There are two schools of thought on the subject of the origin of species… Well, I suppose it is one school of faith and one school of thought. I am speaking, of course, of intelligent design versus evolution. Now, I’m not going to open up this can of worms for discussion on BrainLazy. Far more able minds are bashing their heads together about that one. No, I’m here to propose a far more realistic stance. They are BOTH wrong. Some creatures defy science AND religion.
First, we’ll look at evolution. The theory – and that is scientific theory, not the regular type – is that an animal will have a small mutation. That mutation will give it a greater chance to survive and reproduce than the standard, un-mutated animals. Scientists call these un-mutated animals “suckers.” … Well, some of them probably do. At any rate, it is important to realize that these mutations aren’t the awesome “turn into a ninja turtle” or “gain super senses, retractable claws, and a massive healing factor” style mutations. We are talking a slightly darker fur color, or a tail a fraction of an inch shorter. So one would imagine, then, that it would have to be a fairly decent change. Something that would help it hide, or escape, or at least something to make our mutant friend more of a hit with the ladies. Explain, then, the skunk. You are going to tell me that somewhere there was a little black and white badger creature who, thanks to an extra twist in its DNA, had a slightly stinkier patch just south of its tail. This little change made this creature utterly unkillable, allowing it to pass on its stinky genes to the next generation, and the stinkiest offspring went on to have a stinkier one. And so on and so on until we had the stench spraying critter we know and love. Yeah, science. I buy that.
And what about the giraffe? Here’s a funny looking horse, in fierce competition with other funny looking horses. Luckily, this guy has a neck an eighth of an inch longer. This, naturally, let him reach those precious eighth of an inch higher leaves. And so he lived to have a gaggle of freakish, fractionally longer necked horses of his very own. Sure he did. Is a handful of leaves going to make THAT much of a difference? I don’t thinks so. That means that the neck made the ladies absolutely love him. I’m not so sure of that either. Now, that eleven inch tongue on the other hand… But enough about science. Sexy, sexy, science.
The other possibility is that wise and benevolent maker designed these beasts. This makes even less sense. If you said to your son, “Billy, draw me a picture of an animal that you think would survive in Africa” and they drew you a long necked horse, I don’t think “intelligent” is the first word that would come to mind. Likewise, if you said, “What would you say a woodland creature should have to help him survive in the forest?” and little Billy said, “He should be black, with white stripes, and he should spray stink out of his butt at anything that gets too close.” “Are you sure it should be black and white, Billy? There’s nothing else in the forest that’s black with white stripes. It would be easy to spot-” “I WANT A BLACK AND WHITE STINKY KITTY!” I’ll give you that these creatures are the result of outside the box thinking, but intelligence? Well, let’s put it this way. Do you know what is a friendly side effect of the giraffe’s genius design? The baby giraffe starts life by falling six feet to the ground. This, I would say, isn’t the most intelligent design decision.
So if evolution is not to blame, and we can hardly attribute it to intelligence, then what precisely explains the exitance of these bizarre creatures. Well, there are numerous possible explanations. Unintelligent design leaps to mind. Most of the creatures of the world seem to have been fairly well crafted, whether by iterative adaptation or divine will. The oddballs, I submit, were busy work assigned to the… less gifted powers that be. There is also a fairly good amount of evidence to suggest that some animals were designed by committee. The duckbilled platypus, for example, seems to be the result of a number of compromises to satisfy people who had been previously been parts of the beaver and duck design committees. I’m still not sure why the stupid think has poisonous barbs. That’s why you don’t put a creature’s design up for a vote.
You readers out there are more than welcome to offer your own explanations for nature’s more inexplicable creations. All I know is that I don’t buy the current theories. Consider this an open forum for intelligent/evolutionary design alternatives. Just keep it friendly.