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Cambrian Explosion

The fossils of the Cambrian era reveal the basic body plans of just about any organism in existence today. They also reveal a great deal of the body types that did not survive. Some of the alien looking creatures in the Burgess Shale either never survived a mass extinction or else have simply mutated into something a little more recognizable.

A far as questions go, mine mainly follow the pattern of lost possibilities and how certain adaptations helped some survive while others were too well adapted to their environment to cope with the changes that caused mass extinctions.


When I think of Tarzan, I think of the Disney film. I see a conflicted creature that doesn’t fully belong anywhere; a lonely existence that is only changed by the addition of other misfits.

In response to the situation, let’s face it; the guy has a muffled hammer. I’m not daft. If he’s willing to beat his dogs to the point of death, bloodying a human isn’t too far removed.

The right thing to do would probably be to whip out your handy dandy blaster and vaporize that menace to society. That is, if you could cope with the responsibility and possible ramifications. Barring that, I would boot scoot out of there. Once I had put some distance between myself and the guy, I’d call the ASPCA or its equivalent, and probably the regular police for good measure. Who knows, maybe the guy has past interfering students buried under his house or something. It’s better to blow whistles than ring funeral bells.

My personal philosophies do not run radically one way or the other. Rather, I see myself as one who is not yet sure of an opinion. One wearied by the many clamoring voices raised above their fellows in the din.

In my opinion, both sides have their pros and cons. The anthropocentric view supposedly takes a stand for humanities rights,  but seems to teach irresponsibility as well. By contrast, the bio centric stance would save the world by sacrificing human life and well being. Any middle ground is generally an excuse to sit back and do nothing.

Basically, I believe that each extreme can help to balance the other; that human mismanagement has left us in a precarious position but it is also immoral to play Ebeneezer Scrooge. Trying to “reduce the surplus population,” to hoard the planet for the “haves” at the expense of the “have nots” is not the answer either. Rather, a gradual shift towards equilibrium is necessary, a conscientious action rather than a forced lawful one.

If we’ve learned anything from past experience, humans acquire a set of morals only when it suits them.

I realize this is a bleak outlook, but I think it’s logical.

Watching Frans Lanting’s “Life Through Time” I was impressed by his ability to use surviving species from throughout Earth’s history and pair them with the right lighting and scenery to maximize the effect. While an audience can never be completely certain of the presenter’s intent, I would hazard to say that Lanting’s was to encourage preserving the balance that allows life on Earth to support itself in its diversity. This message is exceedingly important to a consumer society bent on demanding more than can be sustainably supplied.

Internal and External Nature

Some would consider the coyote a nuisance. Others would call it a menace. I must beg to disagree. When you look at its range, inhabiting the majority of North America, its ability not only to survive, but to thrive alongside humans, and its sheer adaptability to just about whatever situation is thrown its way, the coyote is a huge success.

From its humble beginnings in the southwest and plains, the American jackal has taken full advantage of man’s environmental alterations and expanded its range to cover the greater part of the continent. Much of what was once strictly wolf territory now belongs either to hybrids or coyotes solely. It’s no wonder their conservation status is least concern, in spite of heavy trapping and even poisoning, the prairie wolf manages to keep its numbers up. Not being a very picky eater helps too.

In much the same way people are finding that the coyote is not a completely solitary creature, I also pick and chose my associations. The coyote sometimes forms a symbiotic relationship with the badger. While one covers the escape routes, the other digs out the pray cowering in a burrow. They then split the prize. In much the same way, I’ll not always stick with the same “species” in order to attain better results in the long run. A variety of groups allows me the opportunity to float between and see the big picture rather than one specific perspective.

Nicknamed “Canis Soupus” coyotes are considered a genetic soup of canine species. As a veritable mutt myself, I can relate to that. I may not have the large ears characteristic of these canines, but they are put to use more frequently than most humans.

Coyotes are also known as persistent hunters. While they will pursue prey for over two miles before giving up, I’ve helped drag a deer roughly that far. And even after a few years of unsuccessful hunting, the call of the woods remains strong.  (We also both like squirrel. Yum.)

While the coyote makes a frequent appearance in the lore of different cultures, I like to dig through that history and tradition. Farmers of today may not appreciate the buffet their livestock serves for out west, but when it comes to a success story, the coyote is the one to look to. This makes me a little less wary of the future. After all, if they can not only survive, but thrive, then why not I?

Hello world!

This is the blog I’ll be using to keep up with journal assignments  for zoology class.  As such, the posts will be somewhat researched, and somewhat pulled out of the air, but always my own.

Happy skimming,