Rhubarb Commando's quite right that the grey squirrel has been set to eliminate the native (and seemingly less agressive) red in the UK for many years, thwarted so far I guess mostly by mankind's benevolent intervention.

I heard relatively recently of a another European (Spanish?) mutant of 'our' grey squirrel appearing in the UK, which is even more aggressive, and threatens genetically to displace the existing greys by interbreeding. I have not heard if this enhances the threat to the native reds.

Isn't nature (by this I mean evolution, with its preference for the best fitting genetic variant) (literally) wonderful?

This obliquely leads me to a very personal 'bee in the bonnet', namely the woefully inadequate (and I think misleading) ways in which the harsh reality and impersonality of genetic selection that happens in the evolutionary process, has been explained by so-called experts in the media, even by our much admired uncle of evolution, David Attenborough. I personally deplore such dumbing down of vitally important concepts.

In general, it is often claimed that "such and such a species does this because it affords such and such an advantage", as though the individual creature can anticipate that such and such a behaviour will afford an advantage. This has to be nonsense, except in the instances of more 'intelligent' creatures - it can only be through many fortuitous iterations of a given behaviour, resulting in a statistically greater number of individuals surviving to pass on their genes, that the behaviour in question may become 'incorporated' in that species' genetic package to be passed on, and exhibited 'naturally'.

I'm sorry to wander off the central thrust of the thread, and step onto my own particular soap-box (a happily compatible conjunction of cliches), but I am hoping this may become a suitable point for discussion by comparison and contrast.

Views, anyone?


"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate" - 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter'.
Dante (Durante degli) Alighieri, "La Divina Commedia", "Inferno", c 1308-1321