Thursday, February 19, 2009

WARNING: BORING SCIENCE TALK AHEAD

Gray and I sat down last to watch a couple episodes of this new show we just found on the National Geographic channel called Morphed. We totally geeked out from the commercial last week, so I recorded them. I CANNOT DIE UNTIL I SEE HOW THE MODERN DAY TURKEY EVOLVED FROM A RAPTOR, YA'LL. It's really that important.

The first episode was about how millions of years ago, whales and dolphins were small, wolf-like land mammals that lived in Pakistan. Due to environmental pressures (like a heat wave that sounded suspiciously like global warming), they had to find another source of food. They picked fish (personally, I would starve to death if fish was my only option), and began to evolve into the ocean-dwelling, salt water-drinking creatures we know today.

The most important thing I learned from this episode is that everything dies in Pakistan.

I was also a little freaked out that over millions of years, as the whale evolved and populated the oceans of the world, his two main predators remained exactly the same: crocodiles and sharks. Those fuckers have been around for, like, EVER. (And did you know there was once a giant shark that weighted up to 100,000 pounds? I may never sleep again.)

We were about 20 minutes into this episode when Gray paused the show and said, "I don't buy it."

I realize that evolution is a theory not a fact, and that science is constantly changing its mind about shit. But personally, I understand the basics (very, very basics) about how evolution is supposed to work, and it makes sense to me. Truth be told, I'd be shocked if someone proved that monkeys were not involved in my genetic makeup. It just "fits".

But I realize that not everyone believes in the theory of evolution, and so I was interested in hearing what Gray had to say on the matter.

me: "What do you mean by, 'I don't buy it'?"

him: "I get that animals had to adapt their diets based on changing food sources, but I don't believe that animals can just suddenly grow fins to swim faster so they don't get eaten by crocodiles."

(This is the ironic part where I explain natural selection to a man who just ate his weight in burrito and sucked down another can of Dew.)

me: "You know, how people take the dogs with favorable qualities and force them to mate with the other dogs with favorable qualities. And then you take the best ones from that litter and so forth until you have The Optimal Dog. Eventually, only the wolf-whales that swam fast were left, and they mated with other fast swimmers, and then their wolf-whale babies swam a little bit faster..."

It turns out that natural selection is one of those things that make perfect sense until you have to say it out loud. Like the stock market. Or The Bachelor. By the time I stopped talking, I was fucking confused as hell about the whole thing, but apparently Gray was convinced.

him: "Oh, okay. That makes sense."

me: "How fast can you swim?"