Field of Science

Currently in transition

This article in the Examiner is a beautiful piece about transitional forms in evolution. Jonathan Montgomery edited a very long tract from TalkOrigins: 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, and has made it an quick and enjoyable read.

He gives an example of a species currently in transition: the penguins. We know they used to be able to fly, but they are now clearly better adapted for life in the sea.

Whenever I see sea otters in zoos or aquariums I can't help seeing organisms representing a species in transition. Most clearly in my mind is the image of this one otter I saw in New York Aquarium. When moving on solid ground, it just dragged its hind legs over the wet rocks. It was just as efficient, or more, as using them for walking. And in water, it used those hind legs together with its powerful tail for very adroit maneuvers. Give it a while and those otters could end up looking more like seals or sea lions, or something else as well adapted to the niche of the sea.

Click image for source and more otters.

But, as Jonathan Montgomery writes, in fact all species are in transition. Humans too.
The fact is, all living things are transitional. We just don't know what they'll be in the future. All modern animals are only another snapshot. It's just that we happen to be around right now, and we think that because we're here to see it, we must somehow be special.

We're only another link in the chain of life, but what an epic journey that is. This is a strange and wonderful world, and it's astounding to consider that we're a product of it. Embracing our heritage does not rob us of anything. It gives us knowledge, insight, and the power to take control of our future.
How true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS