"Just described 'microjewel' snail in extinction danger," announces NewScientist. Every time I see a headline like that and I look a the picture, it really makes me sad. Just admire that beautiful, delicate little beast. Which secrets will this soon-to-be-gone species take away with it?
Because that's the quid here. Even if you're a cold hearted bastard and don't give a damn about other living beings, if you look at this scientifically and exclusively for your own benefit, this can't be good for Humanity's health — or even its economy in the long run!
This animal — and many others that may be gone forever right this second — may contain compounds that could save you or your relatives one day. By destroying them, we're destroying the possibility of finding stuff that may benefit all of us on Earth. And then, when you factor in how it affects the entire trophic chain, well, it's just depressing.
In this case, these micro jewel snails will disappear because the hills in which they live are rich in limestone, which is used to make cement in Malaysia, Sumatra and Thailand. How stupid is that?
Here's a simple data point to think about:
Some estimates have it that between 20 and 75 species die out every day, many vanishing before we knew they were even there.
The one in the photo will be one of them. It belongs to ten new species "from the genus Plectostoma which have been described for the first time" and are about to disappear. Good work, everyone.