Department of the Interior Internal Report (Committee Level)
Date: Feb. 16, 2009
Subject: Determination of Endangered/Threatened Status
Species: The American Scientist (Homo Scientius Americanus)
Recommendation: Upgrade from Endangered to Threatened
Background/History: For the past eight years, the noble American Scientist has teetered on the brink of total extinction. Over-hunted by religious groups and faced with continued encroachment upon their natural habitat from local school boards, American Scientists retreated to a last few protected ecosystems at a handful of research universities. Although it was long thought that large endowments and the tenure system would preserve these habitats indefinitely, the introduction of non-native and invasive Scientist species from India and China has increased competition for dwindling resources, and the native population has been slow to adjust.
Research Results: Much of the problem can be attributed to physiology. Birth rates are low. The American Scientist is notoriously slow to develop sexually—many individuals reach the age of 30 before they mate for the first time. Competition for mates is fierce; there are an average of five males for each American Scientist female. Because of their delayed development, many males never master the intricate preening and inter-gender communication skills required for the mating process, depending instead upon herd gatherings at watering holes during ComicCon, when the combined effects of alcohol and elaborate superhero costumes slightly increase their chances of success. The resultant awkward fumblings often lead to sexual humiliation or to fruitless interbreeding with non-Scientist species like The White-Bellied Geek or The Common Nerd, making the American Scientist less likely to try to breed again soon.
Recent Developments/Recommendations: Although the last eight years have been hard on the American Scientist population, the remaining stock is hardier for the experience. New protections enacted by the incoming administration are expected to boost the numbers of, and the respect for, these intelligent, odd-looking creatures; already a few bolder individuals have been spotted venturing outside of their labs. Intensive reproductive assistance and education of the kind that has worked well with pandas in captivity—including demonstrations with hand puppets and porno videos—has shown some potential to raise mating success rates. Although the survival of the species is by no means assured—it is feared, for example, that Kansas is down to a single mating pair of Evolutionary Biologists—the consensus on their recovery is cautiously optimistic.