Posts Tagged ‘brains’

Abiogenesis: Spontaneous Generation of Life

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Back in the salad days of youth we laughed in giddy hubris to learn that supposedly brilliant Aristotle had been so foolish to espouse the theory of abiogenesis, the spontaneous generation of life.  How much more intellgent we were to know that life could not spontaneously generate from inanimate matter.  How could those famous Greek philosophers be so silly?  It fully demonstrated to our proud satisfaction the false premise that human brains had evolve so completely in a mere two thousand years that we high schoolers could out-think the great philosphers of the Golden Age.

Imagine Aristotle Strolling by Just as This Hatchling Emerges from the Sand

Surprising how much our intelligence regresses in maturity.  The brilliance of youth gets tempered by wisdom and experience.  And while we still know that abiogenesis is a failed theory, it’s a heckuva lot easier to understand how the great minds of the ancient world could be fooled by physical observation.  If one never happened to spot the female turtle dig and bury her eggs into the ground, and one strolled by just as a perfectly formed hatchling turtle emerged from the sand, one could be forgiven for thinking that you had just witnessed the spontaneous generation of life:  a turtle springs forth from the sand.

If Aristotle Saw Two Turtles Emerging Would That Change His Mind?

Events such as these are exceedingly rare to witness.  But over the last decade, I’ve been privileged to observe “spontaneous” emergence from the sand a handful of times.  Each occurence reminds me of philosophy class and how nearly two and a half millennia ago our Greek intellectual ancestors had conceived a perfectly logical explanation for this seemingly magical and mysterious event.  Instead, today we demonstrate our intellectual superiority by telling the tale of the turtle and the egg.  You know, which one came first, the turtle or the egg?

Wisdom of the Ancient Hatchling

Sunday, September 14th, 2008
Eastern box turtle hatchlings combine the tenderness, vulnerability and “cuteness” of a tiny new born with the stoic appearance of ancient wisdom. Whether a reflection of the stored knowledge of hundreds of millions of years of fine-tuned DNA evolution or simply a “Fun House” mirror trick inside the brains of our less seasoned DNA, these little critters certainly take on the appearance of all-knowingness.
Eastern Box Turtle Hatchling
“Speak to me, oh Sage of the Ages.  Tell me the mysteries of life.”  Via trans-species telepathy we hear, “Sleep through the winter; sleep through the cold.  Sleep through the storms and never be bold.  Sleep when it’s chilly; sleep when it’s hot.  Sleep when it’s cloudy and eat when it’s not.”

Eastern Box Turtle Hatchlings in Motion

These characters were uncovered in a surprise nest at the edge of the Fox Island Marsh Conservation Area and released back into the wild on Friday.  See the full details of their discovery and release in the posting below.