Naturally Selected

While my wife was having her car valeted, we waited in a small cabin provided for customers. Next to the seats was a cage, seeds spilled all over the cabin floor by the birds that were inside it, scattered in an haphazard arc.

I’m not really a fan of birds being kept in cages, these creatures that have evolved to traverse the sky. But it did give me an opportunity to have a close look at them as they sang away, syrinx working overtime. Whenever my wife approached the cage, though, they stopped singing. She obviously looks more predatory than I.

I started to think about their ancestors, the dinosaurs, and how these birds looked like miniature versions of their magnificent prototypes. They once ruled the earth, and now here they were, caged.

They don’t know where they’ve come from, I thought.

We do. And that’s how far we have come.

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A Child’s Perspective

Yesterday I read an article about an amateur fossil hunter who had discovered a 133 million year-old ‘pickled’ dinosaur brain. The man who found it, Jamie Hiscock, has a knack for this kind of thing: he and his brother five years ago also discovered the world’s oldest spider web, encased in amber. 

I showed the photograph of their most recent find to my daughter, Millie. It shows the brain next to a coin, included for scale.


“Look at this, Millie. Someone has found a 133 million year-old dinosaur brain.”

She looked. “Wow-they’ve found two pence as well!”

The World According To James (Aged Four)

My little lad is off school today. He had been ill in the night, but is now feeling better. He played with his dinosaurs, and I watched a programme about what happened before the Big Bang.

Between the two, I discovered the following:

The universe was not created by the Big Bang, there was something before it. Dinosaurs were made extinct by volcanoes. If they hadn’t become extinct, we would not be here as we would still be in our mothers’ bellies. The eyeballs of dead fish are in heaven.

An informative morning. Not even reached lunchtime yet. I’ll let you know when we’ve come up with an alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to involve apple trees.