Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

The giant Miocene weasel under the cocktail cabinet

As a connoisseur of the stranger corners of the animal kingdom, I note with interest that Attenborough's Long-Nosed Echidna*, which was formerly thought to be extinct, is NOT actually extinct at all. It was just that the last time anyone looked for it, it was out.

This led me to ponder how we know if animals are extinct or not. Is it simply because no one's seen them around lately? Maybe they've moved to the suburbs, or fallen out with their fandoms, or friends-locked their journals? I decided to peer more closely into this enigma, and what I discovered might come as some surprise...

"Extinct" Animals: Where Are They Now?
  • The Dodo**
    A casualty of the disaster known as "Strikethrough 1662", possibly because it had "shagging dodos" listed among its blog interests. It now shuns pro-hunting forums, but can occasionally be found posting to Journalfen under the screenname Wibblybeak666.
  • The O'ahu O'o
    Became a hate figure when it solicited charitable donations to finance an international quest for consonants, then disappeared. Later slapped with a restraining order forbidding it to come with 100 metres of Carol Vorderman. Its appeal case comes up next month.
  • The Great Auk
    Deleted its journal in a huff when a bunch of unimpressed reviewers said it wasn't as great as it claimed to be. Now trying to cash in on Lord of the Rings mania by rebranding itself as the Mildly Intriguing Uruk-Hai. Results so far have been disappointing.
  • The Quagga
    Controversially cancelled due to low audience figures, but now the subject of a fan campaign to revive it. No doubt it's already beset with nay-sayers who claim the new version won't be as good as the original.
  • The Antillean Giant Rice Rat
    Mislaid after a particularly good party at the Linnean Society. Probably behind the photocopier.
  • The Queen of Sheba's Gazelle
    For centuries, the Queen of Sheba was a historical superstar and the gazelles were proud to bear her name. Then a clan of gazelle renegades began to declare that their namesake was passé and wanted the species to be renamed after someone more hip and happening. The resulting flamewar ended in a full-on schism, creating the rival breeds Paris Hilton's Gazelle and Victoria Beckham's Gazelle. Tragically, neither subspecies is truly able to fend for itself, but lone beasts can still occasionally be seen tripping teary-eyed through TV studios or begging for scraps of publicity outside the offices of Hello! magazine.

* When I heard that David Attenborough had an echidna named after him, I was a bit disappointed that this didn't mean there was only one of them and it was called Dave.
** Not to be confused with Dodo from Doctor Who, who also disappeared rather suddenly, but who can't be seen stuffed in the Natural History Museum.
Tags: wonders of nature
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