution, the gradual or quick appearance of changes within a species, is common; I bring it about every year, as I hybridize daylilies. Macro-evolution, the sudden appearance of brand-new species, has yet to be shown. Will the daylilies I cross ever produce a whole new plant, such as a breadfruit tree that actually drops fresh-baked loaves of whole-wheat bread from its waving boughs into my waiting hands? Don’t hold your breath.

    • I noticed this over ten years ago. I remember the ‘nature’ shows always having themes of survival, balance in nature, marveling over all of the astounding aspects to be discovered when you examine some plant, animal, or biome, etc.

      Then, at some point in time 10 or 20 years ago, the theme in EVERY nature show is: this plant or animal or biome, etc., is most likely DOOMED.

      I don’t believe it. If I leave my suburban home and lawn unattended for a year, you will see the power of nature all too well.

      • I’ve had arguments with environmentalists who believe that left unattended, asphault and concrete will survive, intact, for hundreds of years.
        I’ve seen a tree completely destroy a sidewalk in just a decade.

  7. The hirola and the pronghorn are both antelopes.

    The pronghorn isn’t technically an antelope. link

    It’s real hard to sneak up on a pronghorn. It can see you coming five miles away. It’s way faster than any extant predator. It’s reasonably smart. It will ignore cars driving by on the highway. On the other hand, if you stop your car, the pronghorn will be gone before you can get your gun out.

    • The pronghorn is not an antelope in the same manner that a bison isn’t a buffalo.

      However, it does seem to be ideally evolved to survive humans… ;)

    • CB, I haven’t personally verified it but and old meat hunter friend of mine from Colorado told me that all you had to do to get close to them was to stick a cane pole in you back pocket with a red handkerchief tied to the top of it. They are so curious you can get to within about 100 yards before they bolt. He said that if you tried to sneak up on them you couldn’t get within a few hundred yards before they took off. I assumed he new what he was talking about since he usually brought game meat steaks to work for his lunch and/or dinner (e.g., antelope, deer, elk, etc.).

      • Joe: Antelope caught on to the flag move a long time ago, since all that fell for it were sent to the freezer. They do run if you sneak on them and they see you. However, if you just walk toward them in a non-threatening way, they don’t bolt nearly as fast (early in hunting season, of course. Later that all changes.) The best way to get them is when they are in “love” and paying no attention!

      • Thanks Sheri, been a while since I was out in that part of the country. Does sound like they’re not much different from several people I’ve known.

      • Antelope caught on to the flag move a long time ago,

        “HA”, then the western Pronghorn Antelope, like the eastern White Tailed Deer, ….. are quick learners.

        The use of the Tree Stand was at one time quite productive when hunting White Tailed Deer, ….. that is until they learned to “look up into the trees” for hunter intent on shooting at them.

        Now days when using a Tree Stand one has to really take care to camouflage their presence.

      • “Flagging” them is actually illegal in some states, if memory serves. It worked for me, once, even if it was my partner who actually filled his tag. I lured the pronghorn to within 75 yards of his concealed position, but he got “buck fever” and the shakes so bad he barely got off a lethal shot. I never let him live it down, and he passed on the the Great Hunting Ground a couple of years ago, RIP.

      • Having put a couple in the freezer I know they do make mistakes from time to time. I am not sure what can make them curious about certain things but from my experience most have some inkling about what poses a threat and will make serious distance from it in short order.

      • Steve Lohr,

        I think flagging works best on less worldly males, and mostly during the rut, but they are curious creatures. When I flagged one to me, it was snorting and pawing the ground along the way. When the hormones take over, they see almost anything moving as a flicking ear or tail of a potential mating rival. All I did was put a hand to the top of my head, and flap it. If I’d have stood up and spread my arms, it almost certainly would have bolted.

    • A pronghorn is not as fast as some suggest above, but it can keep up its maximum speed for a really long time. I have seen claims for 55 mph and 45. No matter, it is fast and predators can’t keep up.

      That it is related to a whale is hilarious.

  8. The “sixth extinction” meme is here and is not going to go away. It’s right up there with co2 is a pollutant, methane is a “powerful” greenhouse gas, carbon is dangerous, solar and wind are renewable but hydro isn’t, sea levels are rising at an unprecedented level…all of this is taught as “science” in our public schools, payed for with taxpayer dollars. That must change.

    • What must change is using the school system as a Progressive indoctrination platform. It’s in schools like these where they learn the next generation that humans, especially whites, are the problem.

