Thursday, February 12, 2009

The New York Times on Shiluach HaKein

The New York Times
February 10, 2009
Seeing the Risks of Humanity’s Hand in Species Evolution

According to the sages who issued the Biblical edicts of Deuteronomy, if you come upon a bird’s nest, you may take eggs and nestlings, but you must leave the mother bird behind. “Let the dam go,” the King James version says.

Some consider this advice as odd as many of Deuteronomy’s other injunctions, like its ban on clothing made of blends of linen and wool. It runs counter to the fishing tradition of throwing the small fry back so they can grow up, aiming for the largest males in trophy hunting.

But now some biologists are starting to think Deuteronomy has it right. They see this approach as a remedy for a growing environmental problem — the way human predation is causing target species to evolve to reproduce at younger ages and smaller sizes, to their short-term benefit but to the long-term harm of the species.

(read the rest here)

(Hat tip: Rabbi Steven Miodownik)

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