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Evolution Navel-Gazin’

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Awhile back I wrote a an entry talking about evolution and how it was evident simply by looking at how various animals changed through the years and often resembled each other. I was corrected by a commenter who noted that while often animals resemble each other, they are not necessarily related. In other words, before the exchange in my old thread I may have assumed the  ichthyosaurs were the ancestors of our modern dolphins. I don’t think they are, since  ichthyosaurs were reptiles; dolphins are mammals. And then there are all the crocodilian-looking creatures from pre-history. It’s so tempting to think “Oh, early crocodiles.” But, nope, not always.

 

So I learned something new, but it kind of bummed me out. Evolution is a tricky bastard. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this new (for me) reality and it looks as though evolution just has a limited (although still quite large) bag of tricks…which is why you see the same forms/adaptations manifesting in various animals. So, it’s not that dolphins evolved from  ichthyosaurs, it’s just that evolution said “Hey, that fat, spherical shape worked before, why not try it again on this doohickey?” This stuff just fascinates me…

Then there are all the species of mouse lemurs of Madagascar, some of which are only distinguishable by their calls… Evolution, you are a cheeky monkey. A drunk, drunk cheeky monkey.

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