      • The solution in the US, at least, is to break the state monopoly on “education”, ie indoctrination.

  9. “The hirola and the pronghorn are both antelopes.”
    That’s accurate only in sense of the name “antelope” being a common name used to describe both species. Pronghorns are in the family Antilocapridae, while the Hirola is in the family Bovidae, which includes African plains game species such as Kudu, Impala and Waterbuck, as well as Cape Buffalo and American Bison… and Holsteins.
    Both families shared a common ancestor, at some point.
    The Pronghorn is more on the same evolutionary branch as Giraffes.

    • The pronghorn and the hirola are from different genera and families too. They are only related at the order level, Artiodactyla. Pronghorns are from the Antilocapridae family. Hirola are from the Bovidae family. However, both are colloquially known as antelopes.

      • Pronghorn are delicious. They are also NOT large. Males mass under 65 kg (140 lb) and females under 50 kg (110 lb). I have met larger dogs.Three other genera of American ‘antelope’ (Capromeryx, Stockoceros and Tetrameryx) existed when humans entered North America (during the last Ice Age) but are now extinct. On the northern Great Plains they are considered a nuisance animal, eating forage that otherwise would be eaten by commercial free-range cattle and sheep.

      • tadchem: Yes indeed. I remember being quite surprised how much bigger a mule deer is than an antelope. On the other hand, coming from Iowa originally, I was disappointed by the size of the white tail deer near where I live. I have definately seen dogs bigger.

        Antelope are actually quite adaptable. I have video of them jumping fences like deer, they now graze on lawns in town, etc. If being adaptable helps, that’s probably why they are still around.

  10. Whether we are undergoing the “sixth great extinction” is premature. However, homo sapiens has had a clear effect on large mammal species (and their predators such as “Mammoth Fleas”.) Within two thousand years of reaching the Americas, 50% of the large mammals have been destroyed. The same is true for Australia & other isolated islands (like Madagascar) — except the numbers are that 85% of the large mammals disappeared.

    This doesn’t mean that the extinction was due directly to hunting — it could have been due to burning forests to make hunting easier. The rise of farming has also been linked to recent extinctions.

    That being said, every piece of evidence suggests that the main solution to extinction is basic conservation methods that we all know —
    1) Reduced hunting and fishing of threatened species
    2) Reduced hunting and fishing of the food source of threatened species (maintain the balance of local environments as much as practical.)
    3) Improve maintenance of habitats
    4) Reduce the man-made consequences of invasive species.

    This is exactly what we see in all of the studies which then end with “and Climate Change {because I need funding.}”

    For instance, the polar bears have recovered due to reduced hunting and elimination of hunting of baby seal pups (their food source.) One of the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is the Crown of Thorns Starfish which exploded in population due to overfishing of predators which consume their larvae — other reefs are endangered due to destructive fishing practices (dynamite and cyanide) and pollution (fertilizer runoff and sediment from construction activity.) This is why reefs in Asia are the most endangered due to massive coastal construction projects.

    This diversion to carbon dioxide is a distraction to the real problems facing many species (especially large mammal species.) Basic conservation efforts are much more significant.

    • Mass extinctions take out genera, families and orders.

      Polar bears are barely even a distinct species. If Ursidae or Ursus were critically endangered, “mass extinction” might be a relevant phrase. Currently only 2 of the 4 Ursus species are even rated as “vulnerable.”

      • Yes, I read your definition of “mass extinction”. There are other definitions and there have been some large mammal families removed since the dawn of homo sapiens.

        You miss the point about the polar bear. It is neither extinct nor endangered. The point is that we know what brought it back from extinction and it was not the reduction of carbon dioxide. Instead, it was basic conservation practices.

      • Not shooting so many of them certainly did help.

        We definitely did help take out quite a few genera during the Late Pleistocene / Early Holocene extinction; but few, if any, families or higher taxonomic levels.

        Mammoths, mastodons, etc. were genera. The cave bear was a genus. In the case of saber-toothed cats, we helped take out a sub-family.

        It was a significant extinction event and humans played a role in it; but not even remotely close to the five real mass extinction events.

      • Technically the Late Pleistocene / Early Holocene extinction wasn’t even a mass extinction event:

        TA Brief History of Earth
        Mass extinctions–when at least half of all species die out in a relatively short time–have happened only a handful of times over the course of our planet’s history. The largest mass extinction event occurred around 250 million years ago, when perhaps 95 percent of all species went extinct.

