Victoria Bug Zoo : The Spectacle of Natural Selection

On Saturday morning, while we awaited the repair of the van, we went to the Victoria Bug Zoo. It's really swell: a whole of lot cool bugs put into what amounts to a large room with a bunch of aquariums and glass cases. In one part of the zoo, an ant farm is segmented and joined via clear plastic tubes. Over in one corner is a brightly colored emergency exit with a big sign that reads, "Do Not Open Door: Alarm Will Sound." What I found at the zoo was the spectacle of natural selection. Not in the bugs that mimic leaves or the spiders that lay in wait. I saw natural selection practiced in the human species.
Take this family. Let's call them the Numptyfochs:
Father Numpty. 18" neck with an IQ of 54. Rep dude! Rep!
Mother Numpty. Leaning towards athletic, wears a sort of a sash (wait for more on this).
School Age Numpty #1 and #2. Boys about 7 or 8. Mother's hair and someone's brains (maybe recessive genes surfaced.)
Toddler Numpty. This boy looks like a 3 yr. old version of Father Numpty. He's the focus of this anecdote.

We're checking out the bugs. One of the exhibits is a large aquarium full of water and bugs. Someone says, "Hey! What's he doing?" We look over. Toddler Numpty has climbed up the wall of the aquarium and is hanging off the glass. So, 100 gallons of pressure pushes out and Toddler Numpty is pulling on the glass. No parents to be found. So, I dash over and pull evolution's bump down in the hopes that the image of a strange man clutching a child could get the attention of a parent or guardian. Eventually it does and Father Numpty comes over gets the kid.
Ten minutes later, Toddler Numpty is back at it. I thought, "Nah, this is a force of nature. If he survives, great. If I help him, I am hobbling natural selection." Someone else lifts Toddler Numpty down.
Five minutes later, Toddler Numpty is at the Emergency exit about to sound the alarm. I don't know how well insects can hear. But I bet that a screeching alarm would launch venomous creatures into a frenzy of activity. So, I grab Toddler Numpty and eventually Father Numpty comes over to gather the child (again).
One of the highlights of the tour was the scorpion. The tour guide was pulling out all sorts of creatures and showing them to the patrons. Very cool. News Flash: Scorpions are poisonous. If it stings an elephant nothing happens. If it stings a grasshopper, the grasshopper is totally dead. In between the elephant and grasshopper there are shades of grey. Because of these shades, adults are likely to survive a scorpion sting but with kids it's dicey. So, kids are not allowed to handle the scorpion. When the tour guide asks if someone wants to handle the scorpion, Mother Numpty says, "Oh! I want to!" She sits down and gets the scorpion in her palm. Slung around her, is a baby sling containing a baby! While children aren't allowed to handle venomous arachnids, the implication is that mothers are not supposed to hold a scorpion six inches from the head of squirming, kicking 6 month old!
So, the lesson from the Numptyfochs: either they will raise several kids who can beat the odds and face danger without consequence. Or, the parents will snip off their genetic destiny by repeatedly placing their kids in harm's way.

Comments

Cheryl said…
Well, to be fair, when Mother Numpty sat down with the scorpion, she did spin baby Numpty around, so as to suffocate it under her athletic armpit.

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