Question: Are conservation efforts trying to stop evolution?
Yes, the title is inflammatory so let me explain. My young friend (she is eight) has a lot of questions and this was one posed to me the other day. I am paraphrasing so I’ll try to explain our conversation a bit more.
This young friend (S-Little Patience) has a lot of questions and tries to connect ideas. We once spent an afternoon discussing the ethical dilemmas of ‘A Sister’s Keeper’ and she was catching nuances often missed by adults. Her older sister is interested in scientific ideas and experiments and it’s always fun to geek out with them. Yes, I’m corrupting our youth.
I think S-Little learned about evolution at school a few months ago but it was brought to the front of her mind by a Simpsons cartoon [Update: cartoon removed]. S-Little explained to me that evolution happens all the time but it can happen in bursts when there is a big change (a good review of punctuated equilibrium?). She said that evolution is a way for animals to work better in new places – it was important for me to understand that humans are animals – and if animals can’t live and have babies in new places, they die.
Recently in school, S-Little has been learning about conservation efforts and all the animals going extinct. She was wondering if we are seeing a burst of evolution and are conservation efforts harmful?
I did have an answer for her and I’ll share it in the next few days once I’ve stop travelling. In the meantime, can you let me know your response?
We did go on a tangent on some possible new animals. She would like to see puppies that don’t shed.