Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Ideas of Evolution, Ecology, and Genetic Engineering Each Positively Change the Direction of the Effect of Species Loss on Learning
A series of experiments has shown that the brain is less likely to select information for long-term storage if such info can be easily looked up.1 This tells us that we are less likely to remember less relevant knowledge, and that a species is long-extinct certainly makes that species less relevant. But that isn't the case if a species extinction makes us think of it as a research project. We are more likely to remember an extinct species than most extant ones if we consider the questions "What factors resulted in this species's extinction?", "How did its extinction affect other ecological actors?", and "How we can restore this species's unique and intrinsic contribution to biological diversity?"