        Top Five Extinctions
        Cambrian Explosion:
        Early life-forms began to flourish. (540 million years ago)

        Ordovician-silurian Extinction:
        Small marine organisms died out. (440 mya)

        Devonian Extinction:
        Many tropical marine species went extinct. (365 mya)

        Permian-triassic Extinction:
        The largest mass extinction event in Earth’s history affected a range of species, including many vertebrates. (250 mya)

        Triassic-jurassic Extinction:
        The extinction of other vertebrate species on land allowed dinosaurs to flourish. (210 mya)

        Cretaceous-tertiary Extinction: (65.5 mya)

        The current faux mass extinction (AKA Sixth Extinction) doesn’t even remotely compare to the Late Pleistocene / Early Holocene extinction and it wasn’t even close to a mass extinction event.

      • The Quaternary extinctions did take out some bird and mammal orders and quite a few families. I’m not familiar enough with other vertebrate and invertebrate animal, plant or fungus orders to comment on their survival rates.

      • David Middleton April 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

        I’ve never compiled a list of orders probably wiped out by humans, but IMO it’s more than a few.

        Some land vertebrate orders which spring to mind are the elephant birds of Madagascar, the moas of New Zealand and the litopterns, notoungulates and pyrotheres of South America. The latter two orders form a superorder, possibly the highest taxon made extinct by humans.

        South America had previously suffered severe extinctions at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, as a result of the Inter-American Exchange, caused by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. So those orders, families, genera and species bumped off by us were already a pitiful remnant of a once diverse and distinctive fauna.

        It’s unclear if the dromornithids, giant flightless birds of Australia, count as an order or not, but human immigrants wiped them out, too. Their affinities and classification remain controversial. As you know, Linnaean categories can be somewhat arbitrary.

      • David Middleton April 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

        Mammoths and mastodons are different genera, of course, but also in different families. Gomphotheres represent yet another family and superfamily of Order Proboscidea.

        The Pleistocene Americas were rich in proboscideans, which fell easy prey to early human immigrants. There were at least two species–woolly and Columbian–in the mammoth genus of the elephant family, but arguably more. The number of species in the mastodon family and gomphothere superfamily is also controversial.

      • Gomphotheres and mastodons were definitely examples of family level extinctions. Mammoths were in the Elephantidae family, which includes modern elephants.

      • Regarding mammals, Wikipedia has a tabulation…

        The Late Pleistocene extinction event saw the extinction of many mammals weighing more than 40 kg.

        The extinctions in the Americas entailed the elimination of all the larger (over 1000 kg) mammalian species of South American origin, including those that had migrated north in the Great American Interchange. Only in North America, South America, and Australia, did the extinction occur at family taxonomic levels or higher.

      • David,

        That’s right. Since the elephant family survives, its order also does. Lots of families went extinct in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene, but, as I noted, even some orders. Still doesn’t count as a mass extinction event, however, as you rightly point out.

        Wiki’s list is OK, but doesn’t break down the totals into species, genera, families and orders, as is done for the MEEs, although of course based upon hit or miss samples. In the biggest MEEs, classes and even phyla can be wiped out.

      • Dave Middleton cites

        “TA Brief History of Earth
        Mass extinctions–when at least half of all species die out in a relatively short time–have happened only a handful of times over the course of our planet’s history. The largest mass extinction event occurred around 250 million years ago, when perhaps 95 percent of all species went extinct.

        I’m not trying to disagree with you on balance. However, “a relatively short period of time” is not well defined. IIRC, it could be a few million years. In other words, we may have a long time to go before we really know whether this is a “sixth great extinction event”.

        I don’t think it hurts to be concerned about such an event, but we shouldn’t over react either. After all, the “first great extinction” was due to excess oxygen (known as the “oxygen event” or the “oxygen catastrophe”.) I don’t think anybody would advocate destroying all of the planet’s free oxygen to bring those species back.

        The issues causing the more recent extinctions have nothing to do with carbon dioxide. It is almost a “scientific crime” for anyone to assert otherwise. I’m sure biologists know better, but they want the funding for their research. The oxygenation event increased oxygen from zero to >30%. That’s a significant change.

      • “Subsaharan Africa only 8 of 50”

        Why ?

        If humans enjoy wiping out species why did he not do so in the cradle of modern men. Humans became more violent the further they got away from Africa?

