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jeudi 27 février 2014

The wonderous evolution of the mysterious Box-Fish

Part 1 : Meeting the beast

Some time ago, I was visiting the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam with a friend. I always liked Zoos. Some people might say that it is cruel to imprison all those animals in tiny cages. And they might be right. But for me, Zoos have always been something that keeps my interest for nature alive, and encourages me to take action to help keep all those majestic felines and those twisted insects around.
So there I was, walking through this bizarre ecosystem, when it started to rain. Luckily, we were arriving at the aquariums, which were hosted inside.  In we went, and we were fascinated by the strange skeletons on display, and the dark corridors full of shiny glass walls. Suckerfish were glued to the windows, as if in a hopeless bid for freedom. Piranhas swam around in their tanks, bored by the lack of hands to devour. The spectacle might have been morose, if not for the pretty colors. At one point, we arrived at the home of the Box-Fish.
As it's name indicates, the Box-Fish is square. It has yellow skin, and tiny flippers that it moves up and down frantically. Contrary to the agile movements of the elegant sunfish that shared it's cage, the Box-Fish stumbled through the water like a drunk bumblebee, barely staying above the sandy ground. It seemed ill-equipped to face the rough tempers of the sea.
It's fumbling movements made it appear slow and dim-witted, easy prey for hungry predators. Why, then, did it exist ? The biologist in me decided to find out. As I left the Zoo, I could not stop wondering : What kind of twisted evolutionary tale could produce a being that seemed so pathetically ill-adapted to its environment ?

"The wonderous evolution of the mysterious Box-Fish" will be continued every thursday until the story is done (it might not take very long).

This will not affect the regular updates on tuesday.

Other stuff might pop up here and there

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