12 August 2005

God set to win in Tasmania

The featured article on Wikipedia this morning was about one of my favourite subjects. I called up the main article and read it until I finally came to this extraordinary statement:
In May 2005 a recommendation was made to include the devil on the Tasmanian Threatened Species list as a vulnerable species".
Apparently the devil is characterised by an "...extremely loud and disturbing screech, and viciousness when feeding"; moreover, "when agitated, the devil can produce a strong odour, its pungency rivalling even the skunk".

If you haven't already guessed, the devil in question is Sarcophilus laniarius (formerly S. harrisi)—the Tasmanian devil. On a more serious note, the article's fascinating; for example, I wasn't aware that devils can "can eat up to 40% of their body weight in 30 minutes". Actually, maybe I should suggest a correction to the article—it's someone else's bodyweight they're eating.

[Note: be warned—the article includes a sad and gruesome photo of a devil killed by devil facial tumour disease. Also, despite the tongue-in-cheek title of this post (no offence intended), I'm sure any god would be just as saddened by the extinction of these great little animals as by any other. Although, given George Bush's record on environmental issues and nuclear proliferation, the god he apparently talks to might not be concerned about extinctions—including our own.]

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