Xeni Jardin at 11:02 am Thu, Jan 6, 2011
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
(Via Submitterator, thanks Lobster)
when will we read about human die offs in a certain area then will we think somethings wrong or is it the natural die off rate expected?
Has anyone noticed that the die offs follow the track of the jet stream over America and Europe?
Sometimes birds just explode.
without having time to go through each one of the entries the pattern on the map is mostly fish kills.
Fish kill not so rare. I lived in a city where there were fish dieoffs almost every year in the millions. It was due to heat from a power plant and oxygen starvation.
Bird die off’s not so common. Thousands at one time seems strange. It would seem likely that birds would be spread out if they died of a natural phenomenon. I would think that they would be spread out so much so that they would not be obvious as a mass event.
Poison would explain sudden drop dead simultaneous deaths but that seems easy to explain with few reasonable tests. I would think if it was rat poison the results would take minutes.
I’m stepping back but still thinking something is going on. Pattern detection got us this far and this doesn’t appear to fit a regular pattern.
“5- and 20 black birds… baked in a pie.”
I think the takeaway from this is going to be that these sorts of unusual deaths happen all the time, but because of our instantaneous access to, and ability to send it out for all eyes to see, makes it seem more mysterious than it really is.
Ignore the aquatic deaths, killing mass quantities of fish is something humans and mother nature both find rather easy.
What interests me is the mass deaths of creatures which /don’t/ live in the water. It has been the dream of weapons designers for centuries to kill, not just maim, large groups. It has not proved easy.
Even the “best” chemical and biological weapons don’t have a mortality rate approaching that seen in these two bird cases, much less an instantaneous one.
+1 Tatsuma. If you look at a a history of mass animal deaths; they occur all the time (and have been occurring for much longer than we have been taking notice of them).
Nature can be brutal – natural occurrences (sudden freezes, tornadoes, lightning storms, hurricanes, etc etc) happen frequently; and animals in migration are often caught up in natural phenomena.
The fact that we are seeing ‘so much’ of if now is a symptom of information being more prevalent (and invasive) on social media, and the tools for analysis are so much more readily available – it plays to our Confirmation Bias.
Unfortunately, without statistical evidence, claims that this happens all the time is no more valid than “OH MY GOD, WE’RE DOOMED!”
If anything, these events should encourage us to make such statistical data more available. Each side should be able to point to verified data showing actual trends. Without it, both sides are valid and we can pretty much stop talking now.
There area plenty of stats on this – I just didn’t cite them here (because frankly they would be pretty obscure).
But I would tend to take this guy’s word for it ;)
If you look at a a history of mass animal deaths; they occur all the time (and have been occurring for much longer than we have been taking notice of them).
This is true. It is well known among Natural History buffs that we are currently involved in a mass extinction event.
The proximate cause seems to be a single species that has outgrown its environmental niche… don’t worry, nature takes care of these problems over geologic time.
Wait, do you mean to imply that these are happening far more frequently now, and that we need to pay attention, or that these levels of die-offs are common and are no significant anomaly?
Holy shit. I suspect it was fireworks… or cold water.
What we all have to remember is 99.96% of all species that have ever existed are extinct. Most of those extinctions occured well before our evolutionary ancestors even existed. Now I am by no means downplaying the impact of humanity on climate change, the destruction of habitat, or the outright obliteration of some species; however, to say the planet is doomed is a misnomer. As of 2050, taking into account current population growth and densities, earth’s oxygen level will not be sufficient to support human life. To put it simply: too few plants + 13.5 billion people = way too much CO2. This planet will live on long after we’re gone. Whatever species go extinct in the next few decades, we will be among them. It won’t be with a bang or a titanic disaster, more and more of us will simply go to sleep and not wake up. Nighty night.
whaaat? not one of usual-suspects has taken a screen shot of that map and used photoshop-o-gimp-o-illustrator to sloppily connect-the-dots and thereby spell out the message from the god(s) (which i expect will be suitably obscene) …yet??
OH I WONDER IF IT WAS the f***ing oil spoil??
I’d like it more if the “events” were labeled with graphic elements (or whatever) in sizes according to severity. As it sits now 70 bats has as much impact as 10k blackbirds or several manatee.
I would agree that these were ‘no significant anomaly’ if they weren’t only clustered in areas of high human density. As well as with the global warming situation, mass die-offs have been occurring long before our scourge dominated this planet, but the intensity & frequency are many, many times that of any previous time, save one mass die-off 65 million years ago. And as alarming as this map may seem, it fails to identify any but the inland animals. The rate of deep sea fish die-off has skyrocketed even more so in the last two decades. We Are Fucked.
That’s probably more to do with reporting. I find it hard to believe they’re unique to certain areas; just those are the areas where people report it.
This is more a map of how significant people find these events and their access to technology to communicate it.
The other point is, throw out the easy aquatic kills, and you’re left with a nearly empty map.
In other news, McDonalds is having a special on “Chicken” McNuggets and Filet-O-Fish.
Bat die off has been happening anyways, google it. White nose syndrome. Most of the caves in the SW are closed because the parks service decided they had to ‘do something’.
It has not been happening always!!! I am a Field Ecologist and in California we a starting white nose protocol right now BEFORE it get here… because it has not always been here! IT CAME FROM EUROPE IN 2006. It started in 3 caves in New York most likely introduced by infected gear brought over from European caves. It has now reached Texas… defiantly not always been here… and it is killing over 90% of our small hibernating bats.
Nothing new here, and it’s too bad that you would jump on the FUD train but I suppose it drives ad revenues better than plain old boring science.
While you’re right that it’s probably nothing, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to be so certain in the name of science. We’re going to need about a week to determine exactly what’s going on.
I submitted this because I thought it was interesting, not because I thought we were all going to die. Are you saying that the deaths of millions of animals in close proximity is boring to you?
By the way, thanks for posting it, BB. :)
“Are you saying that the deaths of millions of animals in close proximity is boring to you?”
In this context, yes it is, because you have shown me nothing that is out of the ordinary. Apparently your awareness of this has been raised by an increase in media stories and blog postings.
Show me data over the last 20 years or so if you want to make it interesting.
When did I slip into the ‘Flashforward’ universe?
‘Fast Forward’, I meant. NM.
Oh, reports are from where people live?
If a tree falls in the forest…
The Swedish birds have been confirmed to have died from external force trauma, i.e. struck by a truck on the road.
USGS have 90 reports of mass animal deaths the last six months. Just because the birds don’t tweet it doesn’t mean it isn’t a normal event.
“USGS have 90 reports of mass animal deaths the last six months. Just because the birds don’t tweet it doesn’t mean it isn’t a normal event.”
If you look at the USGS reports, any occurrence of 1000+ animals dieing off is over a period of time of weeks or moths, not a day. Which still makes a couple of the recent events disturbing.
Thousands of menhaden fish in Folly Beach, SC today http://www.live5news.com/Global/story.asp?S=13795544
Day of the Triffids/Andromeda Strain- Didn’t we recently pass through some old comet’s tail (Quadrantids or something?)
There have also been many historical occurrences of naturally caused mass human die-offs.
Amongst the well-known earthquake, hurricane, flood, and tsunami cases, are some less well-known situations, such as the following:
“We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
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