Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Short History of Animal Studies

I have been slowly reading Bill Bryson's book A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's a good read.

I read with interest Bryson's explanation for the extinction of various animal species. He talks about things like meteors, climate change, etc. But I have since learned of another way that many species became extinct, and Bryson doesn't even touch on this in his book. Here's the story of how I made this important scientific discovery.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited our friends Mike and Lori. They fed us a delicious dinner, drinks and good conversation. You'd think that would be enough, but not for these two. On top of all that, they went out and bought our son a nice toy.

It's a little Noah's Ark, by Mega Blocks. Nice! Eric loves it.

"But Lloyd, what does this lovely toy have to do with extinction?"

I'm getting to it. Relax.

I bet you thought you knew the story of Noah's Ark, didn't you? Well, you thought wrong! Noah looks all nice and happy and harmless, standing there with all of his animals. But look closer. On the other side of the ark.

What is that, sticking out of the ark?

Hey! That looks like a plank! What is this, a pirate ship?

I've come up with a theory based on this discovery of the plank on Noah's Ark. It seems that old Noah got looking around at his animal friends and decided that there was no room for the two-headed sheep.

Or the siamese giraffe.

He rounded up all of the animals he saw as too freakish to live, and made them walk the plank.

One by one

And then he stood, smiling, watching them drown.

Old Noah doesn't seem like such a great animal rights activist now, does he?

You don't believe me? Have you ever seen a two-headed sheep? Or a siamese giraffe? I rest my case.