      • If humans enjoy wiping out species why did he not do so in the cradle of modern men. Humans became more violent the further they got away from Africa?

      • More likely humans and hunting dogs were the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

        The glacial- interglacial transitions were stressful, but not terminal. Add in humans and it was too much for the megafauna that couldn’t get out of the way.

      • Robert,

        There were megafaunal extinctions everywhere, but less severe in Africa than in Eurasia and less extreme there than in Australia, the Americas and on oceanic islands.

        African megafauna evolved along with genus Homo since before the Pleistocene. Hence they were not naive, as were those in Australia and the Americas. Yet humans did manage to wipe out a lot of species and subspecies. Large herbivores and carnivores of North Africa were destroyed to feed the Roman appetite for spectacles and games, for instance.

      • Gloateus writes, “The Permian “Mother of All Mass Extinction Events” might have lasted only 60,000 years”

        That’s interesting. I hadn’t realize it was that short. That being said, it has been ~20,000 years since people crossed into the Americas. So, we’re only a third of the way there.

        I honestly don’t believe we’re in the middle of another great extinction event (more like one of the many minor extinction events.) That being said, we are in much more control over the planet than any species prior to us. We’ve reshaped the planet in many ways before we understood what we were doing — promoting domesticated species such as the dog, cow, and chickens over many other animals. It’s no longer “survival of the fittest” unless you consider the fittest to be the former minor weeds (wheat, corn, rice) who exploited their domesticated species (homo sapiens) to become the majority of all land vegetation.

        What irritates me is the way these conversations become “climate change”. We know what has lead to extinctions and we know how to prevent them. Everybody knows about the passenger pigeon, the dodo, and the mammoth. And, everybody knows that climate change did not kill them. In the modern era, we are expected to dismiss common knowledge in favor of new esoteric wisdom preached by modern medicine man.

        It’s idiotic. It bugs me to no end. As I wrote earlier, these diversions distract from real improvements. We have fishermen using dynamite to kill fish and claiming climate change killed the reef beneath them. And … we should handicap the world’s economy as punishment. I predict that we will learn that the quickest way to kill environmentalism is through worldwide poverty.

      • Lorcan,

        If we date the Quaternary extinctions from, say, the entry of humans into Australia some 50 Ka, max, then we’re still within the Permian’s 60,000 years, if that finding should be confirmed and found valid. Previously, there was general agreement that it lasted less than a million years.

        It’s then instructive to compare the genus, family and order-level extinctions during the Quaternary with the order and class-level extinctions of the “Great Dying”. Bad as the recent megafaunal and other extinctions have been, they’re not a pimple on the posterior of the Permian.

      • See — I knew you were going to pull that Australian thing on me. But, really, Australia never really should count as the beginning of anything.

        I’ve been agreeing with you that this is likely not a “mass extinction” event. (Maybe I should go full IPCC and say, “extremely likely” or something like that.) But, I don’t think that means that we should minimize the extinctions that have occurred or could soon occur. We are more than a pimple on the modern era’s ass. Climate change is one of the lesser effects.

      • Lorcan,

        I regret the loss of species, genera, families and orders during the past 50,000 years or so, especially those for which our species is responsible, but the pace has been greatly reduced since the last oceanic island was devastated. We’re now more aware of the problem and richer, so can afford conservation measures. Most whales may have been spared the fate of their terrestrial megafauna kin and of island birds.

        That said, agriculture would have been challenging in the presence of mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres, woolly rhinos, Irish elk, stag-moose, antique bison, ground sloths and other giant beasts, not to mention herds of hungry horses and camels. Keeping African elephants out of farming communities is a job.

      • Come to think of it, sperm whales were saved by fossil fuels. Whale oil was replaced by kerosene.

      • I’m about to beat this dead horse into extinction.

        Gloateus writes “… but the pace has been greatly reduced since the last oceanic island was devastated.”

        Absolutely. My point is that none of these gains came from carbon dioxide reduction. They all have come from basic conservation measures. The focus on climate change is a bait and switch which comes from biologists who need funding for their science which means they need to find a link to climate change.

        I should also point out that while it is interesting that the Permian Mass extinction may be limited to 60kyears, the other mass extinctions occurred over much longer periods of time.

  11. I think the bigger lie both in the article in the comments is that the pronghorn antelope is actually an antelope. It’s not on Antelope and it’s not a goat it is not related to either one. Comparing it to the Antelope of Africa is just false and ignorant

    • From a taxonomy perspective, it’s not an antelope.

