Foot, Horns, Feathers

I was making plans yesterday to get together with my friend R, who I hadn't seen in several months. I don't have hair, I told her. She said, I'll recognize you. Then, joking, she added: Why don't you wear a red carnation in your cleavage? I said, I don't have cleavage. She said: Oh no.....

At dinner we talked about my ears, lately revealed to the public. She knew from anatomy study that the tops are called the helix. She said that human ears should be more curved to serve us better but they aren't. For some reason evolution hasn't caught up to them. Or vice versa. I told her about the lizard with horns that gets in its way while climbing. Another friend doubted that a lizard could have such ungainly and troublesome horns, that the species wouldn't have survived. She said that her study of nature has shown her that such seeming maladaptations usually have to do with mating. For example, the lyrebird can barely fly because of its long, heavy feather tail but it can attract a mate with that same tail. Perhaps it's the same with peacocks, though I do know they fly.

Which brings us, of course, to cancer. Why has cancer survived? Why have people susceptible to cancer survived? I think that's a horse of a different color. New studies show that so much of breast cancer is caused by contaminants in the environment. (In all fairness, I have to add that Susan G. Komen For the Cure, which I've criticized, funded the studies and will spend $5 million more on researching environmental causes of breast cancer.) Which brings us to this question: Why have humans survived who are destroying the environment? Somehow destructive tendencies are favored by evolution. Maybe Malthus was right.

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