Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Lesson of the day

In Venezuala, the 4300 square km man made Lake Guri was created when a tremendous dam was built. As a result, a number of artificial islands were created.

As a testament to the impact of human decisions, these island are being overrun with over 5 times as many iguanas as naturally occur, as well as 10 times the density of howler monkeys (they don't even bother howling anymore, because the overpopulation has turned them a little individualistic due to the frantic nature of survival), and something like 50-100 the normal number of leaf cutter ants (which are tearing apart any remaining vegetation).

Scientists believe that this has occurred because all the natural predators of these creatures (such as jaguars) disappeared during the floods.

I learnt this during a seriously sweet documentary in a series entitled Strange Days on Planet Earth. Added bonus? Hosted by Mr. Edward Norton. He shakes his finger at all you non-PBS lovers out there.


Ant said...

Interesting - the last place I read a similar (fictional, but portrayed as "fact", Da Vinci code styley) rendition of this kind of thing was in "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. However, the rest of the book was utter, utter pish (read my review of it here.)

Oh and I love Edward Norton. In fact, when I become so famous and interesting that someone decides to make a movie of my life, I would like him to play me... :o)

SMARTBuddy said...

Lots of good habitat for cichlids though- the Peacock Bass in Lake Guri are the stuff of legends!

Indiana James said...

Gotta love it when humans mess with nature... Boooo on us.

Princess Pointful said...

Ant- Enjoyed the review... book sounds delightfully horrid! And, yes, I adore Edward Norton. He's one of those folks whose choice in films makes him attractive... though I'm quite nervous about the Hulk, as the last one was about the most hideous film ever.

SmartBuddy- I guess you would know about that sort of think :). I actually found that out when googling "Lake Guri" to find a pic!

Indy J- Exactly. This is one of the clearest examples I've ever heard!