2523: Endangered

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Endangered
The list includes polio, Guinea worm, and this one particular enterovirus strain that they've been tracking out of spite after it went around the lab a few years ago.
Title text: The list includes polio, Guinea worm, and this one particular enterovirus strain that they've been tracking out of spite after it went around the lab a few years ago.

Explanation[edit]

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by The Encyclopod who wanted to preserve The (now-extinct) Dark One's DNA but ... - Title text not explained, specifically why the mentioned virus type could be such an issue for the team. Is it embarrassing? Or where they just all very ill. Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

The endangered species list (also known as the IUCN Red List) is a system for categorizing species based on "level of extinction".

Ponytail, Cueball, and Megan in this comic are scientists who are sarcastically worried about pathogen strains becoming extinct. People in general want harmful pathogens to go extinct.[citation needed]

Randall was most likely inspired by this article about different influenza strains. Influenza causes the yearly flu, which infects 5–15% of the global population annually and causes 3-5 million severe cases worldwide.

The title text mentions polio and Guinea worm disease - diseases that are being eradicated due to worldwide efforts - the former, famously, through vaccination, and the latter through education and prevention techniques. A Google search "sarcastic endangered" list seems to indicate that the "sarcastic endangered" list is not a real thing.

The bitter irony here is that much recent scholarship has described links between parasite biodiversity and ecosystem-wide, indeed planet-wide, biodiversity. In few, if preserving and expanding biodiversity are seen as good things, then preserving and expanding biodiversity of parasites is a good thing, the one not being possible without the other. Parasites and disease agents, arguably, are classes of predators, and their removal can help establish a superpredator, the actions of which can catastrophically drive down biodiversity. Humans, released from predation by a large percentage of formerly-effective microbial predators, through the introduction of penicillin and other antibiotics plus other elements of 'heroic medicine', sanitation, etc., have arguably become such a superpredator, and one that is mediating a loss of global biodiversity that may become the largest single species-extinction event in the history of planet Earth.

There also seems to be some evidence that infections with influenza viruses increase the chance of a heart attack. For instance regular flu shots reduce the risk of heart attacks. Thus the fact that we are "heartbroken" when B/Yamagata goes extinct could be sarcastic, since we might in fact suffer less from broken hearts.

Transcript[edit]

[Ponytail stands facing Cueball and Megan in front of a poster board.]
[Ponytail is pointing a stick to the board reading "Current List" with bullet points beneath.]
[The first bullet reads Influenza B/Yamagata.]
[Four further bulletpoints follow, which are left indistinct.]
Ponytail: Influenza's genetic diversity has declined druing the pandemic, and the B/Yamagata lineage is at risk of extinction.
Ponytail: Which would be such a shame.
Megan: Yeah, I'm sooooooo worried about it.
Cueball: We'd be just heartbroken!
[Caption below the panel]:
When a pathogen that scientists really don't like is close to disappearing, it gets added to the sarcastic endangered species list.


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Discussion

I think this was produced because of Science Friday for October 1, 2021. See https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/primates-parasites-extinction/ 162.158.122.15 19:48, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

(Note - this comic release is pleasantly early!) I was wondering if that article of yours might have anything to do with human pubic lice being endangered by the widespread porn-inspired removal of pubic hair. Apparently. (Not in my case, but neither am I knowingly hosting.) 172.70.134.131 19:55, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
Or possibly this article: "Influenza lineage extinction during the COVID-19 pandemic?" https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-021-00642-4 108.162.245.167 21:13, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
I think it was this: "US says ivory-billed woodpecker, 22 other species extinct". https://apnews.com/article/climate-change-science-animals-wildlife-fish-b6e61676548a1d7b2f81a6512cbed7a7 Barmar (talk) 21:23, 1 October 2021 (UTC)


I wouldn't mind if for example mosquito or tick would go extinct as well. For reference: Influenza B virus, Polio, Guinea-worm disease and Enterovirus. -- Hkmaly (talk) 20:28, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Do you like blueberries? Where I live, in southern Canada, several plants, including blueberries, are typically pollinated by black flies, mosquitoes and other small insects, many of whom use various mammals, including humans, as protein sources for egg production. Get rid of the mosquitoes, you get rid of the blueberries. Life is a balance. Nutster (talk) 12:40, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
Also those small insects are major food sources for insect predators, like dragon flies, and small birds. Lose that layer of the food web, and you affect lots of other things in our ecosystems. Nutster (talk) 19:30, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
Do note that there are more than 3500 species of mosquitoes, and only females of about 6% of them are actually the ones that suck human blood (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35408835). In other news, it is estimated that Mosquitos have caused a death of at least 5% of all people that have ever lived. Something to be considered alongside possible 6% drop in blueberries pollination. 172.68.221.31 00:12, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
6 percent isnt a small amount! its 3/50! (pls no link swimming dog with gun in mouth) 108.162.237.87 14:24, 4 October 2021 (UTC)BUmpf
I learned something new today: people are so eager to see causation when they suspect correlation that in Canadian folklore black flies pollinate blueberries. As someone who has cultivated blueberries for over 40 years and never once seen black flies on the flowers (and even if I were unobservant, the black lies are usually gone by the time blueberries set) the very idea that black flies are anything more than opportunistic nectar thieves is just ridiculous, but of course my opinion doesn’t matter and facts don’t care about my feelings, so let me point you to a proper research paper: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249542298_Shattering_the_folklore_Black_flies_do_not_pollinate_sweet_lowbush_blueberry 162.158.63.249