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Male Bass in Potomac Producing Eggs 52

Shakrai writes "The Washington Post is carrying a story about how male bass in the Potomac river are actually producing eggs. The source of this interesting phenomena is currently unknown. Scientists are speculating that it may have something to do with chicken estrogen left over in manure or perhaps even human hormones dumped in the river from sewage treatment plants. Scientists aren't sure if the affected fish are still able to reproduce and the long-term repercussions of this find are unknown."
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Male Bass in Potomac Producing Eggs

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  • by hal9000 ( 80652 ) on Friday October 15, 2004 @01:58PM (#10537575) Homepage
    I just think the scientists are going on the set of facts available:

    o Male fish producing eggs.
    o Only observed in Potomac.
    o Potomac is polluted as all get out.

    They're going on what they know. It's not like their being dishonest by concluding that pollution is the culprit without enough evidence. They've come right out and said, we don't know, but this is our best guess.
  • by yabbo ( 769491 ) on Friday October 15, 2004 @02:28PM (#10537925)

    Why is it "bad science" to speculate that this bizarre phenomenon is our fault? While I do gather from the article that they only suspect that these male fish producing eggs is a result of pollution, can any good ever come of polluting the environment with poultry manure or "processed sewage" ?

    Even the people looking into this case seem to be jumping to the conclusion that it is a pollutant, but in the same sentance they say that they don't really know what's causing it.

    I don't know exactly which sentence you read, but I believe the statement (from the article):

    "But they say the exact culprit is still unknown:..." means that they don't know which pollutant is causing the malfunction; not whether or a pollutant was involved at all.

    Obviously there is a real possibility that this is a biological "miracle", and that it's completely natural behaviour. But read the article carefully and you'll discover that the only reason this behaviour was caught was that they were examining fish who had died "en masse" with lesions on their bodies. I'm no biologist, but that doesn't seem like natural behaviour.

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