February 24, 2011

Kill or protect the Toad?

A short story about closed source killing real open source and commercial open source killing closed source.

If you have every come close to an Oracle datapond in - let's say - the last 15 years or so, then you must have seen the Toad sitting somewhere close to the pond. If you don't recall seeing any of these little animals, the picture provided here shows what they look like. They are extremely attracted to Oracle ponds and the fisherman surrounding it. So really, you must have seen them. And if you haven't seen them you most definitely must have heard them, because they make a specific noise when waking up.

The Toad stams from the family of the  Questus Questionalibus. Now a very interesting fact about this Questus family is that they are known to be a very dominant species who are very protective of their extremely closed ecosphere (sometimes called the orasphere). Many assume that their dominance just stems from the natural 'survival of the fittest' paradigm, but there is a large base of scientists and biologists that believe the Toad dominance in the orasphere is unnatural.

The Toad have an very clever way of protecting their environment. One way they cope with genetic competition is, if a related species shows up, they will first invite it into their family and mate with it. After this first phase of hospitality however they will slowly take over some of the other animal's genes. Also once the animal is invited into the Quest ecosphere and the initial gene exchange has been accomplished, the poor newcomer will be excluded from any sexual activity, thus condemning it to extinction. This happened about 6 or 7 years ago some years ago with an small species call the Tora. Shortly after the Tora was invited into the orasphere somehere during 2004, it's sexual activity dropped to zero.

Interventions from animal protection groups didn't help much. Up to today, the poor Tora species is barely alive. And it's genetic development has come to a near stop while the Toad species has flourished.

Over the last few years however a new evolution has taken place. The owners of the Oracle dataponds have been watching the rapid growth rate of the Quest frog with great attention. Scared by the effects that a too dominant species could have on the pond's ecosphere, they decided to introduce their own species, with the scientific name of Oracle SQLD

This genetically engineered animal has genes which are specifically adapted to the Oracle pond environment, thus making it a competitor that has sufficient gene strenght to survive against the Toad. Additionally the also made de gene structure of their frog so open that it could adapt whatever gene code from the outside in order to allow it rapid evolution. An amazing point of strenght for this little frogger.

Additonally the pond owners clearly supervise the population carefully avoiding any mating between the species as this would not be in the interest of the pond owner. The effects were and are amazing. The Toad population gradually dropped over the last few years, while the SQLD's took over the house, as shown by the graph below.

Clearly this case learns us a few things
  • First of all, sometimes a species needs some support from us humans to actually break a natural dominance of a specific species that tries to close and dominate the ecosphere. I believe everyone agrees that opening up the orasphere is a good thing for natural evolution
  • A second of all is, how far do we want to go with this human intervention. Clearly some diversity in the orasphere was a good thing, but where we seem to be heading now, is to wiping out the Toad species and letting the pond owner decide how the ecosphere should look like. Is that a good way to go?
To end this article, I want to underline that I'm not a biologist. I just have an interest in the Oracle ecosphere as I sometimes go fishing there. I though it would be interesting to write down my observations and see what other people think of this evolution of species. So I'm looking forward to the comments of all the frog lovers out there!