Imperfect evolution… Life without life…

Photo by Hamid Tajik from Pexels

The pinnacle of beauty to most people is a symmetrical face, one without any major left-right differences. But for blind Mexican cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus), asymmetry may be a lifesaver. That’s because their lopsided skulls may help them feel their way along dark cave walls – similar to a person navigating by touch in the dark. That behavior, presented here this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, suggests being a little “off” can have evolutionary benefits.

Lots of cave dwellers are a bit unbalanced. Cave fish tend to have one eye that is larger than the other, for example, and cave crickets have different size antennae. Some researchers wondered whether left-right differences might help these creatures get around.

They scanned the skulls of A. mexicanus fish from three caves in Mexico. Their computerized tomography scans revealed most fish skulls bent slightly to the left, giving the right side of their faces slightly more exposure. Other tests showed these fish tended to drift along the right-hand side of cave walls, presumably using the larger side of their faces to feel their way in the dark. (1)

We have learned that evolution makes things more suitable for survival. And we tend to connect this with perfection. Perfection of mechanisms, perfection of structure, perfection of function. It is this perfection which causes life.

But could it be that we are misled?

Blinded by the light, could it be that we are heading towards the dark?

We like to see order as the foundation of existence. Enchanted by it, we fail to notice that this gift always leads to death.

We like to see perfection as the foundation of life. Mesmerized by it, we fail to see that it is imperfection which leads to life.

It is only the imperfect beings which will live longer.

Do not envy them.

Take a good look.

They are crying in the darkness…

Feel the dark walls of existence around you.

They cry out silently…

Life is not about living!

Forest shapes… Platonic triangles… Forests dying…

Tropical forests have been called the lungs of the planet. And these hot ecosystems are being deeply altered by logging and other land use change.

Using high-resolution satellite data from protected forests in the savanna region of the Brazilian Cerrado, scientists found that the shape of these natural forests follow a predictable mathematical relationship between a forest’s perimeter and its area – regardless of its climate region or its size. They call this a “3/4 power law” and it roughly means the forests all tend toward shapes that are neither skinny like a line, nor round and smooth like a circle. “If a forest could grow easily in all directions, we’d expect a circle”, says Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, a computer scientist at the University of Vermont who is the lead author on the new study, “but what we actually see is more dendritic, a bit like an octopus or deformed circle”. The 3/4 law holds true for tiny forest fragments not much bigger than a basketball court up to large forest patches covering dozens of square miles.

Fires, that burn easily in the grasslands surrounding forests – and singe the forests’ wet edges – are in constant battle with the forests’ expansive growth out into grasslands. This interplay at the edge between grass and forest, the scientists discovered, creates forest patches that converge on a steady-state shape.

An experiment the scientists ran on their model shows that the fate of forest patches over time – whether they expand or contract – is determined by their initial shape. Those with compact shapes of all sizes, over time, converge on the more octopus-like 3/4-power-scaling relationship, while those with skinny shapes and larger perimeter-to-area ratios collapsed, disappearing into grasslands or fragmenting into very small patches.

Which means that this relationship between a forest’s perimeter and its area may help predict the stability of individual forest patches. (1)

Everything is determined by the initial conditions.

Initial conditions not on this Earth.

But in the world of dreams and intentions.

Look in that eye.

It is an imperfect circle.

A projection of a perfect shape.

Existing beyond existence itself…

Look in that mirror.

It is an imperfect being.

Born into an imperfect forest.

But the forest will soon burn.

Only the lake will stay there.

Look inside the lake.

A projection of a perfect God.

Living beyond life itself… Rising from the ashes of being… Molded in the fire of death… See there… Inside the flames… A forest is being born…

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%