Evolution Is Hard On Us All

It’s not hot news anymore that what our instincts are by now at odds with our surroundings. Food? Especially very colorful, sweet food that comes in tiny bits? Eat a lot of it, it’s full of vitamins and minerals and quick energy! Oh, and since one or two centuries, it could also be full of fat, additives and a colorings. But just keep trying, it has been good advice for millenia after all.

Yesterday I came across two swans who were caught in a similar bind. Not concerning food, but something just as essential: how to bring your genes into the next generation. The time-honored wisdom is: nest as close to water as you can. There’s food and the kiddies will be close to your natural element, and it’s quick access to mobility because let’s face it: on land you move like a pregnant rudder boat.

All you have to do is trample down all the green stuff, lay a clutch of eggs on it and spend the next 40 days sitting there and moving green bits from here to there, from there to over here and from over here to right there. (I tidy up by pretty much the same principle.)

So: they listened to their inner wisdom and had their eggs right next to the water.

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Oh sweethearts.

Sadly, they already lost one egg to gravity: From where I stood I could see it in the water, but too deep to reach it without getting wet head to toe, and too close to the nest to get close to it without being in attack range of the parents. That and it was probably in there for a while already; the parents were completely ignoring it.

There are other things they seem to have difficulties with, too: one swan, I’m guessing the male, was fishing for seaweeds and pulling them up and out of the water, but then just moved them a bit behind himself and let them glide back into the water – according to wikipedia, he should be reaching them to the female to upholster the nest with it. I think maybe these are first time parents, and haven’t figured out some things. I do hope the second egg makes it, though.

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