Saturday, November 04, 2006

Evolution...(Revolution? Love?)*

I am starting to suspect that "cuteness" is an evolutionary defense mechanism - it helps to ensure the survival of the not-so-fit.

Case in point: babies. Babies are adorable, because they have to be. Babies come into this world completely unfit for survival; they rely upon someone else for all the things they need in order to survive. Their contribution to the table? Cuteness. Their very cuteness causes us to form attachments, and make us want to care for them.

I also suspect that is why people are so interested in conserving the panda bear. We get a lot of news in the paper about pandas, since the new panda baby was born at Zoo Atlanta.
The more I read about pandas, the more they seems to fly in the face of "survival of the fittest."

Basically, you've got this animal who only eats one food, doesn't like to move much, wants to live its life in a fairly small area (although I empathize with that one!).
They seem to have trouble mating, and once they do have babies, they have the biggest disparity between size of the parent/size of the baby of any species. This sadly leads to accidents like rolling over on the baby, which often has tragic consequences.

I pointed this out to Bubba - that pandas seemed to defy Darwin, since they seem singularly unsuited to propagation of the species.
Darling Bubba, smartie that he is (and he is, I tell you!) is the one who pointed out that he thought evolution had provided the panda which a pretty good evolutionary tool. Cuteness. We love them (and one theory as to why we love them states that it is because pandas look like babies, and those protective mechanisms kick in...) and we want to help them. Sure, there are other endangered species - and some of them are even ugly. But none of those ugly species get as much attention/conservation efforts/publicity as the panda. (This is just one of the reasons why I just love Bubba, the way his mind works. This never would have occurred to me, and yet I think he is so right.)

So - in the spirit of evolution - I present a comparison between the first bear that I knit and the most recent:

Henry was the first bear that I made, from the fantastic Jess Hutch pattern, and I made him as directed (except for the whole "missing limbs thing"). And it's funny, because at that time, I thought he had a big old melon head. Little did I know...

The bears keep getting smaller, rounder, and definitely chubbier. They are becoming more and more baby-like. I thought perhaps that I was regressing - but do you think this is the fine hand of evolution** at work?

*Totally stuck in my head this morning. I know that this happens to everyone - getting a song stuck in their head - but sometimes I think my case of this is acute...
Top of my sun
Keep all my love
Top of my chest
Tip of my breast
Top of my earth
Walking on the road
With my soul in my hand
Tip on my toes
Top of my span

**Updated to note: Bubba shuffled through and peered over my shoulder. "Aren't you worried about being from Georgia and talking about evolution?" He's got another good point. Thanks to Cobb County, the rest of the country (the world?) thinks that none of us believe in evolution. So - for the record: I believe in evolution.


capello said...

we had a big discussion the other day about monarch butterflies. they are colored so brightly because they are poisonous, so animals know not to eat them. apparently, the viceroy has changed its characteristics to look like the monarch butterfly but it's not poisonous. ah, survival of the fittest. how i love thee.

how else can you explain why we bend over backwards to get darwin and griffin everything we need?

(both bears are cute, but yes -- the newest is looking more babiesh. and it is adorable!)

The Caretaker said...

I think the change in your bears is a result of intelligent design.
: )
Praise FSM!

angela said...

interesting. interesting. We have always said that it is a good thing Keely is cute because boy, oh boy is she work! Did you know that there is a study out there that proved? that "ugly" children are more neglected than "pretty" children? Ouch. That's gotta hurt, no?
Your bears are adorable, armed or not armed. An unarmed bear is probably better than an armed bear anyway. Might be dangerous. heh.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a thought provoking post. I am not sure which I am more surprised by. The fact that Panda’s are only being saved because they are so cute, that a Cobb County resident believes in evolution or that a man called Bubba would have such profound thoughts…..hmmmmm ;) I like both bears by the way!

laeroport said...

Cobb County and Kansas have so much in common. Grr... Don't get me started on the Kansas School Board and "intelligent design".

And the evolution of your bears is lovely - although I really do like the limb-less original. Might we be seeing a panda next?

African Kelli said...

My sewing is definitely evolving too. It gets a bit better everytime I do a project. Thankfully, I'm getting better about taking notes in the margins, which always helps.
I think both of those bears are adorable.
And as a Christian, I simply do not understand how people think all religious folk don't believe in evolution. There is plenty of room in my faith to believe in both, whole-heartedly!

bekka said...

okay, at least we're not having an evolution crisis in my state, your beloved home state. but there was one once, as you recall from your history lesson. i'm just saying i'm grateful the elections are over and the rest of the nation is not scrutinizing the nasty senate race we had.

yeah, your bears are cuter. the others are shaped more like a bowling pin, and.....oh great idea, you could make a honey-pot shaped bowling ball, set your 9 bear/pins up and play bowling bears? but the cute round one? nobody would want to throw a honeypot bowling ball at.

Anonymous said...

the little guy are really cute!!!