Great Moments in Science: It's Raining Beaver!
A few weeks back Don wrote an article on the spectrum of scientific inquiry where he talked about the loss of respect some of the "softer" sciences suffer due to the lack of hard evidence, explosions, and the stereotypical trappings of the scientific endeavor. In that subtle love poem written to his wayward mistress of Anthropology I saw myself mirrored and this week I'd like to make reparations and start by apologizing personally to Biology, Biologists, and a girlfriend I had long ago at whom I sarcastically rolled my eyes when she made the same points.
Why, you might ask, do I now see the error of my ways? Well, my friends, I have just found out that biologists used to throw beavers out of planes wearing parachutes. That's right. There were beavers that needed to be relocated and biologists figured the best way to do that was to recreate a scene from World War II over the wilds of Idaho.
And it worked! Sweet jeebus, it actually worked. In a move that should have resulted in the kind of outcome caused by the Oregon State Highway Division's decision to dynamite a beached whale, biologists safely and effectively relocated 76 beavers with only one fatality.
I'm sorry Biology. I was wrong. And now that I know what to look for I am pleased and impressed that this kind of tomfoolery is rife in your field.
For example, when fish can no longer make it past the numerous dams on the Columbia river, you have given us the salmon cannon. Yes, a cannon that fires fish. Built by a company called "Whoosh Innovations" you'd be tempted to think it's some kind of joke, but it's legit. So, so legit, as the FAQ from the company website points out.
So what's next Biology? I'm officially on the bandwagon and I will gleefully spread the word of your escapades subjecting animals to dubious environmental situations in the name of science (or maybe a drunken bet).