[LMB] OT: Shooting

Joel Polowin jpolowin at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 29 17:08:08 BST 2021


Louann Miller <domelouann at gmail.com> wrote:
> Wearing my fan-of-weird-stuff hat, I would hate to shoot a Bigfoot
> (supposing I was a good enough shot) because it might be a sentient being.
> Like Fuzzy Sapiens but bigger.
> Wearing my science-geek hat, having a dead body (or even part of one) to
> submit for permanent scientific study would provide a type specimen and
> settle the existence of the critter.  None of this "here's a blurry photo
> of the body, but oops, my house burned down with it inside right after
> that" stuff. Heck, finding an unfossilized half of a lower jaw lying around
> in the woods would settle it. They can sequence Neanderthal genomes,
> something that fresh would be a walk in the park.

Wearing my science-geek hat, I'd still be appalled by killing one.
There would be a physical specimen, but it would be impossible to learn
more about its habits as a living being.  And if it exists at all, it's
probably critically endangered.

I've just been rereading _20,000 Leagues Under the Seas_, translated
by F. P. Walter, which is considerably truer to the original than
the version which I read when I was young.  In the narrator's first
excursion from the _Nautilus_, their party shoots a sea otter.  There's
a description of the quality of the specimen and its probable value,
then "Hunted and trapped by fishermen, this valuable carnivore has
become extremely rare, and it takes refuge chiefly in the northernmost
parts of the Pacific, where in all likelihood its species will soon be
facing extinction."  Nothing about "so it's kind of a pity we shot it".
It seems a bit odd, by a modern viewpoint.

Joel


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