Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Straight Poop

Proof positive of Evolution is on display everywhere along the Elbe River banks in Northern Europe. Everywhere one looks in the warmer seasons of the year, hundreds of dung-like slugs are doing their best imitation of turds. Why are there so many that people cannot avoid stepping on them? Because they look so unappealing to predators! Why do they look like crap? To the rational observer it is plain to see: wonderful evolution!
Here is the way science describes the process these lowly slugs undertook, going from bright juicy and colorful slugs preyed on by every animal that saw them to today’s perfect shape and hue—mirroring ordure:

The slugs began by realizing that it was their bright and appealing color that was causing them to be picked off so easily. So they began an intense reproduction campaign, concentrating on closely related matches combined with plenty of contact with the then highly polluted Elbe waters to increase mutation incidence.

Not just any mutation would do though; the slugs knew that the most effective look would either be something resembling excrement or some chameleon-like ability to change their color to blend into the surroundings. Little by little the right shade of brown was achieved.

The question as yet unanswered is how they managed to survive as a species long enough to reach current results without being completely consumed. Sources close to the slugs do report that the R&D slugs are still hard at work going for the camouflage look, as most slugs are less than happy being mistaken for feces all the time. The process has been complicated recently due to the fact that the Elbe has become much less contaminated since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

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