      From a common usage perspective is is an antelope, just like a bison is a buffalo.

      The pronghorn (pronunciation: /ˈprɒŋˌhɔːrn/)[3] (Antilocapra americana) is a species of artiodactyl mammal indigenous to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the American antelope, prong buck, pronghorn antelope, or simply antelope[4] because it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to parallel evolution.[5]

      What would the Old West have been like with Bison Bill instead of Buffalo Bill?

      And “Oh give me a home where the bison roam, Where the deer and the pronghorn play,” flat out doesn’t work.

      Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
      Where the deer and the antelope play,
      Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
      And the skies are not cloudy all day.

      Chorus Home, home on the range,
      Where the deer and the antelope play,
      Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
      And the skies are not cloudy all day.

      Read more:
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  12. Maybe they mean the modern human population decline in rural America or maybe the falling life expectancy rates caused by opioid epidemic and suicides.

  13. The BBC lead-in is ludicrously wrong.

    Lots of plant-eaters of pronghorn size and much larger survived the Pleistocene-Holocene extinctions in North America. The genus bison comes to mind, with mountain “goats”, bighorn sheep, and such members of the cervid family as moose, elk, mule and white-tailed deer.

  14. Survival of the fittest.

    We have only intentionally made one species go extinct – the smallpox virus.

    • How do we know for sure any virus is extinct? I don’t think we can ever know for certain.

      • Something as tiny and numerous as a virus would follow asymptotic behavior. We can determine their numbers are “near” zero, but it will never be zero. In my college Calculus II class, this was illustrated by the equation for how many gasoline molecules remained in a gas tank as a function of time spent flushing out the tank. It was asymptotic to zero. No matter how long you flushed the tank (forever, even) there was still at least one molecule remaining, mathematically speaking. That revelation is one of the few things sticking in my memory from Calculus classes.

      • Smallpox would be extinct if we weren’t keeping it alive in labs. It is extinct in the wild, thanks to the human effort to eradicate it.

    • Bill Illis writes, “Survival of the fittest.”

      This is a biological axiom; not a life philosophy. We shouldn’t be deciding which species are the “fittest”.

      FWIW — they are trying to clone a Mammoth from recovered DNA. If successful, should we be angry at them?

      • Not as long as the mammoths show an appetite for climate change alarmists! Unfortunately they’ll be strict vegans.

  15. ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis). “The species is listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The American Birding Association (ABA) lists the ivory-billed woodpecker as a class 6 species, a category the ABA defines as “definitely or probably extinct”[1]

    Nobody has come up with any real evidence that the ivory-billed woodpecker (American) is alive and kicking to this day. As much as I would not like to hear that the ‘woodpecker’ is extinct. Somebody or groups need to get together and call it.

    The ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct and now joins the ranks of the dodo and thylacine.

    Climate Heretic

    • I agree that it probably is, too.

      Its subspecies, the Cuban ivory-billed woodpecker probably is, as well. But there are often pleasant surprises.

      Quite a few bird species have gone extinct recently, but the rate hardly amounts to a mass extinction. Even all the extinctions, many, at least, man-caused, of the past 40,000 years or so, don’t amount to a MEE.

      • Tony,

        Four hundred years at present rate won’t do it. There just aren’t that many species going extinct now. Might not even be above the background rate. The big wipeouts happened when people invaded new territories. Now we’re already everywhere.

    • You can declare it extinct, using any criteria you choose, but you can never prove it’s extinct, any more than you can prove the last gasoline molecule has been flushed from the tank (see previous.) There have been a few species long declared extinct which have resurfaced. For my own part, I believe there probably are a few Ivory-billed Woodpeckers remaining, in Cuba and probably elsewhere. Their habitat is too inaccessible and vast to explore methodically.

    • There’s a lot of land out there that is rarely visited by humans.
      Even in a place as densely populated as N. America.

  16. The paleontological record is a wondrous story of an unbroken history of life and its mind boggling variety, adventure and evolution over about half the age of the earth. It may be the only place in the universe (not a popular idea these days) where life exists.

    Historically, despite the spectrum of ideologies, this sacred story has been faithfully unravelled by dedicated paleontologists from all parts of the world where scientific endeavor is to be found. Only the amoral present stands out in which the integrity of this science is subordinated to serve selfish, dishonest, ideologues. Being an ignorant dupe is not a flattering defence, but I have no doubt that such as these comprise a large number mingled with the cynical who have knowingly been bought out.

