When evolution goes wrong. . .

Here’s a cartoon sent by reader Thomas; it’s from “Wrong Hands“, drawn by John Atkinson:

I don’t mind the birds evolving from dinosaurs, or the evolutionary stasis of the platypus (if indeed there was any stasis, for the earliest monotremes, which did exist about 110 million years ago, looked nothing like a platypus). But oy, those Crocs!


  1. Mark R.
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    It looks like something evolved on the platypus…parentheses around the eyes.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 30, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      And a slightly smaller mouth.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 30, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Oh yeah…it’s not smiling anymore!

        • Posted July 31, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          A smile is quite a funny thing:
          It wrinkles up your face
          And when it’s gone,
          You’ll never find its secret hiding-place.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      @Mark R

      All three evolutionary exhibits are drawn as having evolved brackets around the eyes. Convergent evolution – or something šŸ™‚

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Ha! I didn’t notice that.

      • Posted July 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Technically they are parentheses…

        But actually, I think they are meant to convey an expression of disappointment.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    “I love your crocs!” – nobody

  3. BJ
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Dinosaurs to birds is incredibly disappointing. I mean, we could watch the majestic destruction caused by a T-Rex running by our shaking windows, and instead we have to settle for a pigeon shitting on our car. It’s not disappointing in terms of threat to human life, but it’s certainly disappointing when it comes to spectacle.

    • Posted July 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      It would have made Trump’s inauguration speech so much more interesting to watch.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      Oh, no. The diversity, adaptations, number of species, hell, flight, makes birds an order or two of magnitude more fascinating than dinos.


      • BJ
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        But, but, but…pterodactyls! Come on, man! Pterodactyls are like “oh fuck!” Pigeons are like “aw, shit.” And then you kick a rock because it shit on you and it’s such a disappointing little fart of a bird.

        OK, maybe this is all just because I’ve been shit on by a pigeon twice in my life, but I really don’t think it is.

        • Diane G.
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 1:51 am | Permalink

          Pterodactyls are not dinosaurs. šŸ˜‰

          Plus, I’d rather be shat upon by a pigeon than a pterosaur any day…

          Well, actually, an honest-to-gawd pterosaur would be pretty cool…

  4. Phil Rounds
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Is this Egyptian art, or did these evolve from a Flounder?

  5. Posted July 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad there’s a platypus in the crew. They’re the first life form I thought of in this context before seeing the cartoon. They have a most interesting mixture of features, with or without parentheses.

  6. gouparchery
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    nice post

  7. Pasquale
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    If anyone could explain to me how in only 65 million years a dinosaur becomes a chicken, yet in 110 million years a platypus remains a platypus, with each lineage undergoing exactly the same processes (you know, evolution) that would be swell.

    And if you could do it using simple language, all the better.

    • fizziks
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Here’s my try:

      The Platypus’ environmental niche, which is swimming around in shallow water and eating random worms, grubs, and small aquatic creatures, hasn’t put a lot of pressure on it to change. There are always lots of shallow rivers and lakes filled with small bugs. If a platypus was born with a mutation that caused it to have some different characteristic, there is no reason that characteristic would give it an advantage over other platypuses, and would probably give it a disadvantage, so that mutated platypus would probably die without offspring and the change would not be passed on.

      On the other hand, giant carnivorous dinosaurs like the T-rex had a precarious position, needing to have lots of huge prey animals around and fight and eat them constantly. There was fierce competition for prey, the prey was huge and could fight back (triceratops!), and one missed meal could mean starvation for a big carnivore. At times there would be big advantages to mutations such as being smaller so as not to need so much food, or having feathers for increased warmth, or basically anything that would mix it up. Some of these changes would give a survival advantage and be passed on to more offspring than the standard T-rex model. If there was a traumatic event that sharply reduced the food supply, such as a meteor impact, creatures too close to the standard T-rex model would probably starve and die out.

  8. jimroberts
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    First, the artist isn’t giving a lesson in evolutionary zoology, he’s making a joke.
    Line 1: both animals illustrated are dinosaurs, and it is possible to choose a 65 million year old dinosaur and a modern dinosaur that look very different.
    Line 2: both animals illustrated are mammals, and it is possible to choose a 110 million year old mammal and a modern mammal that look very similar. Were he making a different joke, he could have continued by analogy with Line 1, showing for example an ancient platypus and a modern human, both mammals, but they look very different.

    • jimroberts
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      This should have come up as a reply to #7. I seem to have made a mistake.

  9. nicky
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    But, but, if evolution were true, how come there still are crocs? Checkmate!

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