Pick a Tree

Voice Card  -  Volume 22  -  Drury Card Number 3  -  Sun, Oct 27, 1991 4:24 PM

This is a response to VC 21 Stuart 7 ("Icon hear you")...

I don't regard a change from a bear to a turtle as "sliding down the evolutionary scale". Actually, this evolutionary scale or whatever, appears to me as a form of racism (OK, specism) - those creatures who are closer to the trunk or root are somehow inferior and those of us at the tips of the branches are superior animals. We creatures have all evolved to exploit our environmental niches. Sharks are more "superior" salt water predators than we are. But we are better in our high rises.

A bear is "better" in the Rocky Mountains and a red-eared slider turtle is "better" in the Louisianna swamps. It cannot be said that mammals are superior to reptiles. Each creature is merely better suited to its particular environmental niche.

The evolutionary scale is a nice way to look at relationships between creatures, but it does not imply a measure of superior or inferior animals. If you pick a turtle, you are choosing a very ancient and fascinating creature, which has exploited a variety of environmental niches (sea to swamp to desert). But the turtle is not a step or leap "down" from the wonderful, wooly bear you are now. It is merely something different, to be enjoyed and respected for "what it is".

This card reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about the creatures with whom we share the world: "Organisms that exist in the absence of the natural systems of which they are a part are functionally extinct, and when man's care lapses they become truly extinct. I cannot imagine the sandylands without the gopher tortoise or the tortoise without its scrub habitats. They are one. In the end, we are one with them." - Dr. George Folkerts, Auburn University.