Thursday, April 26, 2007

Notes from an evolutionist

Every year, my alma matter has a campus-wide event where all the departments showcase themselves and all the research museums are open to the public. This occurred last Saturday.

My supervisor and I work closely with the vertebrate zoology museum for the bat side of our research and as a gesture of goodwill, we put together a "bats of California" exhibit for the event. So I spent Saturday morning manning the bat station, answering people's questions. And of course children say the dumbest darnedest things.

A trio of boys asked one of those pesky "why" question (why do bats have big ears? Why to bats fly? Why do they have weird noses?) that prompted me to explain that bats had evolved that way over many thousands of years.

"Evolve?" one the towheaded little hellspawn asked.

"Yeah, like Pokemon!" said one of his friends, who then looked at me for confirmation.

"Yeah, sure a little bit like Pokemon I guess." I shrugged, having only the faintest idea how Pokemon evolve. "Eh, close enough," I thought, "at least they recognize the word."

So future biology professors? If in roughly ten years you have any biology students who have some notion of evolution as a bizarre mishmash of point-based Lemarkian leveling up?

Um, my bad.


edluv said...

when i first read it, i thought you said like pokemon. then i reread and saw it was the kid. dang, i really want to know how pokemon evolves.

Adam said...

You fight them in battles and they earn experience points. When they reach certain levels, they "evolve" to a more powerful version of the lower level, sometimes with wings or just bigger or another power or whatever. I have the game for my Game Boy. I can lone it to you.