Selection

by 

“Sex complicates things.” Professor Dawkins looked at Joe, whose broad shoulders nearly touched the sides of his tiny book-lined office. Joe was from one of the Midwestern public schools that concentrated on test scores, leaving students with a broad range of knowledge, but little depth. “Sex adds an extra element to the process of reproduction, and although that allows for greater variance, simplistic asexual reproduction is still the most popular model.”

Joe squirmed in his seat. “So there aren’t any animals that take the best DNA from many individuals in the population to make the best offspring?”

Dawkins wondered what Joe had been reading. “Best DNA? “Best” really isn’t a concept that we use. Would adding more organisms, more genetic variety, increase fitness?” Joe scrunched his forehead and rubbed his brow, a motion which reminded Dawkins of his wife. “Nature favors incremental change. Any major mutations are likely to kill an individual.”

Joe pushed up his glasses. “What if there was a major mutation that was very favorable?”

Dawkins sat on his desk facing Joe and smiled. “I’m not saying that’s impossible Joe, just highly improbable. There are no examples of such an event. Animals are an interactive whole; any major change is likely to have a detrimental effect on that whole.”

“So humans just couldn’t learn to fly or anything.”

Dawkins loosened his collar; the office had become quite warm. “Well, if what you mean is that they couldn’t develop, say, functional wings for flight in a generation, then that is true. In the case of wings, humans might have to develop lighter bones for flight and every change towards lighter bones would have to increase reproductive viability. Each step is a final product in itself.”

Joe ran a hand though his short black hair and bit his lip.” What about on other planets?”

Dawkins blushed, feeling suddenly aroused. “Other planets? I’m not sure I understand your question.”

“Would evolution work the same on other planets?” The office was very hot.

“Well, since we haven’t been to any other planets with life it’s hard to draw any conclusions. Personally, I would speculate that our model of natural selection, variability and heritability would likely be similar for other planets. We recognize evolution as a logical process which separates the chaotic forces of the universe and translates them into the obvious order of an organism. There are several examples of different organs evolving similar structures independently, for example, the eye has evolved independently several times. Light sensitive cells to a concave surface to a lens, each step helping to give an organism a reproductive advantage it’s a good logical design that follows basic rules. “

The book on Joes lap slid onto the floor, but neither of them noticed. “Professor Dawkins, I think you’re just about the smartest man I ever met.”

Dawkins laughed. “What about your friend Jerry. He’s a clever boy, don’t you think?”

Joe blushed. “Er, yes, clever, but that’s different than smart.”

Joe’s hair was soft and short, and it felt lovely between Dawkins fingers. Joe pulled Dawkins toward him, and Dawkins leaned into his touch.

“I think.” Joe said, his cool breath on Dawkins lips “That species on other planets might do things differently.” Joes tongue shot into Dawkins mouth, the buds on his tongue sharp, breaking the skin on the inside of Dawkin’s cheek. Dawkins moaned in a lustful stupor and put a hand on Joe’s broad chest, his ribs like segmented scales.

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