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Thanks to the know-it-all from second grade, we're all aware that dolphins and whales are mammals, not fish. But it's probably been a while since you've pondered just how incredibly, mind-blowingly weird it is that you and whales were the same animal more recently than whales and sharks. Or to put it in chart form, you and whales split up somewhere in the big tangle of bio diversity up top labeled "Age of Mammals" while whales and fish haven't been the same animals since way the hell down here where you see the word Selacchi. So how is it that our evolutionary cousins ended up with flippers and fins exactly where fish have them and we ended up needing swimming lessons?
Turns out it's the same reason birds and bats both ended up flying around on wings: convergent evolution, the smarmy term for when completely unrelated species develop similar traits. It happens because, related or not, evolution is going to favor the folks with the best equipment. Here are some critters that prove sometimes evolution is just trying to screw with your head
Turns out it's the same reason birds and bats both ended up flying around on wings: convergent evolution, the smarmy term for when completely unrelated species develop similar traits. It happens because, related or not, evolution is going to favor the folks with the best equipment. Here are some critters that prove sometimes evolution is just trying to screw with your head.
One day, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Coon and Brer Bear and a lot of other animals decided to work together to plant a garden full of corn for roasting. They started early in the morning and raked and dug and raked some more, breaking up the hard ground so it would be ready for planting. It was a hot day, and Brer Rabbit got tired mighty quick. But he kept toting off the brush and clearing away the debris 'cause he didn't want no one to call him lazy.
Alex alligator arrived at Allison Arthur's apple farm in April, when the apple trees were covered with blossoms.
"Whatever am I to do with an alligator?" Allison asked.
Inside the box, Alex yawned. Alex stuck his legs through the holes at the bottom of the box and ambled into the house in search of dinner.
"Oh no you don't!" cried Allison. "You cannot live in the house. You are to stay in the stream behind the apple orchard."
Allison put Alex in the small stream. Then Allison put a strong fence around the stream so Alex did not try to eat Mrs. Chory's chickens.
Alex liked the stream and his pen. He especially liked the steaks Allison gave him every morning and evening.
One day in August a red apple fell off a tree and rolled under the fence and into Alex's pen. Alex sniffed it a bit and then took a bite.
It was the most delicious thing Alex had ever eaten. Alex slipped under the fence and ambled into the apple orchard. Alex found a line of baskets sitting under a tree. Alex ate all the apples in the baskets. Then he wandered under another tree and ate all the apples in the baskets he found there. He was very happy. And very full. He went back into his cage.
Allison came by later with his steak. Alex sniffed at it, but he was not very hungry.
"Do you know what someone did Alex?" asked Allison. Alex yawned. "Someone stole all my apples. They knocked over the baskets and stole the apples. If it happens again, I'm calling the police."
That night, Alex had a very pleasant dream about apples. After his steak the next morning, Alex slipped under the fence and out into the orchard. There were a bunch of people climbing up and down ladders with baskets. Alex watched for a few moments. Then he realized that when the people came down the ladders, their baskets were full of apples.