    • Life has been around for at least close to 90% of Earth’s existence. It’s definitely 3.8 billion years old, probably 4.0 and possibly 4.2. We can’t really say when pre-cellular life might have arisen here. Or arrived here.

      It’s highly improbable that Earth presently harbors the only life in the universe, but in our galaxy is at least possible, if not plausible. With dwarf planets, the Milky Way could hold on the order of ten trillion planets. If one planet in 100 billion has life at this moment, then that means ~100 such worlds. Without considering moons, asteroids or other bodies. Or other galaxies in the universe.

      • There’s life, then there’s complex life.
        It took close to 4 billion years to go from single celled life to complex life forms. Then another 200 million years for intelligence to arise.
        Recent science has found that the number of things necessary to keep your environment stable enough, long enough for that sequence to complete is astounding.

        For example, if Saturn hadn’t formed precisely where it did, Jupiter would have spiraled in and swept all of the inner planets out of the solar system.

      • Mark,

        A lot of scientists think that Jupiter formed closer to the sun, then migrated farther out, causing the Late Heavy Bombardment, if that indeed happened.

        Bacteria and archea are already pretty complex. They ruled for one to two billion years, depending upon when you think that eukaryotes arose. If by “complex”, you mean multicellular, as in animals, fungi and plants, then it took around three billion years from the start of life, ie about a billion years ago. If by “intelligent”, you mean animals capable of reasoning, there were some fairly smart carnivores even in the Paleozoic.

        Despite its moon to help stabilize it, Earth has not really been all that stable. It has suffered repeated Snowball events, and survived the Oxygen Catastrophe, which made us possible but almost wiped out all the original, anaerobic life forms. But at least we didn’t lose our surface water, as did Mars. Venus has been stable but inhospitable. Ditto Mercury.

    • While not conclusive, these recent discoveries suggest a start for life earlier than thought even just years ago:

      The date keeps getting pushed back. It used to be 3.8 Ga for biochemical markers in Greenland rocks and ~3.5 Ga for cyanobacterial fossil mats from Australia. Before that, microbial fossils from later Precambrian rocks.

  17. There was nothing unusual about the last glacial period or its ending (one of very many) except humans came during the end.

  18. The survival of the pronghorn after the arrival of man is a curiosity. Supposedly a handful of humans that had killed of all the sabre toothed tigers, mastodons, camels, early horses with only a stick and a stone and later a stick and a string somehow failed to get all these tasty morsels. And now an exponentially larger population of humans armed with powerful, accurate firearms can’t finish them off. Little anomalies like that are one of the reasons I’m reluctant to credit the extinction of NA mega-fauna solely to humans. Even the buffalo survived Stone age peoples equipped with horses and firearms after the arrival of Europeans. It took an industrialized, government sponsored effort serving industrial markets and territorial conquest to put the bison on the edge of extinction. Undoubtedly people played a part in the early extinctions but there had to something more than a few fur clad nomads plodding along on foot involved.

    • JAOG
      You’re underestimating early humans. Maybe it’s too easy to believe all those stereotypes about plodding retarded buffoons in animal skin leotards with clubs. Or The Far Side or Freddy Flintstone. Ancient humans up to 100,000 years ago already had exactly the same intelligence and physical abilities as us. Homo erectus were efficiently killing megafauna already 2 million years ago. Moderns (70,000 years ago and onwards) did it even better. Modern humans reached NA across the Bering Straits about 12,000 years ago as glaciation receded. A lot of extinctions followed. As Craig Loehle and Willis Essenbach showed in their paper, most extinctions are due to invasive species.

      • Spears can be deadly, especially when you combine them with hunting dogs to keep your prey pinned down. A well thrown spear (and those guys were pretty strong back then, they had to be) could penetrate 5 or 6 inches into the body. That may not sound like a lot when compared to the size of a mastadon, but it’s deep enough to cause a lot of bleeding. A dozen or more hits, and the animal would bleed to death in just a few hours.

    • I don’t believe early humans hunted the big predators. What probably did them in was humans killing off their prey, the other mega fauna.

    • Humans didn’t directly kill off the large predators.

      They did however naturally focus on the largest and easiest to hunt game first. Pronghorn and deer were less attractive as targets and harder to hunt. The survival pattern is just what would be predicted. Same thing happened in Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand.

      People of the late Stone Age had excellent hunting technology and teamwork, aided by dogs. The big game was naive in the New World and Australia as well.

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