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Weird Timing
Emily Gertz, 3 Jan 05

Wireless Flash Weird News apparently eager not to sit out media coverage of the South Asia tsunamis, found a "news of the weird" hook: sea monsters. It contacted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman about globsters, "big masses of round flesh that measure between eight and 20 feet [that are] often previously-undiscovered species of sea serpents, dolphins or whales. that may wash up on the shores of Indian Ocean beaches."

In the article, Coleman expressed some concerns that relief workers might destroy these carcasses before they can be identified, and also mentioned that new land species may also be found as previously-unknown animals make for high ground to escape flooding. But as he later told BoingBoing's David Pescovitz,

Questions about cryptozoology in the midst of a global disaster? I frankly was shocked. But then I saw this as an opportunity to emphasize humanitarian efforts, first and foremost, and stressed zoological awareness would be an objective far down the priority list.

We're certainly interested in undiscovered species around here, and the state of wildlife and habitats along the Indian Ocean rim in the wake of the tsunamis. But sometimes a news story can wait. We look forward to indulging in speculation about globsters when the humanitarian crisis is under control.

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why not think about both, and work for the good of both? if we push aside considerations of habitat and wildlife in order to focus entirely on 'controlling the humanitarian crisis,' what valuable insight might we miss? can we not expand our thinking sufficiently to incorporate large-systems ideas (such as the relationship between species loss, habitat loss, and rebuilding for sustainable survival) from the get-go?

this is not to propose we stop aid workers from distributing food to go hunt sea-moster carcasses. Rather, it is an appeal to stop thinking compartmentally about this (or any other) crisis - yes, there is an urgent humanitarian crisis, but there is also a broader crisis of the entire human-supporting ecosystem and infrastructure, including fish and land-based animal & plant life, that needs careful evaluation and attention. Certainly, "nature" has already set about recovering from the tsunami, but it would seem the sustainability of the human population might very well depend on how the interaction of human & environmental recovery is managed. Now would be a very bad time, say, for overfishing, regardless of the immediate hunger of the fisherfolk.

Posted by: katuah on 4 Jan 05

Katuah, we are in fact talking about wildlife and habitat in the tsunami zone here at WorldChanging, in all the ways you describe--we're just holding off on the cryptozoology.

See Taran's article on deep sea impacts:

Or, mine on restoring mangroves:

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 4 Jan 05

"Now would be a very bad time, say, for overfishing, regardless of the immediate hunger of the fisherfolk. "

I'm hoping that somewhere there might be enough money to spare to buy you a one-way ticket into a shattered village on the coast of Indonesia so you can explain that crippled concept to the people sitting around among the mud and the corpses. It's the kind of thought and belief that needs the personal touch.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun on 5 Jan 05



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