What difference does a butterfly make

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Fri Apr 7 07:05:45 EDT 2000

Recent postings emphasize that the "public" doesn't understand the 
importance of a species or whether it matters if a species goes extinct. 
It reminded me of a story by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury called 
THE SOUND OF THUNDER.  To make a short story shorter, in the year 2055 a 
would-be dinosaur hunter is conveyed back in time to hunt a 
Tyrannosaurus rex.  The safari is only allowed to shoot animals that are 
about to die of natural causes.  As T.rex approaches, the hunter steps 
off the boardwalk, squashes a butterfly, and changes the future course 
of evolution (including the upcoming presidential election). 

	"Embedded in the mud [on his boot] glistening green and gold and 
black was a butterfly. Very beautiful and very dead."
	The hunter cries out in anguish "Not a little thing like that"

	Well maybe a single butterfly would not have that impact, but it 
was interesting that the writer perceived the interconnectedness of 
living things and the importance of evolution. It's too bad that his 
message didn't reach a wider audience. 

	M. Gochfeld

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