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Spring has Sprung | by jurvetson
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Spring has Sprung

Visited a local farm today. The animal parents seem so sedate with their young. The nesting hens seem to be in a hormonal stupor as you reach underneath and remove the warm eggs. Oh, no to worry, I’ll make more…


It reminded me of a recent lecture by Susan Blackmore: “My cat gives birth to a litter, purring all the way. It’s very different with humans and our large heads. It was a dangerous step in evolution. 2.5 million years ago, we started imitating each other. Our peculiar big brains are driven by the memes, not our genes. Language, religion and art are all parasites. We have co-evolved, adapted and become symbiotic with these parasites.”


Even more mind-bending was a side conversation with Nathan Myhrvold, who has a full T-Rex fossil in his library. He is well down the planning path for a Jurassic Park experiment. Rather than try to repair archaeological dino DNA, Nathan turns to the silenced and mutated genes within modern birds. It’s an extreme form of genetic archaeology. He hopes to reverse the evolutionary march, so that a modern bird could hatch its distant dino predecessor. Having surveyed numerous birds, including rare ones with wing-tip fingers, he concluded that the simple chicken would be the best starting point.


From a chicken & egg perspective, the egg comes first.


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Taken on March 9, 2008