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James Brody
October 30th, 2004, 10:01 PM
Stories happen in evolutionists and the greater the plausibility, the greater their role not only as guides but also as blinders. ("Mismatch" is one such, our "Pleistocene EEA" is another.) Stories can also catalyze a moment of fun when we make a sequence of ideas that had no intimate relationship until we joined them. My proud apologies for what comes next...

I've elsewhere noted the similarities between human beauty preferences and the faces of birds: V-angled brow, lips, and nostrils, big eyes, red, prominent mouth, an attraction to bright facial coloring, and large combs, whether of feathers or hair, that are more noticeable because they tremble and sway with their carrier's movement. We see these effects most clearly in film stars, models, and big-hair bands. And dyed red stripes in our hair probably has the same reproductive effect as a red feather glued to the head of a zebra finch and neither finches nor humans should do well with green decorations on their crown. An inherent problem (only one of many!) is the lack of a common ancestor for those of us with feathers and those with hair. Then, I remembered the fish.

I recently interviewed an extraordinary beauty who had a superfluous long-term reconstruction plan for most of her body but not for her slightly prominent but very straight, level, polished teeth: they helped her not only to be noticed but also easily told the rest of us whether she was happy or pissed off! Nonetheless, her preference seemed a little atavistic.

Her similarity to fish came to me later in a dream: our architects had 3-D navigation and skills for diving or climbing while clumped in squads and wore not only exoskeletons but also scales rather than feathers! As Loren Eiseley remarked, a Devonian fish managed to become a character in a straw hat. Julia Robert's incredible remanufactured lips were anticipated by not only an African tribe with collections of lip-stretchers but also by an ancestral bass and a bauplan for two eyes, small nostrils, and a wide, leading mouth now underwrites color vision and beaks.

There is ancillary stuff about fish that interlocks with Elaine Morgan's case for an "aquatic ape": she suggests that we came out of the water, grew limbs and fur, and were forced back into the waves by flood conditions in NE Africa, near Danikil Island. (Morgan speculated about evolution without first spending two decades on her belly while analyzing the mating boundaries of dung-flies on cow pats! She was ridiculed less for her theory and more because she was a journalist, a story-teller literally [sic!] stoned by a rival mob of story-tellers who often may have been stoned themselves!)

Anyhow, we appear to require omega-3s for normal CNS development and for longer life. Omega-3's occur in some nuts and grains but they also occur in fish. Furthermore, sea water and plasma are very similar and we gestate in more of a broth and less of a yolk. We also move not only in flocks but also in schools and Hamilton's rules for avoiding predators by staying in a clump may have been instantiated a very long time ago when our ancestors lived in salt water but had fins rather than limbs.

The bottom line: coincidence and mass-synchrony regularly occur for strange reasons in those minglers and mutualists called "Democrats" but there may be some deeper meaning in their love for Nemo and for the Shark Tale.

Dare I tell my client that she looks like a salmon?

Copyright, 2004, James Brody, all rights reserved.

James Brody
October 30th, 2004, 10:03 PM
Ears are rarely a fashion highlight, we and our feathered and scaled relatives hide them to the side. Notice, too, that hominid guys and gals with big ears frequently attract ridicule and ear rings may draw attention to the neck and away from ears and that Keats did NOT write an "Ode to a Grecian Ear Canal." We often hide them with hair, possibly to discourage bugs or to hide the fact that we share them with our pet cat. Big ears also are easy signals of asymmetry, not a good thing if the opposite gender seeks partners whose left matches the right.
Floppy ears on a dog are less threatening than ones that stand up and foxes bred for tameness become black-and-white and floppy eared. (The same genes that make the Irish morose and hostile may color them red!) Further, protruding ears might signal phylogenetic immaturity when we're young and phylogenetic regression when we're older, a hint that age eventually cripples physical neoteny: we resemble elder chimpanzees and protruding hair from our ears or their hanging lobes hint that we regress to ancestral phylogenies when we age.

Copyright, all rights reserved, 2004, James Brody