Evolution & Killers
Now that I am through episode 6 of Blue Planet II, I am starting to notice several facts about evolution and the killers in the ocean. Here they are in no order of importance.
- First off, there are LOTS of killers in the ocean. Everybody is eating everybody else, provided they’re slightly lower on the food chain, or they just missed the class in skilled hiding. There aren’t many vegetarians in the sea, I noticed. Sure, some low-life organisms eat veggies, like the sea grass-eating sea turtles, or those lefty, kelp-nibbling fish who have to stay close to the coral reefs and shoals because they’ll get eaten 2 seconds after wandering away, since their parents never game them iPhones to stay in contact. But there’s a lot of carnivores down there.
- Fish evolution is not keeping up with today’s modern, fast-paced ocean life. Fish genetics are too slow to evolve to meet the crushing demands of basic survival AND being cast in yet another Sir David Attenborough-narrated documentary, where filming schedules are tight and budgets for krill limited.
- Education is failing today’s schools of fish. Too few learn the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, like online banking, or self-promotion in social media, let alone wood working skills. (A lack of opposable thumbs is not an excuse.)
- Many sea creatures actually use tools (not power tools, though – power cord isn’t long enough) to chase, hide, distract their prey or mate. Turns out that when we thought only humans, chimps and otters used tools to make their lives easier and justify the cost of a trip to the hardware store to buy a tool chest, we were incorrect. Ugly fish do it too.
- Sharks are the equivalent dumb male jocks who drive Jeeps. Totally possessive of their catch and they don’t share well. They have sycophantic, smaller fish attached to their skin. They scare off every other fish and are constantly looking for fight with lesser fish. Just like all sports jocks.
- Octopuses are exceptionally ugly and super intelligent. And significantly smarter than I be. Two, in fact, outscored me on standardized tests, and both are going to ivy league schools this fall if they can get funding. One octopus beat me at Scrabble AND Blackjack in the same day. Twice. There’s goes my lunch money.
- All ocean-dwelling creatures are so incredibly ugly that’s it’s clear there isn’t a mirror down there. Or a beauty salon or hair salon or even a barber. Clearly there is a business opportunity not being seized upon – plastic surgery for sea creatures! if there was plastic surgery for fish I’d think we’d kill fewer of them because they’d look more like characters from a Disney animated film and we’d grow emotionally attached instead of dumping trash in their waters and pouring pollutants like it was a giant toilet.
What lessons can we take away from this fact-rich list of aquatic knowledge? Stay above water if you can, stop polluting the oceans because it makes filming documentary films harder, and if you do eat fish, know that you, Mr. and Mrs. Human are at the top of the food chain, until the aliens land of course.
Fishing for meaning,
Jean-Jacques Cousteau Druker