Saturday, August 14, 2010

I was thinking...

We Australians have a joke especially for when tourists ask why we’re not afraid to swim in the water with the giant sharks that live here.
“I don’t have to be able to swim faster than a shark.
I only have to be able to swim faster than you!"

Recently while reviewing Charles Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands something occurred to me….
As you know the Galapagos Islands have a huge array of very strange animals and it seems obvious that they have evolved from the standard versions of the creatures which have long ago become extinct.
The extinction itself is a given…some natural event caused a great lack of food, most of the animals died out, probably quite quickly. Some survived… the oddballs which had evolved very different ways of getting food. These creatures had that edge when food became very scarce. Whether the original extinction was caused by a fires from lightning strike or perhaps a year without rain matters not at all…what’s important was the fact that it shows evolution and natural selection can be fast and furious.

The breeding up may have taken many thousands of years, these strange animals pretty much already existed by this time and were thriving with many other similarly bizarre creatures. It was a time of plenty and they all did well until that one event… like a flick of a switch the evolutionary choices were made. The day before the catastrophe there would have been a great many animals of all variations, in natures wonderful way.

It suddenly occurred to me, that is right where the human race is right now!

We humans are all kinds of mixed genes in nature’s wonderful way.
We have bred up in a time of plenty. (The last ten thousand years since the end of the last ice age)
We are now well over populated.
The seas are nearly empty of fish for us to eat.
The forests and other natural reserves are now at their most depleted EVER.
Wild animals (for food) are at historically low numbers.
Even fresh water is getting hard to find.
…and nature is handing out population stresses each and every week. Not to mention what we are doing to ourselves with war, pollution and poor health choices.

I thought that environmental change was slow and that evolution was slow as well.
Now it occurs to me that creatures breed up in an uncontrolled manner to uncontrolled numbers when times are good…and that evolution itself is fast, furious and unforeseeable.
Natural selection suggests that when there is a catastrophe on Earth, those who find themselves already naturally selected to suit the new environment will be the ones to survive.

Am I right? Wrong? Or what do you think?



Kal said...

I totally agree with you. We are fucked. The robot wars will dwindle our numbers so that the resources will last a bit longer. Then I will suggest that maybe we could eat all the octopus (though I admit I have a selfish motive for driving them to extinction). Actually I feel pretty good about the whole situation now. Way to fear monger buddy. Just because you live in Australia you can be cocky about the zombies getting to you guys last. Unless the zombie apocalypse STARTS in Australia. Naw, my sister lives in Cairns so I guess it would be wrong to wish harm on her. Damn this stuff is alot of work isn't it?

Tempo said...

Yes Kal, It's very hard on the brain..all this 'thinking' stuff... (I try hard NOT to) Im thinking the zombie haulocaust might well start here in OZ, we have very little water and it's already becoming scarce and polluted. We'll me manning the boats ourselves soon enough. (the women have their own boats) I'm thinking we'll become southern vikings, sailing north on a diet of octopus and Aussie beer... coming to a beach near you!
Glad to see you taking it as seriously as I am Kal..

Kal said...

Hey, I don't joke about two things. I don't joke about what is 'cute' and I don't joke when it comes to the menace that the cephlapods are. See, I can work with someone like you who understands pillaging and how it can be a 'fun' thing for those we pillage upon. People have the wrong idea that it's all just rape and kill and steal and rape. Doesn't have to be that way. We can just steal and kill. Rape is for those vikings that don't have the social skills to treat a girl nice...ask her out to dinner...tell her she looks pretty.

Adorabibble said...

I sadly agree. one of the reasons I am childless.
took steps early.
as for it all, I will be dead (hopefully) before it gets too much worse.

Tempo said...

Hey Kal, You have to have standards my friend...Aussie viking will have standards. Kinda like Robin Hood, take from the rich..and keep it!

Hi Shan, It's all very depressing when you think about it eh?! The thing about unforeseen happenings is that they tend to be at least a little unforeseen. As a race we seem preoccupied with flaming commets and aliens etc, when it's more likely to be an insect or viral plauge that gets us in the end.
Like most of your many good friends I hope you have a very long and very happy life ahead of you.